First Annual Post-Combine Browns Prospect Update: Offense Edition

This is my first Annual Post-Combine Browns’ Prospect Update. To be honest, with my penchant for procrastination and forgetfulness, this may be my only “Annual Post-Combine Prospect Update”.

I’m going to put myself in Browns General Manager, John Dorsey’s Nike Air Monarchs for a minute. Here are a few offensive prospects who piqued my interest during the NFL Combine in Indianapolis this past weekend.

Quarterback

Lol.

Like I’ve said before, with advances in medicine the Browns won’t need to draft a QB until at least 2045. I will waste approximately 0 minutes worrying about quarterback prospects until Baker Mayfield is old and gray.

Running Back

See “Quarterback”

Wide Receiver

This has been the most glamorous position of the combine. Every time I looked up another WR was running a sub 4.4 40-yard dash. This was especially intriguing since receiver is a considered a position of need for the Browns.

There was one sleeper pick who flew under the radar all weekend. His name is DK Metcalf. The man put up freakish numbers at almost every drill and had a reported 1.6% body fat. Even with all of these impressive numbers nobody is talking about him (aside from every single person who covers, works for, or watches the NFL.)

Metcalf wasn’t the only WR who improved his stock this weekend. Ohio native, Andy Isabella posted a 4.31 40 time, tying Parris Campbell as the fastest wideout at the combine. I call him Andy “Warhol” Isabella because he will forever be connected to Campbell’s.

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If size is your thing, Hakeem Butler is over 6’5 and posted solid numbers in Indianapolis. As a bonus, imagine how many times Jim Donovan can say “The Butler did it!” whenever he makes a big catch.

One disappointment was N’Keal Harry. He dropped some passes and didn’t run the cleanest routes. I was most looking forward to Baker Mayfield throwing 50 yard passes to him so I could call them N’Kealear Bombs. I’m still workshopping that one.

Tight End

I truly believe that David Njoku will continue to improve this offseason with Mayfield as his QB. If he doesn’t take the next step there are a few interesting options in this draft class.

T.J. Hockenson is the one name I keep seeing at the top of people’s draft charts. He is well-rounded and put up good numbers at the combine. Hockenson’s college teammate, Noah Fant caused quite a stir as well by running a 4.5 40 yard dash. The issue is that both of these players are expected to go in the first round and Cleveland probably shouldn’t be spending pick #17 on the tight end position.

The Browns may be well served to pick a blocking TE in the later rounds. However, I’m too disinterested in blocking tight ends to look at combine numbers for potential candidates.

Offensive Line

Early in the season (when Hue Jackson coached), the Browns had a very offensive line. Then things changed (Hue got fired) and the o-line had a successful end of the year. After re-signing Greg Robinson and having former 2nd round pick, Austin Corbett waiting in the wings, offensive line may be put on the back burner this draft.

That being said, one offensive line stat that stood out to me was Ioshua Opeta’s bench press. Most of the prospects were able to bench 225 pounds 25-29 times. Opeta repped it out 39 times. To put that into context, that is 39 more times than Kevin Durant can do it. Simply amazing.

That wraps up the offensive player edition of my First Annual Post-Combine Browns Prospect Update. As a little added bonus, I’ve included some special teams stuff at the end. You’re welcome.

Kicker/Punter

If you actually want to know my opinion of how kickers and punters performed at the combine, then you clearly care more than me. Do your own research.

 

The Cavs and the Cav-Nots

Remember when Tristan Thompson said the East runs through Cleveland?  I believe what he meant was, “Every team in the East will run through Cleveland”. In his defense, I believe he was talking about the playoffs and I guarantee the Cavs won’t lose a playoff series this year.

The Cavaliers have been the worst team in the NBA this season and don’t appear to be improving much. To put it another way, the Cavs are so bad that they have looked more like “The Cankles” this year. Ty Lue taught us that with young teams there are no losses, just wins and lessons. With that logic, Cedi and the boys will have their PhD.’s by March. In all seriousness, I believe this team is especially tough to watch because fans have become a little spoiled by their beloved basketball team over the last 12-15 years.

