Draft Grader: Cleveland Browns
While the Browns are still searching for a franchise QB, Khaled Elsayed reviews their drafts from 2009-11 with a disappointing review of their second round picks
Draft Grader: Cleveland Browns
Draft season is upon us as free agency quiets down and prospect watch goes into overdrive. But the reality for us is that we’re not that involved in the College side of things, but that doesn’t mean we’re not fans of the draft.
For me though that means reflecting back on drafts gone by to tell you which teams made the best picks and which ones the worst. So as I do every year I’m grading every draft pick from 2009 through to 2011 on the PFF rating scale (-2 to +2), factoring in where they were drafted, injuries and a host of other things.
Up first? Well we’re moving in draft order so it’s the Cleveland Browns
+2.0: You’ve just found Tom Brady in the 6th round
Not even close …
+1.5: Getting much more than you bargained for!
Just missed out …
+1.0: The scouts nailed it!
Alex Mack, C (21st overall pick in 2009): It’s not exactly commonplace for a center to go in the first round of any draft, so if you’re taking one you better hope they become very good, very quickly. Fortunately for the Browns that’s the case here with Mack impressive since being a day one starter, amassing a +71.6 grade in his 5,292 career snaps. When you grade positively every year that tends to happen.
Joe Haden, CB (7th overall pick in 2010): There aren’t many cornerbacks who can go toe to toe with the top receivers in the league. Haden has quickly become one of those, proving the selection in him a justified one. While his 13 career interceptions won’t wow you, but playing so much man coverage and earning a +40.3 grade during that period should.
T.J. Ward, S (38th overall pick in 2010): The team got four productive years with 3,687 largely impressive snaps before Ward bolted for the Broncos this offseason. While he may not be the kind of rangy safety that is en vogue, the former second round pick hasn’t taken long to become the premier box safety in the league. That extends beyond his work in run defense where he’s shown a knack for making plays in coverage over the shorter and intermediate ranges.
+0.5: Never hurts to find a solid contributor
Jabaal Sheard, DE (37th overall pick in 2011): After a fine rookie year Sheard took something of a step back in his sophomore season as he really struggled to get much pressure. That was shown to be more slump than who he is with a healthy bounce back year in 2013 where he earned a +10.1 grade on just 663 snaps. You get the feeling there is more to come from Sheard and if he can deliver on that then he’ll be moving up a grade in the future.
Jordan Cameron, TE (102nd overall pick in 2011): You’d like for him to be more consistent, but at least 2013 was the year the Browns got return on their fourth round pick. A potent receiving weapon, he might not be much of a blocker but those 917 receiving yards with seven touchdowns helps you look past that.
Buster Skrine, CB (137th overall pick in 2011): The jury is still out on Skrine. On one hand the 1,934 snaps the team has got for him is a great return. On the other his -10.1 coverage grade this year really leaves a sour taste in your mouth. In the end though he’s a win for the team because if nothing else his 2012 season (-3.9 grade overall) was good enough that it represents more than you’d expect from a man taken where he was.
0.0: It could have been worse
Kaluka Maiava, LB (104th overall pick in 2009): After being asked to do too much too soon as a rookie, Maiava had to wait until his fourth year to repay the team for their selection of him. That he did, but a +7.9 grade on 498 snaps isn’t enough to push this into the positives.
Don Carey, DB (177th overall pick in 2009): Carey would injure his shoulder before preseason leaving the team to cut him and allowing the Jaguars to pick him up off waivers. Close to a negative because the team had clearly soured on him even before the injury.
Coye Francies, CB (191st overall pick in 2009): He would play just 32 snaps for the team on defense and make two special teams tackles, but from a sixth rounder what do you realistically expect?
James Davis, HB (195th overall pick in 2009): Davis would manage just 35 snaps with injuries being his undoing in Cleveland. A controversial torn labrum cast the franchise in a negative light (although ultimately they were cleared of any wrongdoing) but his chance was gone, and the sixth rounder pick would be cut in the first half of the 2010 season.
