The Browns were expected to be busy — and no team was more active in the first round.
The Browns came into this draft with a new regime in its first draft and numerous holes to fill all over the field. There was all kinds of trade buzz surrounding the Browns and they did not disappoint as they traded down three times in the 1st rd.
I believe the Browns really had their sights set on Aaron Curry and were hoping the Seahawks would grab Mark Sanchez. Once Curry was gone, it was time for Plan B. I think quick calls were made first to the Giants, to see one last time if they would bite on Braylon Edwards and then the Jets. I think if they could have secured the Giants pick, they probably take BJ Raji or Brian Orapko at 5 and then still get C Alex Mack at #29. Alas, the Giants didn't bite.
I personally think Mangini really liked Sanchez, and would have tabbed him as the QB for the Browns. But I think the temperature of the fans in Cleveland was clear. They wanted Brady Quinn to get his shot and ownership wasn't prepared to risk alienating the fan base in this economy.
That forced Mangini to turn to old boss, Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum, to make a deal. This was a good deal for both teams, as the Jets got their QB of the future and the Browns got extra picks and three veteran players (3 more Jets) to fill out their roster.
The Browns recieved the Jets No. 17 pick, a second round pick (No. 52), DE Kenyon Coleman, S Abram Elam and QB Brett Ratliff. Coleman and Elam will both likely start for the Browns.
The Browns then dropped two spots in a trade with Tampa Bay (No. 19), which also sent Cleveland a sixth rd pick (No. 191). This was quickly followed by swapping the No. 19 pick for Philadelphia's No. 21 pick, which gained them another 6th rd choice (No. 195)
On the clock for the fourth time, the Browns finally made their pick, California center Alex Mack.
What? A center? All those trades, all the wheeling and dealing and you draft a center? With Chris “Beanie” Wells still on the board, a center? Yes.
Now you have to forgive Browns fans for their second guessing this pick. Centers are never sexy first rd choices and we all remember the Steve Everitt pick (Belichicks first), the Jeff Faine pick and the LeCharles Bentley signing (which made this pick necessary).
It is obvious that Mangini had his sights set on Mack all along which shouldn't really have been a surprise since he did the same thing with the Jets, selecting C Nick Mangold with his first #1 there.
Mack will join Joe Thomas and Eric Steinbach on the OL and shows that the Browns are going to be employing a power rushing attack this year. Jamal Lewis better start getting his wheels in shape right now.
At No. 36, the Browns picked Ohio State's Brian Robiskie. I wrote earlier predicting that the Browns would grab him if available, but I thought they would grab a LB here. Granted Clay Matthews and James Laurainitis were both gone and they obviously didn't really love Paul Kruger or Rey Maualuga as they passed on both.
Robiskie is a nice fit for the Browns. While he may not have the upside of the other WR's chosen ahead of him in this draft, many consider him to be the WR most ready to make a contribution as a rookie. This is good, because he will need to step in right away as a starter opposite WR Braylon Edwards. In an interesting sidenote, Robiskie was once a ball boy with the Browns, just like Mangini.
The Browns surprised me again by taking WR Mohamed Massaquoi at No. 50. I really thought they would take a RB there, but Massaquoi should step right into the competition for the #3 slot position with 34 year old David Patten.
Here are the rest of the Browns draft picks including 6th rd picks Carey and Davis. That meant the Browns basically traded their #5 pick for Mack, Veikune, Carey, Davis, Coleman, Ebram and Ratliff. They will also likely pay those 7 players less than the Jets will be paying QB Mark Sanchez, something that I'm sure was a factor in trading out of the top half of the draft.
2nd round, No. 52 overall pick: David Veikune, DE, Hawaii
4th round, No. 104 overall pick: Kaluka Maiava, OLB, USC
6th round, No. 177 overall pick, Don Carey, CB, Norfolk State
6th round, No. 191 overall pick, Coye Francis, CB, San Jose State
6th round, No. 194 overall pick, James Davis, RB, Clemson
Over the next few weeks we will take a closer look at all of the new faces as well as preveiw the new-look Browns depth chart.
One bright spot for Browns fans is that Edwards and Quinn remain, so the team is not throwing in the towel for next season. They addressed the lines on both sides of the ball and depth at WR and in the secondary. They did not however address the pass rush at LB, which means that Mangini and new defensive co-ordinator Rob Ryan believe that they can unlock Wimbley's potential and that 2 year man Alex Hall will take a big step forward.
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Written by Ryan Carey