Between LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Sasha Pavlovic, Cleveland has had a star player nearly every season since 2003. To put this into perspective, every 12 year old in Cleveland has been alive for 5 Eastern Conference Championships! Throw in the Indians’ World Series run in 2016, the Monsters’ Calder Cup the same year, and the Browns’ undefeated Pre-Season Championship of 2017 and you have entitled pre-teens all over Cleveland expecting unsustainable success by all of their local teams. Back in my day I used to have to walk to school and back, uphill both ways through driving snowstorms just to get home to see Michael Reghi do play-by-play of Chris Mihm and Wes Person.

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I first fell in love with the Cavs in the late 1990’s and used to tune in to Channel 43 WUAB every night to watch Ricky Davis, Trajan Langdon, and Brevin Knight cobble together 20-30 win seasons. My claim to fame in elementary school was being the kid who knew how to pronounce Desagna Diop’s name correctly. I also got in trouble in class for using inappropriate language when the teacher overheard me talking about Bimbo Coles. The more I write this, I’m realizing that apparently I was the weird Cavs kid in school. The point I am trying to make is that one bad season isn’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things.

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In today’s NBA, teams want to either be championship contenders or tankers, and nobody does this better than your Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs have won the Eastern Conference or the draft lottery 7 times in the last 8 years and appear well on their way to making it 8 out of 9. If the young guys continue to develop, they land a top 3 pick in the draft, and I get to continue wearing my “This Delly Delivers” shirt, than I chalk this season up as a success.

Unbiased Rookie of the Year Debate

There have been a lot of debates going on over who should win the prestigious Pepsi Rookie of the Year award this season. Here are some compelling arguments for and against each finalist. To ensure that I am completely fair and show no favor towards any Browns’ players I have listed them in the order they appear on NFL.com.

Saquon Barkley- RB, NYG: Barkley scored 15 touchdowns this season and had the 2nd most rushing yards in the NFC East this year on 261 carries. He also had 91 receptions. That is 352 touches in one year! Can you say ball hog? Those stat lines are great and he probably led fantasy teams to a lot of victories this season. Unfortunately, The Pepsi Rookie of the Year Award isn’t won in make-believe-land. In the real world, Saquon led New York to 11 losses. I don’t know about you guys, but I want my Rookie of the Year to help his teammates and share the spotlight.

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Nick Chubb- RB, CLE: Chubb averaged 5.2 yards per carry this season and was technically the Browns’ first 1,000 yard rusher (until he lost yardage on his last attempt) since Peyton Hillis in 2010. This is incredible seeing how he was only given double-digit carries in 8 games. The Georgia product also found the endzone 10 times and ensured I didn’t have to start Isaiah Crowell on my fantasy team the second half of the season. What Nick Chubb was able to do this season was very impressive, especially considering he got Hue’d.

Hue’d (v. hyoo-d) – 1. the act of being benched for less impressive, unproductive veterans ex. Tyrod Taylor started over Baker at the beginning of the year? Boy did he get Hue’d.

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Darius Leonard- LB, IND: Leonard led the entire NFL in tackles with 163…yawn. If tackles were so great D’Qwell Jackson and Jamir Miller would’ve been league MVP every year. His 7 sacks may seem impressive as well until you realize that Kamerion Wimbley had 11 during his rookie campaign. All in all, Leonard had a nice season and defense may win championships, but it doesn’t win Rookie of the Year awards.

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Phillip Lindsay- RB, DEN: Lindsay seemingly came out of nowhere this season. The native Coloradan went undrafted, joined his hometown Broncos, and took the starting job from fellow rookie, Royce Freeman. Lindsay had very similar stats to Nick Chubb this season, with 40 more yards and the same amount of total touchdowns. If I had to pick a negative about this kid, it would be that his team underachieved, he got banged up, and faded down the stretch. Also, Chubb won their head-to-head matchup and outgained Phillip 100-24. Tough look for the first year back.

