Countdown to The Draft
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By Tony Grossi
Extra Points …
Kansas City gets its QB early: The Chiefs reportedly acquired San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith for their second-round pick in 2013 (No. 34 overall) and a conditional pick in 2014.
Some quick thoughts:
* It assures beyond any doubt that the Chiefs will release Matt Cassel. That could lead to a Cassel reunion with the Patriots, which could lead to Bill Belichick peddling Ryan Mallett for a draft pick. What would be the pricetag?
Mallett was a third-round pick in 2011. The Patriots are without picks in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds. Let’s say Belichick would agree to a fourth-round pick. Would the Browns give up their fourth-round pick for Mallett while already being without their second-rounder (for Josh Gordon)?
That decision would tell us what the Browns truly think of Brandon Weeden. Because if they deplete the middle of the draft for Mallett, they are buying insurance in case Weeden bombs out under the Rob Chudzinski-Norv Turner coaching regime.
* The 49ers now are the power-brokers of the draft. They already owned 11 regular picks and three more due as compensatory selections. They can now actively shop the 34th pick – second in the second round – to teams wanting a quarterback but uncomfortable with taking him in the first round.
CBSSports.com’s Clark Judge has speculated that the 49ers also could be poised to make a trade offer for Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. What a move that would be.
* The 49ers now need a backup quarterback. It wouldn’t surprise me if coach Jim Harbaugh re-signed Josh Johnson, whom he coached at University of San Diego and then brought to San Francisco last year. Harbaugh ended up releasing Johnson and the Browns signed him at the end of the year. Johnson is a free agent.
* The trade also probably guarantees the Chiefs taking an offensive tackle with the first pick of the draft. (Our first mock draft will be posted Thursday morning.)
* Whatever you think of Smith, the trade speaks well of Chiefs coach Andy Reid’s decisiveness at the quarterback position. Smith gives Reid a credible starter instantly and buys him time to find his next quarterback. I would expect Reid to take a flier on a developmental quarterback after the second round.
On Richardson’s comments: Browns running back Trent Richardson reportedly told NFL Network’s Steve Wyche off camera that Weeden had trouble reading defenses in his rookie season. It caused the Browns to simplify the offense and, as a result, it was predictable at times.
1. Everyone could see Weeden had trouble in the West Coast offense. He was slow in his reads, too often locked on his targets, had sloppy footwork and, at some point, looked bored with the whole offense. Maybe the transition from the quick-read, spread offense at Oklahoma State to the too-elaborate WCO just defeated him in the end.
2. Richardson had to be disappointed his comments were aired. He has been indefatigably supportive of Weeden from the start of their time as teammates. Maybe he didn’t realize they would be repeated. Maybe he didn’t realize they would be interpreted as the biting criticism that the comments come off as on paper. How would Richardson feel if Weeden said, “Trent had trouble running to the right hole as a rookie.” Which was also obvious. I just think Weeden is getting unduly hammered since the season ended.
On Steve Breaston: The Akron Beacon Journal reported Breaston received a physical exam during his visit with the Browns on Wednesday. Breaston is still expected to make a scheduled visit with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday.
Breaston is a native of suburban Pittsburgh and had a 1,000-yard receiving season with Arizona when Todd Haley was Cardinals offensive coordinator. Haley, now with the Steelers, probably sees Breaston as a replacement for free agent Mike Wallace – not at the top of their depth chart but at No. 3.
I would expect Breaston to sign with the Steelers. I do believe, however, the Browns’ interest in him reflects the type of receiver they will court in free agency – not one like Wallace at the high salary end but someone in the next echelon.
I think the Browns consider a front-line tight end more of a priority than a front-line receiver.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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