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Cleveland Browns March Scouting Report
Bob Fergus
3/19/2017

March Eye in the Sky Report, free agency addition. The Browns front office of Harvard educated analytic aficionados have pulled off the first true-ish pay for pick draft deal where they acquired the bloated contract of QB Brock Osweiler for a 2017 4th round compensatory selection but also were paid the Texans 2017 6th round pick and their 2018 2nd round pick. The contract will wipe off $16 million from the Browns cap but the team still ranks 3rd in the entire NFL in terms of available cap space so there was 'in effect' no discernible hit on any current or future contracts since this is a one-time hit.

 

There is 'some' talk the Browns will trade or cut Brock and I've herd some 'idle' speculation that Minnesota has an interest. If the team is able to trade Brock they would only be on the hook for an $8 million cap hit and they would also pick up 'likely' a late round conditional pick. Brock did win a playoff game last year and was thought to be a young player who could develop into an effective starter but ran up against the abrasive coaching style of Bill O'Brien and never took that sort of coaching so there are 'some' who think he could still blossom under the right conditions. It is not known whether or not Bridgewater will ever make it back healthy and Sam Bradford has a lengthy injury history and this year's quarterback class does not appear ready to play so acquiring a quarterback who won a playoff game last year would be appealing to Minnesota but this rumor is pure speculation so don't get to excited. If anything, Osweiler should be given the opportunity to work with Browns HC Hue Jackson to see if he takes to his nurturing coaching style as we wait to see if any starters get injured late in training camp or in the preseason. The Browns 'reportedly' were asking for a 3rd round pick in exchange for Brock and a 5th round pick but got no takers but that could change later, after the draft and should quarterback conditions change.

The Browns made 'other' free agency moves that secured the offensive line for the next couple of years when they signed C JC Tretter and OG Kevin Zeitler in addition the Browns extended the contract of OG Joel Bitonio giving them one of the best offensive lines 'on paper' in the league at this time. The team lost free agent WR Terrelle Pryor but signed WR Kenny Britt. Britt is an inch or so shorter but had nearly duplicate stats to Pryor but he also comes with a 'spotty' off field history.

 

How should we view these signings and deals? Losing Pryor hurts as he had 'true' big play potential and he was still learning the position but he had an abrasive style of his own that rubbed many the wrong way. Britt knows the position better than Pryor but does not have the upside. Second year WR Corey Coleman is going to have to step up and assume a much larger role. This 'could' effect the draft if the Browns fall in love with one of the top wide receivers or tight ends from this class and they coached TE OJ Howard at the Senior Bowl and 'reportedly' liked what they saw. Howard 'might' be available with the 12th pick and it is 'likely' that they could have their choice of receivers at that point in the draft but lets not hand in any draft cards just yet with the 12th pick.

 

The Browns cut both QB Josh McCown and QB RG III leaving a massive hole at quarterback. You've heard the rumors of a QB Jimmy Garopollo trade but forget it. The asking price is prohibitive and in my humble opinion, Jimmy is not a franchise quarterback. Yes, he makes presnap reads and gets his first read out quickly and keeps his eyes trained downfield as he moves up in the pocket, all great aspects of the position but his deep ball accuracy is really bad and he hesitates on his second read and he fails in the number one trait of a franchise quarterback where he doesn't 'throw open' his receivers on his second read but waits for them to gain clear separation. Jimmy also seems to not have a good feel for pressure and he did get injured in only his second NFL start. I think it would be a mistake to over-pay for a quarterback who has 'some' great traits but is not a true franchise quarterback. The Browns have been doing due diligence on every quarterback from this class but the trade to acquire a future 2nd round pick may hint they will continue seeking that elusive franchise quarterback even if they take someone in this year's draft. The 12th pick is definitely in-play for a quarterback but this is a deep defensive draft and many choice defenders will be available with the 12th pick.

 

RB Isaiah Crowell was given a 2nd round tender and no player in NFL history has ever been signed away when given a 2nd round tender but many teams have contacted the Browns about Crowell so they must be trying to tempt the Browns with less than a 2nd round pick or they would have simply signed him and the Browns would have gotten a 2nd round pick. I don't think the team wants to lose Crow so look for him to be back.

 

IDP REPORT The team is almost certain to pick DE Myles Garrett with the first pick of the draft but they have not made any free agent signings on defense so they will be taking more defenders in this deep defensive draft. The 12th pick could easily be a defender and the likely suspects are defensive backs. CB Joe Haden hasn't been healthy for years and has been one of the highest paid players on the team. The team would love a shut down cornerback to come in and play the role of a shut down corner at a rookie contract for the next four years. If/when the team finds the quarterback they will not have the cap space surplus they currently have to make deals like the Osweiler trade. Garrett will be a big help on the defensive line. Don't look for the team to draft a linebacker high in the draft as LB Jamie Collins and LB Christian Kirksey are the full time linebackers as DC Greg Williams uses 2 linebackers and 5 defensive backs the majority of the time so any linebacker drafted high would not be a full time player. The 33rd pick will have many interesting options at defensive back, maybe even S Jabrill Peppers in the unlikely event that he falls out of the first round.

 

Bottom line, look for Garrett with the first pick, a quarterback or defensive back, or possibly TE OJ Howard with the 12th pick but the team 'could' possibly move up if they fall in love with a quarterback. I just don't think the analytic guys like the odds of moving up for a quarterback or overpaying in a trade for a guy who isn't a true franchise quarterback and no one really knows what the team is up to. If you think that Tony Grossi or May Kay Cabot know then how come they were caught with their pants down on the Brock Osweiler trade? No one saw that coming so don't believe they or anyone knows what the team will do at the quarterback position. The morons in the national media certainly don't have a clue. Those idiots actually thought the team overpaid for that 2nd round pick we stole from the Texans. The shear lunacy of the national media morons is laughable and beyond contempt. The Browns STOLE a second round pick and gave up NOTHING. NOTHING since it had no effect on their salary cap an they still own the 3rd largest cap in the entire league so choke on that national media.

 

Aspettate fino alla prossima volta... Till next time, Ciao!

 

End.

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