Oct 11, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham (88) against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
He’s Identified Talent
Bernie Kosar’s never had a front-office job, so there’s no track record to judge. Browns fans are left with the tape of Bernie broadcasting preseason games before the team axed him prior to the 2014 season.
Kosar always offered great insight into the players on the field, as well as the coaches’ philosophy.
During his playing days, Kosar may have lacked the physical tools of Dan Marino and John Elway, but he was a cerebral player who beat teams with his brain. He’s as football savvy as they come…and the proof is in Jimmy Graham and Teddy Bridgewater.
Kosar championed both players’ NFL potential. He hit the nail on the head with Graham, and it looks like his backing of Bridgewater will turn out to be a good bet.
Back before the 2014 NFL Draft, Cleveland commissioned a $100,000 analysts study to determine Bridgewater was the best choice for a quarterback in the class. Had Kosar been in the building, Jimmy Haslam could’ve saved a lot of money–assuming he actually would’ve listened to Bernie.
Graham played basketball at Koser’s alma mater, the University of Miami. Through mutual friends, Bernie met up with Graham and saw instantly that he would be a great football player, according to this story from Sports Illustrated, via Dawgs By Nature.
"“We had some similar friends and I heard he was trying to get in touch with me,” said Kosar. “So one day we were hanging out in a backyard with a bunch of them and we start playing catch. He’s got as good a pair of hands as anybody I’ve thrown to, and I’ve played in AFC Championship games. “Then I started talking about routes and he seemed to pick it up. And with that physical presence and the way he uses his body, I could throw it 11 feet in the air and he’d still jump up 12 feet to get it. I kept telling him, ‘Jimmy, not only are you going to be a great player, you’re going to be a superstar. He looked at me like I was an idiot or trying to be nice. But I just believed it from the first time I threw to him.”"
Kosar continued to work with Graham, and eventually, the hard work paid off. Graham was drafted in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
Who’d the Browns take? Colt McCoy and Shawn Lavauo.
What makes it even harder to swallow? Kosar implied on Twitter back in 2012 that he tried to get the Browns to draft the eventual Pro Bowler.
It’s a minuscule sample size, but Koser’s forecast of Graham should give Browns’ fans goosebumps. Bernie knows football, and football smarts is what Cleveland desperately needs.
Next: Bernie Knows Quarterbacks