Carlton Mitchell, WR (178th overall pick in 2010): Mitchell hung around for a couple of years, even getting on the field for 54 snaps. But like a lot of sixth rounders that was all he did.
Clifton Geathers, DE (187th overall pick in 2010): The team may have had ideas on storing him on the practice squad but the Miami Dolphins swooped in to steal him away. Such can be the risks you take with a guy selected when he was.
Jason Pinkston, OG (150th overall pick in 2011): Consider this a grade that could very easily swing next year. The problem for Pinkston, aside from a tough rookie season, has been that of injury where a blood clot on his lung derailed a career that looked to be on an upward curve. Fortunately he’s recovered from that, but the jury is still out as to how much he can offer the team.
Eric Hagg, CB (250th overall pick in 2011): The seventh rounder would play 548 snaps for the team. In a lot of ways more than you’d typically get at the spot the Browns selected, but he didn’t do enough on the field for it be a positively graded move.
-0.5: That pick was not put to good use
Mohamed Massaquoi, WR (50th overall pick in 2009): Part of the Browns plan to overhaul their receiving group, to say it didn’t work would be an understatement. Massaquoi was the “successful one” but still could only turn 2,447 snaps with the team into a -13.1 grade.
Colt McCoy, QB (86th overall pick in 2010): There were flashes from McCoy but the general play of the former third round pick (who would earn a -22.3 grade during his 1,396 Brown snaps) meant the team had wasted more time trying and failing to rebuild. He would finish 32nd out of 38 quarterbacks overall in 2011 with only Blaine Gabbert owning a lower yards per attempt figure.
Shawn Lauvao, OG (93rd overall pick in 2010): I’m of the opinion that a guard taken in the third round is one that should become a marginally below average starter at worst. Would you class Lauvao as that? His -32.6 grade would suggest otherwise with his performances getting worse year on year.
Larry Asante, S (161st overall pick in 2010): The former fifth rounder wouldn’t play a single snap on defense, instead cut and signed to the practice squad where he was picked up by the Bucs. When you put a fifth rounder on the practice squad you’re admitting you over-drafted him by leaving him open to the rest of the league.
Phil Taylor, DT (21st overall pick in 2011): Personally, I like Taylor as a player. He’s the kind of productive early downs player that teams need. Yet he’s not good enough on the key downs that he’s worth a first round pick and it shows through with his +2.0 grade on 1,570 snaps.
Owen Marecic, FB (124th overall pick in 2011): If you’re going to pick a fullback in the fourth round then they better be a starter and they better play well. Marecic would manage just 371 snaps before the team ditched him.
-1.0: What a waste!
Greg Little, WR (59th overall pick in 2011): If only he had better hands! Little is clearly an exciting player after the catch, but all too often he’s put the ball on the ground, finishing in the bottom seven of our Drop Rate signature stat for the past three years. Another second round receiver gone bad.
-1.5: The scouts/ coaches failed, big time!
Brian Robiskie, WR (36th overall pick in 2009): Some said Robiskie, the son of an NFL coach, was a sure thing and a can’t miss pick. He was anything but, getting on the field for just 924 underwhelming snaps as he somehow avoided playing time on a team with the sorriest looking group of wide receivers in the league. A total waste of a draft choice.
David Veikune, DE (52nd overall pick in 2009): And yet Robiskie wasn’t even the worst pick the Browns made in that round. Rounding off the worst second round any team has likely ever had, the Browns picked up David “16 snaps” Veikune who would last just one year with the team before being cut. You don’t see teams give up on second rounders that quickly.
Montario Hardesty, HB (59th overall pick in 2010): What is it about the Browns in the second round? Hardesty struggled to get on the field and struggled even more when he was on it. In an age where you can find running backs everywhere, wasting a second round pick on one who would manage 153 totally underwhelming carries is a horrible return.
-2.0: You just drafted the love child of JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf!
Some close shaves …
Here are links to the teams that have been through the Draft Grader to date:
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled