Cleveland 'weeds" out NCAA talent

Evan Hablitzel

Used with permission/Bo Radar/Witchita Eagle/MCT

 first-round draft pick, 22nd overall, Brandon Weedon from Oklahoma State University, drops back in the pocket and prepares to throw down field to new Jacksonville Jaguar Justin Blackmon. 

 The first round of the 2012 NFL draft left Browns backers leaping for joy, and then shaking their heads.

   The Browns traded with the Minnesota Vikings to move into the third spot to select Alabama running back Trent Richardson. In order to move up, the Browns had to give up their pick at number four overall and fourth, fifth and seventh round picks.

   Richardson, considered by many to be the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson, stands 5-foot-9 and weighs 228- pounds. Fans were extremely pleased with the selection.

    The Browns offense averaged 13.6 points per game last season, which was 30th in the league. General manager Tom Heckert needed to find a playmaker and he most certainly found one.

    Richardson scored 21 touchdown last season with Alabama, this will be a huge gain for a Browns offense that averaged less than a touchdown per game. His 1,679 yards on the ground were also a school record.

   His success wasn’t limited to the ground last season, he also caught 29 passes for 338 yards and three TDs. Richardson has also received high grades on his pass protection.

    Browns head coach Pat Shurmur had nothing but positive things to say about the former Crimson Tide tailback, “He’s passionate. He’s productive. He’s durable and he’s the kind of runner we feel is going to help us get our offense together to score the points that we need to win the games that we’re going to win.”

    Shurmur went 4-12 in his first season with the Browns and needs to improve immensely to keep his job. The selection of Richardson will give the Browns a big offensive boost and his physical play translates well to the rough and tumble AFC North.

   With the team’s second first round selection at 22 overall, Heckert selected 28-year-old former Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden.

    This is the selection that had many Browns fans up in arms. Weeden, a former minor league baseball pitcher and second round selection of the New York Yankees, is pushing thirty and is expected to be the starting quarterback next season. 

    This coming after the Browns reportedly “promised” current starter Colt McCoy they wouldn’t take a quarterback in this first round.

   Many have called the selection of Weeden a “reach.” In other words he would have been available when the Browns selected in the second round at 37th overall.

   I’m not saying Weeden doesn’t have the potential to be an NFL starter, but if the Browns were going to reach at 22 they needed to reach for a wide receiver. The team’s most pressing need.

   There were many options at wide reciever. Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill, Illinois’ A.J. Jenkins, Appalachian State’s Brian Quick and South Carolina wide out Alshon Jeffery were all viable options at the 22 spot.

    Not only did Heckert pass on drafting a receiver at 22, he didn’t draft one until the fourth round. Travis Benjamin from Miami (Fla.) was the only receiver picked by the Browns.

   Once again the Browns front office has left me with my head in my hands. Well, there’s always next year…where we’ll most likely have another top-five pick.


2012-05-17 10:32:57