Browns

Richardson expected to rejoin Browns next week

Cleveland Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson is expected to return to the practice field next week, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Richardson underwent arthroscopic knee surgery earlier this month, but the team is hopeful that he will be ready by opening weekend. In the meantime, Montario Hardesty has been handling the first-team duties, and has been backed up by veteran Brandon Jackson.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Browns, Draft Grades - 2012 Leave a comment

2012 Draft Grades

Are post-draft grades worthess? This time of year the cynics come out of the woodwork to say “you can’t grade a draft until three years  have gone by.” While there is definitely some truth to that statement, grading a draft class immediately after the fact is far from worthless. In fact the post-draft grades are crucial to the grading process down the line.

Consider this example, if Andrew Luck turns out to be the next Ryan Leaf, will the Colts receive a failing grade in three years? Those same cynics who criticize the post-draft grading may say yes, but it’s not that simple. Nearly every scout, coach and general manager in the league would have made the same selection and, as a result, the Colts post-draft grade of the selection receives high marks. No matter what happens down the road, this was the right decision. It would be difficult to ever give the Colts a failing grade for the selection of Luck, regardless of the outcome.

Consider another example, let’s say Mohamad Sanu (Bengals 3rd-round pick) and John Hughes (Browns 3rd-round pick) both turn into busts. Do the teams get the same grade in three years for these selections? If you only look at the draft from the perspective of what happened on the field, yes. But if you refer to the initial reaction of the selections, it’s not even close. Sanu was a consensus top 100 pick, and many teams had 3rd-round grades on him. If he fails, it doesn’t change the fact that it was a safe pick by the Bengals. A certain percentage of 3rd-round picks will turn into busts, even the highly-rated ones. John Hughes, on the other hand, received very few, if any, 3rd-round grades from other teams. The Browns reached to fill a need and if he fails to pan out, the Browns grade should be a reflection of their questionable decision.

So while these grades certainly will change in three years, they will also serve as a valuable tool for evaluating these draft classes in the future.

Click on a team’s logo for their draft grade.

AFC East AFC North AFC South AFC West
NFC East NFC North NFC South NFC West
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Draft Grades: Seattle Seahawks

For the second consecutive year, the Seattle Seahawks whiffed in the 1st round and demonstrated a complete lack of understanding as to how to effectively use the draft to rebuild a franchise. While the Seahawks have some talent, they’re headed in the wrong direction.

I thought the selection of James Carpenter was bad last year, but Bruce Irvin may be worse. Not only was Irvin a fringe 1st-round prospect at best, but he’s a developmental prospect with serious character concerns. If the Seahawks wanted to gamble they should have selected Janoris Jenkins, who is at least NFL-ready in terms of his talent. Irvin will be effective as a situational pass rusher, but that’s not the type of player you target with the 15th selection.

Bobby Wagner was a nice 2nd-round value. He’ll likely back up Barrett Ruud in 2012 with a chance to take over the starting job in the future.

I like Russell Wilson a lot, but I’m not sure the 3rd round was the right place for the Seahawks to select him. He has all the tools necessary to have a long career as a backup, but his upside is somewhat limited. Considering the just signed Matt Flynn, the move is even more questionable.

I love the selection of Robert Turbin. His health is a concern, but if he can stay on the field he can push Marshawn Lynch for carries. In the 4th round he was a safe gamble.

Jaye Howard adds some depth to the defensive line, but was a reach in the 4th round. He’ll compete for a backup job and should make the final roster cuts.

Korey Toomer is a decent developmental prospect, but he’ll have plenty of competition at linebacker in Seattle. He definitely does not have a guaranteed roster spot.

Jeremy Lane is a nice developmental prospect. The Seahawks needed to add depth to the secondary and he had value in the 6th round.

I like the selection of Winston Guy. He’ll probably never develop into a starter, but he’ll back up Kam Chancellor at strong safety and immediately make a difference on special teams.

J.R. Sweezy played defensive tackle at N.C. State but will be converted to guard in Seattle. It’s tough to judge a player switching positions, but in the 7th round there’s no risk involved.

Greg Scruggs will compete with Jaye Howard and others for a backup job, but it’s tough to imagine both rookies surviving the final roster cuts.

Just like last year, the Seahawks whiffed in the 1st round but rebounded with some solid mid and late-round picks. They continue to add depth, but they won’t turn things around until the start to find the elite prospects in the early rounds.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2012, Seahawks Leave a comment

Draft Grades: San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers had a chance to fill some holes in this draft but reached too often and failed to add any instant-impact players. It was a disappointing haul for a team hoping to make another deep playoff run in 2012.

