Seven Draft Myths

Seven Draft Myths

Dave Kolonich finally weighs in after digesting what the Cleveland Browns' new brass did at its first NFL Draft.

After having a week or so to digest the first draft of the Joe Banner/Mike Lombardi era, I've realized that the following items have become something of status quo:

(And you know I can't allow that).

1. The Browns Did Not Have an Opportunity to Trade Down

In case you haven't seen it yet, be sure to take a look at this:

St. Louis Today – Rams Appear Ready to Rev It Up

The Rams talked to the five teams that held picks No. 6 overall through No. 10 about the possibility of moving up.

It soon became apparent that they might have to get ahead of the New York Jets at No. 9 to nab Austin. And for a while, they wondered if they might even have to draft ahead of Buffalo at No. 8 for Austin.

So Cleveland, at No. 6 overall, was offered the same deal as Buffalo. But for the second year in a row (See: RGIII trade), the Browns declined to pull the trigger on a major deal with the Rams.

Cleveland wanted Louisiana State outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo and decided to stay at No. 6 to do just that.

This should help dispel the widely-held assumption that the Browns did not have the opportunity to trade down from the sixth overall pick and thus decided to "take the best player available" in Barkevious Mingo.

Or in a more plain language – Banner and Lombardi were going to take Mingo no matter what.

In fact, I think the Browns set a speed record in running the Mingo selection to the stage Thursday night.

As I suspected that Thursday night, the front office did have an opportunity to trade down – if only evidenced by the deal the Bills took two spots after the Browns selected Mingo.

And again – even though it's a lost argument given the context of Banner and Lombardi's draft effort – trading down with the Rams would have given the Browns one of two things:

1. Extra picks to be used during this draft to improve the roster's porous depth.
2. Extra picks to be used in the future – allowing the team to operate from a Belichickian position of power.

And more than likely it still would have delivered Mingo to the Browns.

2. Even If the Browns Did Trade Down, Mingo Wouldn't Have Dropped to 16.
I get this point, but logically let's take a look at the picks turned in by teams drafting after Cleveland:

In a Browns-Rams Trade Scenario:
6. Rams – Obviously they would have taken Tavon Austin (fearing that the Bills or Jets would grab him)
7. Arizona – Took Cooper to help the league's worst O-Line
8. Bills – The Bills were sold on Manuel or a trade down happens here
9. Jets – Took Milliner to replace Revis. Also drafted Coples last year
10. Titans – Took Warmack to help the league's second worst O-Line
11. Chargers – Took Fluker to help an aging O-Line (also lost Vasquez in Free Agency)
12. Raiders – Took Hayden, who they reportedly were going to take at 3 before the Dolphins called
13. Jets – Took Richardson to fill aging Defensive Tackle hole
14. Panthers – Took Loutleiei to help one of the league's worst D-lines
15. Saints – Could have been a Mingo spot, but Vaccaro helps league's worst secondary
16. Here's where the Browns would have landed. And since the Steelers were high on Jarvis Jones,

Mingo could have been a Brown and the FO could have collected some extra picks in the process.

3. Fourth and Fifth Round Picks Don't Produce Starters.
Draft rationalizations often produce some really silly logic. The above statement floated all over Twitter last weekend and while I'm sure it felt good for some to type – seriously?

This is about as dumb of a rationalization as someone can make.

Here's a list of why.

Kanicki has a nice list here, too.

And if such an idea had actual merit, why was this not popular consensus until this year – when the Browns' new leaders made it a justification?

Maybe I have a short memory, but I can't recall many fans being pissed off that the Browns drafted in these rounds before. If I'm wrong, send me those archived tweets.

4 and 5.
In honor of Joe Banner, I'm skipping these two. Maybe I'll get to them next year.

6. Extra Fourth and Fifth Round Picks Will Help Bring a Franchise Quarterback in 2014.
I kind of get this argument – at least from a very, very general standpoint. Yes, extra picks do help teams to trade up. However, if the target is a big-time quarterback prospect, then fourth and fifth round picks are just accessories. Thinking (way) back to 2007, Brady Quinn in the low first round cost the Browns a future first-rounder, while RG3 was deemed worthy of a few years of number ones.

Given that this cost is only going to increase, the Browns (who more than likely should finish anywhere from 6-10 to 8-8 to whatever this year) will have to cough up A LOT more than a fourth and fifth round pick to trade up and draft Teddy Bridgewater or whoever a year from now.

That is unless a really dumb team settles for those Colts and Steelers' picks.

7. A Good Pass Rush Negates a Bad Secondary.
This is probably half reality and half justification. On one hand, the Giants have won two Super Bowls with some shoddy secondary play. But then again, when the Giants' pass rush has struggled in recent years, the ex-champs are a very pedestrian team. I get this and have no arguments.

And for the record, the Browns haven't had a good pass rush in 15 years. It's about time a front office seriously tried to address this need.

On a similar note, this also helps to explain why the Patriots don't win Super Bowls anymore. Or even why the Steelers missed out on the playoffs last year. Or you could even make a case that the Broncos blew the Ravens game because of the bad timing combination of a slow pass rush and inept secondary.

However, it's logically obtuse to suggest that a quality pass rush completely negates a bad secondary – which is simply not true.

First, all NFL teams have to cover. Second, NFL defenses can only rush so many players. It's very simple and we all know this. Finally, good quarterbacks love it when defenses think they can thrive with all pass rush and no secondary. Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady can claim some tens of thousands of passing yards as evidence.

Naturally, the justification part arises from the idea that right now the Browns would start Buster Skrine and Leon McFadden behind Joe Haden. The truth is the front office has failed to adequately address this huge need. Regardless of shifting team expectations and overall building plans, the Browns' secondary right now ranks among the league's worst in terms of talent.

Or for a better comparison – that pass rush better be legendary.

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