It was a long season on the shores of Lake Erie, and at the end the Cleveland Browns hold the No. 4 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
After dropping last week’s game at home to the Wild-Card Pittsburgh Steelers, another 4-win season (the 2nd in 4 years) was on the table with another offseason approaching. Yet, things seems as if they may be looking up with the 4th pick in the draft, along with the Falcons 1st rounder. Head Coach Pat Shurmur, GM Tom Heckert, and Team President Mike Holmgren remain confident in the organization expressing their feelings in Thursday’s end of season press conferences.
Pat Shurmur Press Conferences
Part 1: http://www.clevelandbrowns.com/media-center/videos/Pat-Shurmur-Press-Conference-13-Part-1-/e917b998-6e61-49fa-8fb3-76f5b8c0fc4b
Part 2: http://www.clevelandbrowns.com/media-center/videos/Pat-Shurmur-Press-Conference-13-Part-2/3474d3af-7551-4ce6-9667-ea926ed94b2e
According to Holmgren, Colt McCoy will have some competition for obtaining the starting QB position. In the end I believe McCoy is the right choice for the job, you may disagree, but Cleveland needs skill positions and needs to focus on supporting the QB in this draft, giving Colt some weapons he can actually utilize should increase his ability on the field. If the coaching staff allows the development of McCoy continue, then I think a number of good things may come in the future.
So, with that Cleveland should be targeting receiver Justin Blackmon out of Oklahoma State University who just dismantled Stanford’s defense in the Fiesta Bowl with around 190 receiving yards and 3 scores. Blackmon poses as the next big receiver to hit the NFL mainstream with his size, strength, and speed along with his ability to catch the football, possibly the best prospect on the board behind Stanford QB Andrew Luck (RGIII also in the area). If Blackmon goes to either St. Louis or Minnesota then I believe the next best player on the board that Cleveland cannot pass up is, Trent Richardson out of the University of Alabama, the best RB in College Football. Drafting Richardson must be done if Blackmon isn’t there for 2 reasons: 1) Does Peyton Hillis re-sign with Cleveland or does Cleveland re-sign Peyton Hillis?, 2) Putting trust in Hillis is like saying Marvin Lewis will win a playoff game (Not happening).
Lets say Richardson does end up a Cleveland Brown at the N0. 4 spot, then I believe the next move the Browns front office must make is drafting South Carolina Wide-Out Alshon Jeffery with Atlanta’s first round pick. Jeffery may not have had the same kind of season Blackmon put up, but his size and ability could amount to great things in the NFL, plus I believe he will fall into the late 1st-round maybe even the early 2nd-round. This is only if Cleveland doesn’t get the chance to draft Blackmon, but with many outcomes a possibility the Browns need to look for the positions they need most, at WR and RB. A QB is not the answer this season, and the defense only needs some help at the LE position replacing Mitchell and maybe even the OLBs. Also a second CB to compliment Joe Haden and TJ Ward in the secondary plus help out the aging Sheldon Brown, could be on the club’s list as potential needs.
With that, I welcome you to my NFL Playoff Preview: Wild Card Edition
Last week I put out some bold predictions and they went pretty askew to say the least. The New York Jets and Rex Ryan didn’t just fail to make the playoffs they failed at defeating the Dolphins and having a winning season. So, obviously the Cincinnati Bengals snuck into the playoffs with the 6 seed at 9-7. The Pittsburgh Steelers won as you know, but with no avail because the Ravens also came out with a victory to win their first AFC North Division title since 2006. Baltimore sits at the 2 seed with a first round bye and the Steelers stayed put at the 5 seed. The Denver Broncos did lose as I predicted, but you can’t trust Raider Nation because they blew it again, giving the Broncos the AFC West title with a measly 8-8 record. With that your AFC playoff picture looks as follows: 1) New England Patriots, 2) Baltimore Raves, 3) Houston Texans, 4) Denver Broncos, 5) Pittsburgh Steelers, 6) Cincinnati Bengals.
The NFC didn’t have much action last week as the Giants saved Tom Coughlin’s job by defeating the Cowboys in a single sided football game, therefore grabbing the NFC East title and the N0. 4 seed. Detroit got themselves caught in an offensive show against Matt Flynn and the Packers, yeah that’s right. The Lions ultimately lost 45-41 even with Stafford throwing for 500 yards and 5 TDs because Flynn threw for 450 yards and 6 TDs. Atlanta destroyed the forgotten Buccaneers clinching the 5 seed in the playoffs. Also the Niners fended off St. Louis to hold on to the 2 seed and the first round bye keeping New Orleans at the 3 seed. With that your NFC playoff picture looks as follows: 1) Green Bay Packers, 2) San Francisco 49ers, 3) New Orleans Saints, 4) New York Giants, 5) Atlanta Falcons, 6) Detroit Lions.
Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans (Jan. 7th, 4:30 PM ET, NBC)
TJ Yates and the Houston Texans will walk away with their first ever playoff victory because seriously why am I gonna put money on Marvin Lewis? The Texans may be slumping, but Cincinnati doesn’t have the will-power to beat this team in Houston against the dual threat of Foster and Tate along with Andre Johnson and Wade Phillip’s outstanding defense. I could be wrong, and that’s not a first, but Gary Kubiak will walk out with his first ever playoff victory looking to head to the Conference Championship with a rookie QB named TJ Yates.
Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints (Jan. 7th, 8:00 PM ET, NBC)
Drew Brees will begin his second Super Bowl Championship run on Saturday against the Lions and the Schwartz. New Orleans is my pick to win the Super Bowl this season, and I don’t believe Detroit can keep up with Brees’ arsenal through the air. The offensive fireworks are sure to be on display, but New Orleans relentless weapons are too much for the Lions to handle this weekend coming off a hard fought loss in Green Bay. Therefore the New Orleans Saints start their road to Super Bowl XLVI.
Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants (Jan. 8th, 1:00 ET, FOX)
Atlanta isn’t built to play in New York against this Giants team, too much pressure on Matty Ice. Coughlin will have his team prepared to play this week because he’s been here before, an OK regular season with a chance to do anything in the postseason. I can’t see the Falcons pulling this one out on the road in the cold weather. Advantage Giants.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos (Jan. 8th, 4:30 ET, CBS)
I don’t care how hurt Roethlisberger’s left ankle is, he will destroy the chosen one on Sunday on his path to his 4th Super Bowl appearance. If you can’t pass the football, then you will never win a playoff game, Tim Tebow is a horrible QB and this will be the last game he ever matters in. There isn’t even an argument, the Steelers are going to win .
Welcome to the playoffs, we’re just getting started.
About the Author
Written by Corey Rioux
A wise man once told me, "Sports are modern-day mythology." I tend to disagree. Proper grammar is optional. You can read my columns here: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/author/c_rioux23/ You can follow me on twitter at: @CoreyRioux You can contact me via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org