A.J. Jenkins is a talented receiver but was a huge reach in the late 1st round. He put together a solid 2011 season, but has always been inconsistent and had a history of clashing with his coaches at Illinois. Ron Zook openly criticized his attitude on multiple occasions. It will be interesting to see how he gets along with Jim Harbaugh, who isn’t the type to put up with diva receivers.

LaMichael James is a dangerous weapon, but this was too early for a player who projects as a career backup with character and injury concerns. He’ll have to compete with Kendall Hunter and Brandon Jacobs for carries behind Frank Gore, and could legitimately end up as the 4th-string running back.

Joe Looney was a solid value in the 4th round. He’ll have a chance to compete for the starting job at right guard.

Darius Fleming will compete for a backup job at outside linebacker behind Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith.

Trent Robinson could be a steal in the 6th round. He’s a prototypical free safety who could compete for playing time if Dashon Goldson continues to struggle in coverage as he has the past few years.

Jason Slowey is a developmental prospect who will be groomed to potentially replace 33-year-old Jonathan Goodwin in a few years.

I love the selection of Cam Johnson. He’s had a history of injuries which likely led to his fall, but could be one of the better steals of this class. If healthy, he’s a better prospect than Darius Fleming.

The 49ers whiffed with their first two picks. Even if Jenkins develops into a quality receiver, they missed an opportunity to add someone who could make a more immediate impact. But while their early picks were disappointing, they did find some value in the later rounds which could allow them to salvage something from this draft class.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 49ers, Draft Grades - 2012 Leave a comment

Draft Grades: St. Louis Rams

The St. Louis Rams are in full rebuilding mode, and I wholeheartedly approve of their strategy to trade back and accumulate picks. My feelings on how they spent those picks, however, is a different story.

Michael Brockers isn’t going to make the type of difference that most Rams fans were hoping for from their 1st-round pick when the season ended. But he has a ton of potential and the Rams have more than enough time on their hands to wait for him to develop. By the time they’re ready to compete, he should be reaching his full potential.

Far too many teams approach the 2nd round as though it’s an opportunity to gamble without much risk, when in reality there are usually legitimate difference makers and 1st-round talents still on the board. The Rams did exactly this on Day 2 of the draft.

Brian Quick was huge reach at No. 33. He has the potential to develop into a quality possession receiver, but the Rams really needed to bring in a receiver who could help out Sam Bradford immediately, and Quick is definitely not that guy.

Janoris Jenkins obviously has the talent to be a star, but a rebuilding franchise like St. Louis is not the place for a player with serious off-field concerns. I’m just not sure the Rams coaching staff, front office and veteran players are equipped to handle an off-field project like this.

Isaiah Pead will help take the load of Steven Jackson’s shoulders, but he was a reach in the 2nd round. I don’t see him as a potential franchise back, which the Rams could have found earlier in this draft. Pead is a capable backup, but won’t take the reigns from Jackson once he’s ready to hang up the cleats.

Taking Jenkins was a risk, but pairing him with another rookie corner, Trumain Johnson, who also has serious off-field concerns was just plain stupid. Two young players who couldn’t stay out of trouble in college, now collecting NFL paychecks is a recipe for disaster.

Chris Givens is a deep threat, but that’s about it. He’ll contribute, and they definitely needed another weapon, but there were better receivers on the board in the 4thr ound.

Rokevious Watkins is an intriguing prospect. He has the size and strength to be a dominant interior run blocker, and is actually a decent athlete for his size. He could be a steal in the 5th round.

Greg Zuerlein was the top kicker on my board and actually received a 5th round grade. One of the reasons I like him is the fact that he should immediately be one of the most effective players on kickoffs in the league. He has a huge leg and should routinely force opponents to start from their own 20.

Aaron Brown adds some much-needed depth at linebacker. I was surprised they didn’t address this position earlier than the 7th round, because Brown likely won’t give them the help, at least early on, that they really need.

Daryl Richardson has a legitimate shot to win the third-string running back job, but I have to wonder if the Rams may bring in another veteran. Starting the season with two rookies at the position isn’t ideal.

I have to give the Rams credit for trading back and accumulating picks, but I don’t think they added enough difference makers. The added depth will allow them to be more competitive in 2012, but they took too many risks and made too many reaches. Unfortunately, this probably wasn’t the franchise-altering draft that it had the potential to be.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2012, Rams Leave a comment
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