With the first of two fourth-round picks, the Browns selected linebacker Leon Williams of Miami of Florida. This was a complete role of the dice.
Williams is a physical freak with the size and speed to be dominating, but
that dominance was not often displayed on the field. When you watch him, you see
the raw potential. When he plays with discipline, he fills the gaps with brutal
force, willing to take on and completely remove the fullback from the play.
He can often be overly aggressive and does not maintain gap integrity. He
shows natural cover ability for a man of his size and shows a natural
understanding of passing angles and lanes. Overall, he very well could be a much
better in the National Football League than he was in college.
Williams’ ability to make plays in the open field is his best asset. He
utilizes his speed to get to the point of attack quickly and uses all of his 245
pounds to finish the play. He will not be dragged 10 yards after the initial
He must improve in using his hands to shed blocks. He struggled at the
college level getting off the block, allowing offensive linemen to get their
hands into his chest and control him.
Bottom Line: Williams likely will become a special teams player this
year as he gains experience and refines his game. He likely will be the number
three man at the inside linebacker position. He’s a boom or bust type of
The Browns used their second pick in the fourth round on offensive tackle
Isaac Sowells of Indiana. This was also a bit of a reach as most had Sowells
slotted for the sixth or seventh round based on his play.
Sowells will move to guard, his more natural position. He is a natural
athlete with quick feet in getting himself into position to defend and has a
natural ability to pull and hit a moving target. Like all Indiana offensive
linemen, he is incredibly strong and loves to run block but too often will be
stood up at the point of attack. He excels in the exchange of defenders, which
is something the Browns struggled with last year especially with L.J. Shelton
and Joe Andruzzi.
Sowells’ greatest strength is his approach to the game. He is one of those
players who responds well to coaching. Offensive line coach Jeff Davidson did
well with this type of selection while with the New England Patriots. I believe
Davidson had a large say in this pick.
Sowells must improve on technique. He does not use his hands well and
although he has quick feet, he will often set his feet too early, giving the
defender the edge in quickness.
Bottom Line: Sowells could easily become the third man at guard behind
Andruzzi and Cosey Coleman. With the injury history of the Browns’ offensive
line, it is very likely he could see time as a starter this year.
Savage used the first of two-fifth round picks to select running back Jerome Harrison of Washington State. Based on what Harrison displayed in his only year
as a starter, he would be a solid second-round talent even in this deep class of
backs, but his measurables are lacking. However, this pick could prove to be one
of the biggest steals in this draft.
Harrison is one of the most deceptive backs in recent memory. He is a very
elusive runner who can make defenders look as if they are playing in cement. He
loves to get outside the tackles and make people miss. He does not have the
timed speed, but often runs away from defenders, beating them to the edge by
taking proper angles and following his blockers into the secondary.
He displays excellent balance, often bouncing off the big hits while keeping
his wide leg sprawl and maintaining that foundation. He has excellent hands
receiving the ball, rarely allowing the ball to get into his body.
Harrison does have a tendency to run with the ball outside of his body and
this more often than not leads to fumbles at the next level. He is a willing
blocker, but can often be bull-rushed into the quarterback due to his limited
size (5-9, 201).
He is a game changer. Whether it is running or receiving, he is a threat to
go the distance anytime he touches the ball.
His major negative is hesitation when the hole is slow in opening. He does
have the ability to quickly bounce the play outside, but as history has shown in
the NFL, he who hesitates is tackled for a loss. Gaining a yard is much
preferred over losing three.
Bottom Line: Harrison will compete with Lee Suggs for the third-down
back role. He will add a unique dynamic to this role. He is a well-rounded
running back with a big-play mentality.
With the Browns’ second pick in the fifth round, they added depth at the
cornerback position with the selection of DeMari Minter of Georgia. This was
another case of a player falling well past his draft grade. He was a solid
third-round talent who slid through. His timed speed (4.52) simply does not
indicate his playing speed.
Minter is one of those tough kids who reminds me a great deal of Hines Ward
in his approach to the game. He has fun on the field and shows a willingness to
do whatever it takes to be successful. He is a fearless tackler who will lay the
devastating hit on the biggest running back or tight end.
He tackles with flawless technique as he squares his shoulders and drives
through the tackle. He displays natural corner ability with his hips and a quick
turn to stay with the receiver, but his backpedal is lacking. This can cause him
to lose containment on the more fluid receivers. He shows quick reaction to the
play developing and has good extension in breaking up the pass, but does not
have great hands in intercepting the ball.
