The NFL Draft is a few days old, and this editor is still recovering from over 20 miles of walking, 14 total hours of sleep in 4 days and around 12 hours standing in line to attend the whole thing. Worth it! So our coverage will continue as we look forward to how the Cleveland Browns will come together as a team. Mel Kiper came out with his grades, his buddy Todd McShay doesn’t do grades, in his Insider post yesterday (Cost $). Lets take a look at how he graded out the Browns:
Cleveland Browns: B-
Top needs: QB, CB, WR, OG
So before getting to the summary that he wrote up we first look at what needs and grades Kiper gave. He saw the same needs that many fans, and not the front office saw, in QB, CB, WR and OG. The Browns addressed 3 of those 4 with year 1 or 2 starters, with only his 3rd listed need getting no attention. Browns fans are not happy with the lack of receiver help in the draft, understandably, and Kiper downgrades them for that. He gives them a solid B grade for the value they got from their picks. Overall that must be how he averaged out the B- grade. Lets take a look further into what went into his thinking:
Some day, somebody will probably write a book about this Cleveland draft. Maybe it’ll become “Draft Day II.” Unfortunately, I’m on a tighter deadline. Where do you start? The huge trade with Buffalo to swipe a 2015 first-rounder? Johnny Football? Josh Gordon? The best pass-catcher drafted is … Pierre Desir, who plays corner?
What many fans are thinking is what Mel is thinking: The Browns had a very interesting draft time frame. Pick up Justin Gilbert, Johnny Manziel and a first rounder in 2015 on Thursday and you are the talk of the draft, the NFL and even the non-sports world. As we prepared for Friday night, a night where the Browns still had 2 pick and could really hit a homerun, and we get hit in the gut with the Josh Gordon news. “Changing the Narrative” will be harder then we think. Especially with no receiver drafted in a deep and talented receiver class. More from Kiper:
I really like Joel Bitonio, a player who could have gone in Round 1. Terrance West could become a good starter, combining size with good lateral agility and vision. Desir is great value, but you can temper the “steal” talk with the reality of a potentially longer developmental process given the jump in competition. The big void here is at wide receiver. Remember: I had WR as a need even with the assumption Josh Gordon was going to be around. Now that he’s probably not? The Browns have potentially changed the face of their franchise, but Manziel could use somebody to throw the football to.
Kiper also noted that Manziel was a great pocket passer in terms of accuracy and that the Browns can really block for him. Bitonio is an interesting player that caused the Browns to bypass receiver and stick with their board. Adding West to Ben Tate, and later Isaiah Crowell, helped the Browns go from no quality RBs to 3 maybe 4 in 1 year, not a bad change over. Desir is an interesting player whose ceiling is pretty high and his floor could be a high quality FS in the future, another article for another day.
Needless to say Kiper liked much about the Browns draft, but like many downgraded it due to the lack of receiver. It would be interesting if the Browns were able to draft at least 1, how the narrative would be different today?
What are your thoughts on Kiper’s grade?