Posted: 1:37 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013
By Josh Finney
Typically, Browns fans wait until at least the 2nd game to begin wondering what the draft holds for its beloved team. For those readers that have already given up on 2013 as a loss (or have predetermined that Brandon Weeden is not the answer) then feel to check out the here.
Brett Kollman is easily considered one of the best bloggers SB Nation employs, and he doesn't miss a beat with this writeup. It's also interesting to note that he shows the Browns finishing 8-8, and drafting in the middle of the first round for what would feel like the first time in my life.
For those wondering where Clowney, Bridgewater, and Boyd lined up:
1 - Raiders – Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
I will admit that this pick started out as Tajh Boyd out of Clemson, whom I absolutely love as a prospect. However, in the interest of trying to make the best decision possible for Oakland, I decided to rewatch Bridgewater’s bowl game against Florida just to get it fresh in my mind and see if it would change anything, and it did. Bridgewater’s accuracy on the move is fantastic, his pocket presence is impeccable, and he looks every bit the part of a franchise NFL quarterback. He might not have the size or mobility or Boyd, but he certainly has the ability to shred defenses from the pocket like nobody else in this class.
If the Jaguars are picking in the top 5 again, which I think they will, then that means Blaine Gabbert has officially complete busted, which I think he will. Gus Bradley did not draft Gabbert, nor do I think he wants to be chained to Gabbert for any amount of time as long as Tajh Boyd is on the board. Because of that, if I am Jacksonville’s GM, I am immediately giving whatever I need to give to the Jets to move up and grab Boyd, who I see as another great candidate for franchise quarterback. Boyd’s mobility, toughness, and big arm are all excellent, and I think he is the premier dual threat quarterback in this class. Bridgewater has the edge in pure passing mechanics and accuracy, but I’ve seen Boyd look off safeties and drop a dime into his receiver’s hands deep down field enough times to think he can replicate those results at the professional level. It also does not hurt that Boyd suddenly opens up an entirely new playbook with option looks and designed runs. To me, Boyd is a more mobile version of Ben Roethlisberger, and if he can live up to that comparison then I am sure Jacksonville would be more than happy with him at the helm.
3 - [TRADE] Titans give up their 2014 1st, 2014 2nd, 2015 1st, 2015 3rd to Chargers – Jadaveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Despite Bridgewater and Boyd going one and two respectively, neither one of them are the best players in this draft class. That distinction belongs (by a long shot) to South Carolina defensive end Jadaveon Clowney. Clowney, widely regarded as the best defensive prospect of the last decade, and possibly the best ever, falls down to the three hole in this draft. I am sure the Chargers would be heavily considering Clowney just on the principle of not passing up on such a great talent, but I am not so sure that they really have to pick him considering that defensive end and/or outside linebacker are not among their primary needs. Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes are both good, promising young ends, and missing this opportunity to cash in on Clowney’s greatness in exchange for enough picks to actually fix the team would be a major misstep for San Diego.
As a result, I’m putting on my Tennessee Titans GM hat and turning everyone else’s loss in to my own gain. If Clowney is available at three, I don’t see any reason why I should not immediately pay the necessary king’s ransom to move up and get him to be a cornerstone of this defense for the next decade. I think injuries have caused unfair criticism of Jake Locker at times, and now with an improved offensive line, more weapons at his disposal, and a possible return of Chris Johnson’s production, Locker might actually end up being an okay quarterback after all (Maybe…don’t quote me on that). The real problem with the Titans roster is a sickening lack of pass rush. Kamerion Wimbley will not be the franchise-defining 12-14 sack a year edge rusher, and neither will Derrick Morgan. What the Titans need now more than ever is someone they can stick on a left tackle for an entire game and know that at some point he will make something awesome happen. To get out of the eternal 8-8 mediocrity cycle that Tennessee currently is in they need game-breaking players, and Jadaveon Clowney is definitely one of them.
Lastly, and most importantly, here's where the Browns began the draft with:
17 - Browns – Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
The Browns are suddenly a team on the cusp (again). Brandon Weeden might not be the new regime’s first choice at quarterback, but I want to see how he does in the Norv Turner offense before I completely write him off. If the preseason is any indication, he might just work out after all. What Weeden really needs to be successful is weapons. Trent Richardson can carry the load on the ground, Jordan Cameron is flashing special ability at tight end, and Josh Gordon is one of the biggest breakout receiver candidates in the league, but the addition of a talent like Sammy Watkins all the way at seventeenth overall would put the Browns offense way over the top in terms of pure explosiveness. Can you imagine Sammy Watkins breaking games open from the slot with Gordon burning people deep, Cameron snagging first downs over the middle, Greg Little out-muscling receivers in the red zone, and Trent Richardson making people pay for not putting eight guys in the box? I can, and it’s freaking awesome. The Browns already have a young, talented defense full of play makers. It’s time to do the same for the other side of the ball. With the addition of Sammy Watkins, Cleveland goes from up and comer to legitimately scary.
Again, the link for the full piece is here.