CBS sportswriter Jason La Canfora wrote a pretty scathing review of the Cleveland Browns new front office…after the new regime made one whole draft pick.
Jason La Canfora really came into the consciousness of Browns fans during Mike Lombardi’s one tumultuous season as GM of the Browns. The two had a relationship from Lombardi’s days in the media, and it’s presumed JLC was his go-to media man.
Since Lombardi’s firing, La Canfora has never shied away from ripping the Browns, and the CBS writer is at it again. Most of the time, JLC offers some interesting behind the scenes views of the organization. But his latest job is nothing more than beating a franchise while it’s down.
Here’s some excerpts from his column, and my reaction as to why JLC is being too harsh:
1. He gives the benefit of the doubt to the Steelers and the Patriots for making smart trade downs, but rips the Browns, because of their disastrous history in making selections.
He’s right. It’s true. The Browns stink at capitalizing off their own, and acquired draft picks. Here’s what he wrote: “…The Browns haven’t even been able to find decent starters in the first round in years in which they had multiple first-round picks, but now everyone is supposed to think that they’re going to find a bevy of them on Day 2 for the next few years with all the mid-round picks they are amassing.”
But this is a new front office. You and I carry scars from every Browns regime to pass through town since 1999, but the new regime–Sashi Brown, Paul DePodesta, Andrew Berry–have unblemished skin. They at least deserve the benefit of the doubt to run the team their way.
2. La Canfora didn’t like the choice of Coleman at No. 15. Here’s what he wrote: “…They twice traded out of the range of eight players whom were generally considered the true blue-chip prospects in this draft…to take a receiver who some teams did not have a first-round grade on.”
“…Coleman will probably end up being the second-most scrutinized player in this first round moving forward, next to Laremy Tunsil, who plummeted for non-football reasons. Time will tell what impact he’ll make, but the fact that the analytics guys at PFF had him rated as the top receiver in the draft probably tells you all you really need to know about the pick.”
It’s like JLC thinks he knows a little more than he does. If he were so gifted, perhaps he’d be in a war room on draft night.
It was frustrating to see him knock Coleman, twice, only to play the “time will tell” theme if the kid turns out to be a stud. Of course the Browns will look brilliant if the kid is a home run. Take a stance, Jason, sheesh.
3. JLC has a point about missing out on blue-chip talent the deeper you trade back. But to bash the team for not taking the great building block that is Jack Conklin as a replacement for Mitchell Schwartz?
Here’s his quote from an anonymous personnel executive: “How do you do all of that and end up with Coleman, and not someone like (tackle) Jack Conklin to build your team?”
JLC should know better. He seemingly authors a Browns horror story every four months. Just how many games did the team win with two first rounders (Alex Mack, Joe Thomas) and two second rounders (Joel Bitonio and Mitchell Schwartz) starting on the line? Right.
Don’t want to diminish the offensive line. You need blockers, but the Browns can find some help elsewhere in the draft…but remember, JLC needed to carve them up after one pick.
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The truth is the Browns couldn’t find the end zone if Christopher Columbus himself was navigating the Santa Maria right through FirstEngergy Stadium. The team used their draft pick on a touchdown maker while adding picks. You may not agree with the receiver they took, but it’s hard to disagree with the philosophy.
4. JLC cracks the Browns for losing Mitchell Schwartz. Yeah, that move stunk and it reaks of executives holding new jobs making mistakes. But it’s over. Schwartz should’ve been locked up before the 2015 season.
This goes back to my previous point. New front office. We don’t like it, but they get a clean slate, and that means they put their players in place. They’ll be judged in two years. If this thing is going in the right direction, we’ll know.
At the end of the day, JLC is just another guy with an opinion. The Browns are trying to reinvent the way NFL front offices work though analytics, I don’t mean to go all JLC, but “time will tell” if they’re successful.