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Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Cleveland Browns mailbag

By James Walker
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

The Wolf from Cleveland, OH writes: James, I have just read your post on Mangini fixing up the Browns. I have a few questions for you in regards to the Browns in the off season. 1. Who do you think the Browns will keep if they decide to get rid of one of them...Braylon Edwards or Kellen Winslow Jr? 2.Will Mangini and his staff better utilize Josh Cribbs and Jerome Harrison than Romeo's staff did? 3. What will the Browns do at #5 in the draft? I think they should trade down to get more picks unless Crabtree is available then they should take him based on his talent and the Browns needs at WR. 4. Finally I have to ask it, in your opinion, if you were in Mangini's position would you start Quinn or Anderson? Thank you for your time. The Wolf

JW: Mr. Wolf...buddy...you had so many questions that I had to give you your own post. There was no way I could get to these in one mailbag filled with other questions.

So let's break it down into parts.

Who do you think the Browns will keep if they decide to get rid of one of them...Braylon Edwards or Kellen Winslow Jr.?

With a new regime, I'm not sure the Browns are interested now in moving either player. But if they did, Winslow would be traded before Edwards. But keep in mind there is depth issues behind both players. At tight end, Darnell Dinkins is a free agent, Steve Heiden injured his knee late in the year and may not be ready for training camp, and Martin Rucker didn't show much in his first year. At receiver, Edwards was the only (somewhat) reliable option the Browns had last season.

Will Mangini and his staff better utilize Josh Cribbs and Jerome Harrison than Romeo's staff did?

Absolutely, even if it's by default. I cannot see these two players being used any worse than they were the past couple of seasons. With just running him up the middle, things became predictable when Cribbs was in the game, which defeated the purpose. Harrison, meanwhile, always seemed to be on a "pitch count” of three or four carries per game, even if those carries netted 30 yards. Expect better utilization of this pair in 2009.

What will the Browns do at #5 in the draft? Michael Crabtree?

Cleveland's roster will look much different in April than it does in February. But right now, before free agency, the Browns need to fill a need at linebacker. There are several options, such as Aaron Curry of Wake Forest and Everette Brown of Florida State. Cleveland has other needs. But if the team wants to play a 3-4 defense, it cannot have Leon Williams and Alex Hall making up half of the starting linebacker group. Crabtree is a great talent, but I'm not big on taking WRs in the top 5. That's a quick way to run your organization into the ground because the position is not that important. See the Detroit Lions.

If you were in Mangini's position would you start Quinn or Anderson?

If the assumption is the Browns won't get a good trade offer for Derek Anderson, I would open up an old-fashion quarterback competition. As a new head coach, I would have no ties to either player. Anderson didn't lead my team to 10 wins in 2007, and my general manager didn't take Brady Quinn in the first round. So without the behind-the-scenes politics or favoritism, I would aim to find who really is the better quarterback for my team. But the team will at least try to trade Anderson this offseason.

Thanks for the questions, Wolf.