Minter is simply one of those tough guys you enjoy watching. He plays hard on
every play. The better the competition, the better his performance.
His poor footwork in the backpedal remains his most glaring area of concern.
This issue can be easily corrected with proper coaching.
Bottom Line: Rookie corners usually struggle, but Minter should be
able to contribute in the nickel and dime packages early in his career. Don’t be
surprised if he emerges as a starting caliber corner in the near future.
With the first pick in the sixth round, the Browns took the top-rated
fullback in this year’s draft in Lawrence Vickers of Colorado. Once again, this
was somewhat of a surprise pick because I had him rated as a solid late third-
to early fourth-round value.
Vickers is lacking in the skills you need as a fullback, but he is the
short-yardage back the Browns have been lacking. He has powerful legs that can
move the chains and run over most defenders. He will never be a home-run threat
due to his lack of speed.
He also has soft hands receiving the ball and uses his body well to shield
defenders, but he is not a very good lead blocker. He fails to get low enough to
drive the defender or gets too low, allowing the defender to push him to the
Vickers will add depth to Reuben Droughns’ style of running and is the
missing link in short-yardage downs.
His weakness is technique in run blocking. This will need an overhaul in
camp, but with veterans Terrelle Smith and Corey McIntyre, expect a quick
turnaround in this area.
Bottom Line: The Browns threw on third down and inches because they
had no one on their roster who could consistently pick up those inches when the
line was stacked. With LeCharles Bentley at center and Vickers behind him, this
should not be an issue in 2006.
Savage used the sixth-round pick gained in the trade with Baltimore to select
defensive tackle Babatunde Oshinowo of Stanford. Another head-scratching pick
because it is hard to believe he fell this far in the draft.
Oshinowo had a solid second-round grade, but was seen as a pure 3-4 nose
tackle. His position, combined with a poor workout, harmed his draft-day stock.
He was one of the most consistent run stuffers in this draft, displaying
excellent technique and agility. He is an incredibly strong player at the point
of attack who will command double teams. He also has talent at slipping out of
the double and making the big run stop or sliding out on sweeps and screens and
finishing with a tackle for loss.
Oshinowo has a thick frame that should allow him to continue getting bigger
and stronger. He will undoubtedly be asked to add 20-30 pounds to his 305-pound
frame. He is a high character young man who shows intelligence on and off the
field. He will be the perfect understudy to Ted Washington and is good enough to
esarn quite a bit of playing time this year.
Oshinowo’s greatest strength is quick reaction to what is happening in front
of him. He possesses the mental makeup for long-term success in the NFL.
His primary negative stems from the fact he has only one pass-rush move, the
pure bull rush. He’ll have to learn new ones if he is to become a three-down
player. He also lacks explosion when it comes to passing downs. He often becomes
slow off the snap. His timing and technique can and will be worked on.
Bottom Line: Oshinowo adds immediate depth to the nose-tackle position
and is good enough at this point in his career to start if needed.
The seventh round is always about finding the diamond in the rough with
long-term potential. The Browns did just that by adding strong safety Justin Hamilton of Virginia Tech.
Hamilton is a sensational athlete who played running back and wide receiver
at Virginia Tech before switching to safety as a senior. This has certainly
hindered his growth in one single position. He is willing to take on anyone and
playing with the toughness you look for.
He has excellent size and speed and has shown a bit of a nose for the
football. He is a willing tackler and his coverage skills showed steady
improvement. His read-and-reaction skills are not there yet, but he has not
developed many bad habits, which can often be very detrimental to players as
they enter the pro ranks.
Hamilton’s greatest asset is his versatility. He can become an emergency
back, special teams ace, as well as a solid prospect at safety.
His weakness is simply inexperience at the position. He will need time to
Bottom Line: There is very little to not like about this kid. His
willingness to do whatever the coaches asked him to do went a long way in this
selection. If you love cheering for the underdog, this is the player to keep
your eye on during training camp.
The Browns’ draft had its highs and lows, but if you exchange the third and
fourth round with the fifth and sixth, this draft would look stellar on paper.
The Browns managed to select the top DE/OLB tweener, the top middle linebacker,
the top fullback and the second-ranked nose tackle. Based on those picks alone,
this draft appears very promising.