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Baker Mayfield- QB, CLE: Mayfield was the catalyst in turning the Cleveland Browns’ season (and entire franchise) around this year. The young signal caller set the record for most passing touchdowns by a rookie, passing Russell Wilson and Peyton Manning (maybe you’ve heard of them). Baker had 3,725 more passing yards than Saquon Barkley this season. He had 27 more passing touchdowns than Chubb and Lindsay. He even had more sacks (25) than Darius Leonard (7). The former Heisman winner accomplished all this while also enduring the Hue/Haley experience.

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The Verdict: This is a great group of young players and some of them will probably go on to be stars in the NFL for years to come. Nick Chubb set team rookie records for a franchise that had legendary running backs like Jim Brown, Leroy Kelly, and Trent Richardson. Phillip Lindsay became the first undrafted rookie offensive player to be named a Pro-Bowler. This race is tighter than a bench seat next to Bob Wylie.

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With all that being said, I think its a no-brainer that the winner of the 2018 Pepsi Rookie of the Year Award should go to Baker Reagan Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns. A rookie quarterback leading an 0-16 team to a 7 and a half game improvement, while going through a coaching change, is more impressive than any stats you can show me.

Browns Mock Draft ’19

For the first time in a long time, Cleveland fans don’t have to obsess over seven round mock drafts, or study film and interviews from every draft eligible quarterback in the country. With mock draft fever at an all time low, I have created this list of players who would create excellent storylines for the Cleveland Browns next season. Most of these players will be gone long before the Browns pick at #17, but a guy can dream.

Josh Allen- LB, Kentucky: Josh Allen is a top talent and plays a position that the Browns need help at, but those aren’t the reasons I’m pulling for Cleveland to draft him. The Browns NEED this young man just so all the fans on twitter who campaigned for Josh Allen, the quarterback, last year can make bad jokes about how they were actually talking about this guy. Even if Cleveland isn’t able to get him on draft day, we can look forward to middle-aged men everywhere tweeting “I thought he got drafted last year LOL” or “Wow, he must’ve changed positions #Draft”.

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Greg LittleOT, Ole Miss: The offensive line as a whole looked better once Freddie Kitchens and healthy wide receivers gave Baker a chance to get rid of the ball quicker, but one of the “needs” I keep seeing pop up for Cleveland is the offensive tackle position. The best part of this pick would be the recycling of all the #15 jerseys from the last Greg Little to wear the orange and brown. As an added bonus, the new Greg Little could do stupid first down symbols every time he successfully blocks someone as an homage to the old wideout.

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Rashan GaryDE, Michigan: The only Ohio State players that are consistently projected as first rounders are Nick Bosa and Dwayne Haskins. Bosa is supposed to go top 3 and with advances in medicine, Cleveland won’t need to draft a QB in the first round again until at least 2045. The next best thing from drafting Buckeyes is drafting Michigan men so fans can irrationally hate them until they become really good pros. I look forward to Mr. Gary getting heckled at local CVS’ all across Northeast Ohio until he proves himself.

Deandre BakerCB, Georgia: Maybe its recency bias, but if your name is Baker I want you in Cleveland. With Freddie Kitchens at the helm, I would trade for Dalvin Cook and Buddha Baker, sign Brandin Cooks, and get Connor Cook to back up Mayfield. You can never have too many cooks and bakers in Freddie’s kitchen (insert cricket sound).

D.K. MetcalfWR, Ole Miss: Much like the Greg Little pick, I’d love to see all the old Metcalf jerseys come out of retirement. If I’m the Browns, I would force D.K. to wear #21 strictly for the nostalgia effect (sorry Denzel Ward). Also, Clevelanders love nicknames and with a name like D.K. I’m sure we could come up with some doozies.

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Marquise BrownWR, Oklahoma: Drafting Marquise Brown actually makes sense for a couple of reasons. He is explosive and has already worked with Baker Mayfield at Oklahoma. Personally, I hope Cleveland takes him so he can join a long line of great Cleveland Brown Brown’s like Paul, Jim, Sashi, and Courtney. The only downside is Cleveland isn’t big enough for two Hollywood’s so either he or Higgins will have to change their name or leave town.

