Monday, April 29, 2013
2013 Cleveland Browns draft analysis
By Jamison Hensley
Let's break down the Cleveland Browns' 2013 draft:
FIRST-ROUND SPOTLIGHT: How much did the Browns want LSU pass-rusher Barkevious Mingo? According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cleveland refused a trade offer from the St. Louis Rams, which would have moved the Browns to No. 16 in exchange for two additional picks (ones in the second and seventh rounds). That's more value than what the No. 6 pick was worth, based on draft pick value charts, but the Browns would've had to pass on Mingo. He wasn't expected to make it past the New York Jets, who had picks at No. 9 and No. 13. Heading into the draft, many thought the Browns wanted either Mingo or Oregon linebacker Dion Jordan at No. 6.
IN HINDSIGHT: As I've written repeatedly, the biggest mistake by the Browns' new regime was failing to sign a veteran starting-caliber cornerback in free agency. The Browns, who led the league in cap room heading into the draft, didn't have to spend much to get one. Keenan Lewis, who was coached by Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton in Pittsburgh, signed a five-year deal that included a $6 million signing bonus and $10.5 million in guaranteed money. Now the Browns are hoping third-round rookie Leon McFadden can step into a starting role. Whether Cleveland should have taken the Honey Badger, Tyrann Mathieu, who was selected one pick after McFadden, is another topic for debate.
BEST VALUE: Wide receiver Josh Gordon. Sure, I'm cheating a bit here. Gordon was taken in the second round of the supplemental draft last year. But he was the reason the Browns didn't have a second-rounder this year. I thought this move was good last year and it looks better now. I don't think Gordon makes it into the second round this year if he had been in this year's draft. The Browns also gave up practically nothing (essentially a fifth-round pick) in a trade for Dolphins wide receiver Davone Bess. So, Gordon and Bess weren't drafted by the Browns this year but the Browns made good use of picks in this draft to acquire them.
TOP LATE-ROUND PICK: Safety Jamoris Slaughter, Notre Dame. If he recovers from last season's Achilles injury and holds up health-wise, Slaughter could go from being a sixth-round pick in 2013 to a starter by 2014. He's a smart and aggressive player who would've been taken as high as the third round if his season didn't end after three games last year. There are questions about his durability. He's not built (5-foot-11, 195 pounds) to play with such a reckless style.
SOMEONE WHO DIDN'T LIKE THIS DRAFT: Offensive coordinator Norv Turner. He's taking over an offense that scored the ninth-fewest points in the NFL last season (18.9) and the only draft pick used on an offensive rookie was seventh-round tackle Garrett Gilkey from Chadron State. As I brought up earlier, the Browns used picks from this draft to bring in receivers Gordon and Bess. Turner needs young, developmental talent along a thin offensive line as well as at wide receiver and tight end. It wouldn't be as bad for Turner if the Browns had spent some money in free agency. The biggest veteran additions on offense were backup quarterback Jason Campbell, backup wide receiver David Nelson and backup tight ends Kellen Davis and Gary Barnidge. Now you can add Gilkey to an underwhelming group of newcomers on offense.