I’d like to start off by saying what’s up to all my nuthouse & dawg pound friends! Ohio sports fans are a special breed and I hope you guys find my blog interesting. This is my first blog dedicated specifically to my two biggest passions (other than my girlfriend) the Cleveland Browns & The Ohio State Buckeyes. I’ll first start off with a draft recap and then get into some news from Buckeye land.
The Cleveland Browns made a huge splash on draft day by pulling off a monumental trade with the Atlanta Falcons. The trade netted the Browns a 1st, 2nd, and 4th round pick in this year’s draft and then a 1st and a 4th in next year’s draft. For a young team like the Browns, this makes a lot of sense. I had gone into the draft thinking that the three targets at pick 6 would be either Marcell Dareus, Patrick Peterson, or A.J. Green. Once those three players were off the board, the Browns would have been forced to reach for a player and it made the most sense to trade back and acquire more picks. I will admit though that the room was deflated after people realized that the Browns wouldn’t pick until 27. The Browns surprisingly then traded up to pick 21 and took Phil Taylor out of Baylor. This is a kid that I knew very little about going into the draft because I assumed that the Browns would not be in the mix for late round 1 defensive tackles. I was not exactly thrilled when I saw the pick and it still leaves a little to be desired. Apparently the front office must have really liked this kid to trade a 3rd round pick to secure his services. There were several teams including the Chiefs and Eagles that picked before the Browns that were interested in Taylor so they very well could have missed out on getting him. For Taylor, he’s coming to a team with minimal defensive line depth and a real chance to be an impact player in his first year. He’ll be penciled in as a starter next to Ahtyba Rubin in the new 4-3 defense and be responsible for helping to stop the run that has plagued the Browns for the last decade.
Easily my two favorite picks for the Browns in the draft were their two second round picks. With Da’Quan Bowers on the board at pick 37, I was terrified that the Browns would take him and add another player with serious medical issues to their roster (*cough Montario Hardesty cough*). With pick 37, they ended up taking Jabaal Sheard from Pitt. Talk about an instant mancrush, this guy listed at 6’3″ 264 lbs with a 4.68 40 got me all excited.
The 2010 Big East Defensive Player of the Year will be an impact player at the next level and I was so thrilled that the Browns got him. Tom Heckert loves drafting smaller defensive ends such as Trent Cole when he was in Philly and I can’t wait to see what this guy can do. I might be going out on a limb here, but I really think this guy has a chance to win Defensive Rookie of the Year this year. I would not be surprised at all if this guy flirts with double-digit sack totals and forces a few fumbles. Especially considering the emergence of Marcus Benard and the possible signing of another defensive end in Free Agency such as Ray Edwards. At pick 59, the Browns took Greg Little from North Carolina and this was another high upside pick. Although he does come with some character concerns, Greg Little reminds me of a young Anquan Boldin with elite after-the-catch ability, impressive strength, and soft hands. If he can pick up the offense quickly, he can earn meaningful playing time right away and be a great fit for the West Coast Offense.
The fourth round was the most confusing round for me and I am still trying to understand why they took Jordan Cameron and Owen Marecic. I felt that tight end was not a position they should address and they had more pressing needs that they could have filled. I get it that Cameron has incredible athletic ability and has all the potential in the world, but this pick is still very mediocre in my mind. Admittedly, I about threw up when they took Owen Marecic. A fullback? Are you kidding me? The guy does have a great story though and will be an instant fan favorite without a doubt. I just wonder why they are ushering out Lawrence Vickers. Vickers is an amazing lead blocker and I really don’t see the Browns utilizing Marecic any differently than they would with Vickers. I really hope that these guys pan out though and erase my concerns. Overall, I would give the Browns an A- based on their draft class. The additional picks they received are huge and will help this team to build over the long haul. Jason Pinkston was a really solid pick in the 5th round and has a real chance to contribute along the right side of the offensive line in the near future.
Former player Ray Small decided to spill his beans to a local Columbus paper about the benefits he received while at Ohio State this week. If you remember, Ray Small was the receiver that was billed as the second coming of Ted Ginn Jr. as a blue chip recruit coming out of high school. At Ohio State, he
tore it up never lived up to expectations and was consistently in Jim Tressel’s doghouse. In fact, the paper actually interviewed him from his doghouse (I’m kidding of course). As you would expect, other former and current players tore into Small this week and ate him alive. “I don’t know why he would say all this after Tressel gave him chance after chance after chance and really tried to make Ray Small a success story, and for a while he was his senior year,” former OSU center Jim Cordle said about the topic. Now Small is saying that he will not speak to the NCAA if they try to contact him for the ongoing investigation. Isn’t it amazing how quickly he shuts his mouth! The Ohio State program could be in a world of trouble and this is a very uncertain time for Buckeyes fans. While some may disagree with this, I still am pulling for Jim Tressel to keep his job. The man is a legend and has dominated the Michigan rivalry which is the key to measuring a buckeye coach’s success.
One thing we know for sure is that college football will be played this season (you’re killing me NFL). The Buckeyes will sport a team whether Jim Tressel is there or not and a major issue looming is who will start at quarterback for the Buckeyes. Casual fans have only been able to see the spring game so far and it’s tough to get a read on the race for the starting job. I hope to spark a debate about this, but I have been pulling for Braxton Miller all along and I think he deserves to start. If you haven’t seen Miller play, think Troy Smith but two inches tall, faster, and with a stronger arm. The guy is an explosive athlete and can make some really tough throws look easy. The general perception amongst many fans is that Joe Bauserman should start because he is a veteran and knows the system. Bologna! Joe Bauserman has ZERO starting experience and has proven to be pitiful even in backup duty. I don’t trust Bauserman to lead OSU during those first five games and I don’t see the point of getting him experience because he’s a senior anyways. It makes more sense to start Braxton Miller, let him get his feet wet, and then he’ll be ready to take over once Pryor graduates. I guarantee that fans will be more excited to watch Miller play than Bauserman.