If Cleveland somehow acquires any of these players, please credit me for first reporting it and be prepared to see dozens of corny tweets about it immediately following the draft. Later on I will release some late round sleepers (people with funny names or back stories) that would create great storylines for Browns fans and media members to discuss.

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Trick-or-Treating with the Browns

Today is Halloween, which means thousands of Trick-or-Treaters are going to be roaming the streets of Cleveland. The Browns were kind enough to release a list of the candies that their players and personnel will be passing out tonight.

Antonio Callaway: Butterfinger– The rookie wide receiver is going to pass out these delicious peanut buttery treats. Kids are advised to look for extra candy on his porch because Antonio is known to drop things. Just beware, the smoke pouring out of his door isn’t coming from a fog machine. (Children dressed as police officers will not be awarded with candy, and may cause Mr. Callaway to get antsy and flee the premises.)

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Hue Jackson: Dum Dum– Coach Jackson was recently let go from the team, but he is still willing to pass out candy to kids. Quite the class act. Please make sure your children are on their best behavior because there are security cameras all over his property. We all know that Hue loves to watch the tape. Luckily, boys and girls won’t be disciplined because Coach Jackson hates to use timeouts.

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Jamie Collins: PayDay- Jamie may take awhile to get to the door after you ring his doorbell. Ensure your children that the linebacker is indeed home. Also, make sure you thank Mr. Collins for the candy. He needs constant positive reinforcement for his good actions.

pay day

Bob Wylie: Jelly Belly- Don’t you dare stretch before going Trick-or-Treating at the O-Line coach’s house. Don’t forget that Bob is an amateur magician so be careful asking for a trick. He’ll be pulling Necco Wafers out of your ears all night.

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Jimmy Haslam: Sugar Daddy– Don’t expect to get more than one piece of candy from Mr. Haslam. The FBI has been cracking down on what he can give out ever since the whole rebate incident so he has been walking on eggshells lately. Parents will be happy to know that while their children are trick-or-treating at the Haslam house, Jimmy will be pounding shots of tequila with the adults.

sugar daddy

Gregg Williams: Lozenges– The new ball coach is a little rough around the edges so please prepare your children for the words they are about to be exposed to. The kids will be excited though, Gregg allows them to take a handful of treats because he has a bounty of the stuff and is a firm believer that people need incentives to do their best.

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One last bit of advice, do not dress up as bumblebees, Where is Waldo, or inmates. These players have been traumatized by men in stripes for weeks now and tend to lose it when seeing one.

Be safe out there, kids. And Go Browns!

 

Hue Jackson: Buffoon or Mastermind

If you have been on Twitter recently (the last 2 years), you have probably seen plenty of Hue Jackson slander. Some of it is warranted, some of it is blind hatred because he has done stupid things in the past.

While he may not be good at play calling, making smart challenges, using his timeouts at appropriate times, judging kickers, conducting press conferences, or understanding end of half situations, he is very good in one key area. Nobody, and I mean nobody, is better at going to overtime than Hue.

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While he may not understand the rules of overtime, and he doesn’t tend to win once his team gets there, Coach Jackson finds very creative ways to get his young players more playing time.

John Dorsey has to love all the extra reps Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, and Desmond Harrison are getting. By the end of this season, they will all have the experience of a 3 year veteran, but still have 3 or 4 years left of team control.

Best of all, the overtime games almost always use up the entire 10 minutes of the period. Jackson has figured out that if a game never ends, he can’t be fired. Genius really.

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Hue is like the guy in the old Buffalo Wild Wings commercials that makes every game go to overtime just so he can stick around a little bit longer.

Speaking of restaurants and bars, fans and economists lauded LeBron James for all the revenue he brought to downtown during his tenure, yet they villainize Hue for the same thing. Bar patrons are stuck watching the Browns an extra half hour each week which raises alcohol sales at each establishment. As an added bonus, Coach Jackson finds ways to lose those games in embarrassing fashion resulting in more binge drinking. Win-win for the bar owners.

The more I write, the more I am realizing that not only is Hue Jackson a great coach, he may be the hero Cleveland needs right now.

