The Cleveland Browns turned some heads during the NFL draft, especially in the first round. Some of their critics think they’ve taken a big step in the right direction while others think they buried themselves for years to come with another poor draft.
The Browns’ draft class is centered around their first round selections of Trent Richardson at 3rd overall and Brandon Weeden at 22nd overall. Those are the players that will define whether this draft was a springboard to greater things or just another sinkhole in the endless line of personnel failures that have defined the Browns for years.
I’ve been vocal with my thoughts about Trent Richardson. He’s tough to tackle, quick for his size, and he can break a big play at almost any time, but he wasn’t the guy the Browns should have been targeting. Cleveland should have been focusing on adding weapons for Colt McCoy. They were in great position to draft Justin Blackmon, which would have added a very athletic and physical target to their offense, but they went with a running back.
My problem with the pick of Richardson is not that he’s a bad player. Actually he’s a dominant runner, something that’s seldom seen in today’s NFL, but I also believe that a team can survive, even thrive, with average runners. In other words, the running back position is not a premium position, and it hasn’t been for some time. Running backs are a dime a dozen, and the Browns could have found a solid runner for a fraction of the opportunity cost.
The Browns’ other selection, Brandon Weeden, may be one of the most intriguing picks of the draft. Weeden will be competing with Colt McCoy for the starting position in Cleveland at a time where most people thought McCoy just needed more time and weapons to thrive as a starting quarterback in the NFL. The only thing the pick does is add an unnecessary quarterback controversy to an already weak offensive unit. Weeden will likely be very green entering the league, and McCoy may crumble under the pressure that is applied by Weeden. If that happens, suddenly the Browns have no quarterback, and if you don’t have a quarterback in the NFL, you have no offense.
The Browns made intriguing picks in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft. The only way to know whether those picks will pay off or backfire is to sit back, wait, and see. I’m not sure what exactly they were thinking when they made their picks, especially selecting Weeden in the first round, but they know more about those guys than I will likely ever know. Maybe they know something that I’m missing, but I’m just not seeing it, and I don’t know how or even if it’ll pan out in Cleveland moving forward.