Like most Browns fans I was excited for the 2010 NFL Draft. When you consistently finish 5-11 or worse it's about the most exciting time of the year other then maybe opening day.
1st Round, Pick 7: Joe Haden , CB Florida
As the Brown and Orange Nation was hoping and praying that Tennesee safety Eric Berry would fall to us at number 7 the Kansas City Chiefs made the right move for once and picked him at 5. The Browns then used their pick on Haden who was easily the best CB in the draft, and one of 3 that had a true first round grade. He's a huge playmaker in the secondary and should be a great cover corner at the next level. The lack of speed at the combine is not a great concern to me, as he was reportedly running with a minor back injury. He showed great game speed during his career at Florida which is more important than running in a t-shirt and shorts. He came to Florida as a high school QB and started as a freshamn at CB. He is physical for his size, which is my only real concern for him. At 5'10" he may have trouble matching up against bigger receivers at the next level and his physical style of play could lead to injuries. The Browns did trade for CB Sheldon Brown a few weeks earlier, but you can never have to many good corners in today's NFL. Also, considering Brown is 31 Haden will be able to take over full time by 2011. Haden will team with Eric Wright to give the Browns a great CB tandem for years to come.
Best case scenario: Haden turns out to be an Asante Samuel type cover corner, but one that is not afraid to get his uniform dirty.
2nd Round, Pick 38: T.J. Ward, S Oregon
This pick had me scratching my head. I realize we need help at safety as we lost Brodney Pool and our current starters at the position projected to be Abram Elam and Mike Adams but I still would have went another way with this pick. I liked the fact that we didn't go with a QB here even with a couple of viable prospects left on the board (Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy). I was really hoping to address the pass rush here or add a possible starting WR. DE Sergio Kindle was my first choice and I also liked WR Golden Tate here. When Mr. Jim Brown came up to annouce the pick I was all but sure that it would be McCoy. When I heard him announce Ward I was quite surprised. The first thing I did was look into my various draft mags as I didn't read much on him before the draft. What I read made me think that this pick was defintely a reach and may have even been a panic pick seeing as a saftey went the pick before, Nate Allen (who I would have preferred). Watching Ward's tape though now has me a believer, but I still worry about the injury potential here. With a safety his size that throws his body around with such reckless abandon he is sure to get hurt, whether it be various nagging injuries that slow him down or major ones. I really believe that Ward would've still been on the board when the Browns were picking in the early part of the third. Even if he wasn't they could have picked up Morgan Burnett, Chad Jones or Major Wright in the third, all three capable of starting at safety and maybe better prospects.
Bets case scenario: Ward's best case scenario is also his worst case, in that he becomes a Bob Sanders type (who was also considered a reach when drafted) that plays the position intimidating WR's over the top and helps the run defense but also misses a considerable amount of time due to injury.
2nd Round, Pick 59: Montario Hardesty, RB Tennesee
We made a pretty big trade to get here, trading our first pick in the 3rd (pick 71) and two 5th round choices to land Hardesty. Once again I was scratching my head (it was now at the bleeding stage). Jerome Harrison had a pretty big breakout season and flashed some home run ability, espescially considering teams had no fear of our passing attack, and we traded for Peyton Hillis. James Davis should also be coming back healthy. I'm not sure that RB was a position of need, but there is also no denying Hardesty's talent. He is a classic Tennesee back, with great power and one-cut ability. I read that the Jets and Patriots were pretty high on him so that may have forced Holmgren's hand into making a deal thinking he wouldn't have been there in the third. Once again though injuries have to be considered here. Hardesty had his fair share over his college career, including the dreaded ACL Obviously he got the doctors full endorsement to make such a bold trade-up. But again, how does he help the pass rush?
Best case scenario: Like another RB from the SEC who came out of college with injury concerns, Hardesty runs an awful lot like former Broncos RB Terrell Davis.
3rd Round, Pick 85: Colt McCoy, QB Texas
This pick may make or break our draft. Waiting on picking a developmental QB sure seemed to pay off big here, considering most draft experts had the Browns picking McCoy in the second. McCoy comes out of Texas as one pf the most successful college QB's in the history of the game. There's no denying his leadership and toughness. He's an extremely accurate QB and is a threat to take off and run. He could become the best QB from this draft class. His weakness's are not a huge concern for the system he'll be plaing in, as you don't need a huge arm for the west coast offense. You need to ba able to make quick reads which McCoy does well. I think he'll be our starter no later than 2012 and possibly as early as 2011. I like this pick. Still, no help for the pass rush, but you can't deny the value here.
Best case scenario: Jeff Garcia, minus the baggage.
3rd Round, Pick 92: Shawn Lauvao, OT/OG Arizona State
Once again I was reaching for my draft mags. Once again I was dissapointed. You can't ell me that this guy, or a similar player wouldn't have been there in the 5th round. While Luavao has some nice versatility and is a power player he was definitely a reach at this point in the draft. If he starts and plays well at RG this year I will eat crow (which I hope I have to do with some of these picks). My main problem with this pick other than the reach is we still haven't addressed the pass rush. My other problem was that there seemed to be a much better player at the same position available, Alabama G Mike Johnson. I did not like this pick.
Best case scenario: He can step in and rotate at RG this year and develop into a mauling RT in a year or two.
5th Round, Pick 160: Larry Asante, S Nebraska
Now in the 5th round and with all the accomplished pass rushers off the board I'm okay with selecting the best available player. Asante hits like a ton of bricks and we need depth at safety. He does seem like a similar player to what we drafted in the second, Ward, but with the injury concerns for T.J. I can see Asante getting some playing time in our secondary.
Best case scenario: Asante will be able to help with our coverage on special temas and won't have to see time starting because Ward won't get hurt.
6th Round, Pick 177, Carlton Mitchell, WR South Florida
Love this pick! Big, physical and fast. Most experts had him going in the 3rd or 4th round so the value is there. South Florida relies more on the running game so Mitchell couldn't really show off his skills in that offense. He does need to work on the little things, but he won't be expected to start this year. Major boom potential here.
Best case scenario: I see a lot of Brandon Marshall here, minus the drama I hope.
6th Round, Pick 186, Clifton Geathers, DE South Carolina
With our last pick we get a prototypical size guy for the 3-4 end position. At 6'7" and 300 lbs Geathers should be a part of our defensive line rotation and has the potential to start down the road. Has some major family ties to the game as well with a father, brother and uncle who all played in the league. Nice development pick this late.
Best case scenario: As stated, part of the d-line rotation with a chance to start down the road.
So those are my thoughts on the Browns 2010 draft. Some good picks, but also some reaches. I like the Haden, McCoy, Mitchell and Geathers picks. The safeties were a need, but Ward was picked too high in my opinion. Did not like the Luavao pick at all. Not sure why we made some of the deals we made (trading for Brown and Hillis then picking up those positions), and we didn't even address the pass rush. Having three really good corners will allow us to blitz more frequently though, so that shoud at least help. I know you can't really grade a draft until after 3 years, but here is my grade for the 2010 Cleveland Browns Draft:
Overall Preliminary Grade: C+/B-