(Insert photoshop of Hue on the old LeBron Billboard)

The only way the Coach’s plan can backfire is if the Haslam’s realize how much comp time Hue has saved up from the OT’s and they use that to justify paying him for two more years after he is released this offseason.

Final Verdict: Mastermind

Browns Recap and NFL Streaks

The Cleveland Browns defeated the Baltimore Reffins on Sunday, 12-9. The win ended some notorious streaks that the media enjoys rubbing in Cleveland fans’ faces. It marked their first victory inside their division since 2015, and their first Sunday win in over 1,000 days.

I took the liberty of finding some streaks for other teams that we should start to point out.


Did you know:

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven’t won a Thursday game since October 25, 2012. That’s 2,173 days. (Browns won one just 18 days ago)

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Other Notable Thursday Night Droughts:

49ers- 1,837 days (9/26/13)

Bears- 1,823 days (10/10/13)

Dolphins- 1,424 days (11/13/14)

The Chicago Bears haven’t won on a Saturday since December 14, 1996. That’s 7,963 days. (The Browns won one less than 2 years ago)

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Other Notable Saturday Droughts:

Rams- 5,383 days (01/08/04)

Broncos- 5,012 days (01/14/05)

Buccaneers- 4,668 days (12/24/05)

Bills, Bengals, and Giants- 2,478 days (12/24/11)

Also, I’m pretty sure Ohio State and Alabama have never won on a Sunday and we never ridicule them.


Back to Sunday’s game.

Playgrounds all across Northeast Ohio are going to have kids singing “Patty Cake, Patty Cake, Baker’s the Man!” after the Rookie threw for 342 yards and led the Browns on a beautiful game-winning drive in overtime.

The Browns had a chance to win in regulation, but Gregory Joseph “Biden” was leaning too far to the left. Luckily, he came slightly more to the middle in OT.

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Denzel “Washington” Ward was a Man on Fire, defending passes, causing turnovers, and blocking kicks. He really was the Equalizer against the Ravens.

Britton Colquitt was an overtime hero by booming punts to keep the Ravens pinned back. I haven’t seen Britton push somebody back that deep into their own territory since the Battle of Bunker Hill.

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The defense played phenomenal as well. It’s no coincidence that the Browns have been making a ton of turnovers since Baker came to town. I was also impressed by the defense’s discipline against the Lamar Jackson wildcat plays. I was equally unimpressed with the Ravens use of their rookie QB.

All in all, it seems like we finally have a fun, competitive football team in Cleveland. It is so strange watching a Browns game and actually feeling confident. I guess when a team truly has playmakers on both sides of the ball it makes a difference. Whoda thunk it?

Go Browns!

Space Jam 2 Leaked Script

Space Jam 2 is apparently in the works and I couldn’t be more excited. While I personally believe that Kobe Bryant should be the main character, I’ll settle for LeBron. I have received a sneak peek at the script and would like to share some of the plot without spoiling anything.

A Few Things That Stood Out:

As an homage to the original, Bugs and Daffy are tasked with sneaking into LeBron’s mom’s house in Akron to retrieve his lucky St. Vincent-St. Mary shorts. Instead of running across a ferocious bulldog, the Looney Toons are greeted by a half asleep, tighty-whitey wearing, Delonte West. They get out just in time to make it to the facility on time for training.

delonte

As practice begins, it is clear to LeBron that the Toons are not ready for the big game yet. He responds by firing off cryptic social media posts bashing his teammates for being soft. When this fails, he attempts to trade Taz and Tweety to the Monstars to shake things up but they turn down the offer.

With all of his go-to moves failing, James pulls out one last trick. He contacts Kendrick Lamar and asks him to write some brand new songs that he can use to teach Bugs and the gang how to make workout montages while lip syncing and making aggressive head movements.

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At halftime of the big game against the Monstars, the Toon Squad needs a pick me up. Bugs and LeBron come up with a brilliant plan to trick their teammates into feeling invincible. They take a bottle of LeBron’s Chardonnay out of his gym bag and try passing it off as James’ Magic Juice.

I don’t want to give away the ending or the NBA players who will be losing their skills to the Monstars so I won’t share anymore at this time. Stay tooned.

Other Notable Notes:

Newman from Seinfeld’s character will be played by Brian Windhorst. I am especially excited for the scene where he gets flattened, then pumped full of air until he lets out a minute long fart.

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Baker Makes Brownies Better

Last night, the Cleveland Browns got competent quarterback play for the first time since 2007, when Derek Anderson fooled us all for a season. I was all aboard the “Let Baker Sit” express after the first two weeks because Tyrod Taylor had the Browns in position to be 2-0, but boy was I dumb. The veteran signal caller was brutal the entire first half, and suffered a concussion late in the 2nd quarter allowing Baker Mayfield a chance to finally play with the 1’s. Ironically, Tyrod had so much egg on his face that he looked like a Baker and Mayfield did his best impression of a Tailor by threading the needle all night.

The Baker puns are endless. He made the entire Jets defense look like cupcakes yesterday and donut even get me started about all the dough he’s about to make. That two point conversion reception was really the icing on top.

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The Browns offense finally looked like an adequate unit once Bakermania entered the game. Somehow, expectant father, Carlos Hyde looked faster and stronger every time he took a handoff from Mayfield. Unfortunately, all I could think about whenever he touched the ball was this guy.

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Hyde, yo kids (about to be born), Hyde, yo wife (is in labor)

The defense played extremely well all game. I believe the Jets would’ve only scored 10 points if it wasn’t for a short field off of a blocked punt.

Speaking of which, can the Browns’ special teams be any worse? The missed field goals and extra points have been well documented, but the punt and punt return units have been terrible. This season, Colquitt has punted into his own blocker and punted one off of Nick Chubb’s head. Jabrill Peppers has refused to make a normal return (fair catching when he shouldn’t and catching punts off of awkward bounces) and there has been a block in the back on essentially every return this year.

All in all, it was a great day to be John Dorsey. With Baker on the bench, 33rd overall pick Corbett not contributing at all, and Josh Gordon being traded for a 5th round pick, the General Manager had been under a lot of scrutiny the past couple of weeks. That all changed when Mayfield took the reins. Fellow first round pick, Denzel Ward, made multiple big plays, including a fumble return that resulted in a Browns field goal and 5th round pick, Genard Avery, was able to pressure Sam Darnold a few times. As an added bonus, Cleveland’s newly acquired kicker didn’t miss any field goals or PAT’s, which is pretty wild.

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Everything is coming up Browns!

 

Browns-Saints Preview (No Mention of Josh Gordon)

I’ve decided to write this Browns preview without mentioning Josh Gordon as a way to keep the attitude positive ahead of today’s game against the Saints.

I’m still high on the Browns and don’t believe that this whole season is going to pot. I’d actually be willing to wager some green on the game today as it should be a misdemeanor to set the line at 8 points in favor of the Saints. Personally, I’d make the spread an eighth of that. I’m trying to suspend all my emotions about this game to make a logical pick, but after watching Ryan Fitzpatrick roast the New Orleans’ D, I think Cleveland has a shot.

Drew Brees likes to get comfortable in the pocket, but I truly believe that Myles Garrett and Genard Avery can smoke him out. Brees, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas are going to get rolling at some point, but the defense should be able to prevent them from lighting it up all afternoon. People in Cleveland are buzzing about Gregg Williams’ defensive unit and they will need to continue to show improvement this week in order to upset New Orleans.

I may have an ounce of optimism about Cleveland’s offense this week. I call their ground game Run THC (Tyrod, Hyde, Chubb). I expect Carlos Hyde to really pound the rock today. He is just going to keep hitting it and hitting it. If they can get it to Duke Johnson in space, he should be gone in a puff of smoke on that New Orleans turf. As a matter of fact, they should just do that repeatedly then pass. Todd Haley calls it the Puff, Puff, Pass offense.

To put in bluntly, it will take a joint effort from the entire team to pull off this road upset, but I think the Browns have the fire power to do it.

Cleveland 27, New Orleans 21

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