Category Archives: NFL

2017 NFL Draft Defensive Positional Rankings

EDGE Rusher

  1. Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
  2. Charles Harris, Missouri
  3. Takkarist McKinley, UCLA
  4. Taco Charlton, Michigan
  5. T.J. Watt, Wisconsin

Summary: Garrett is the stand out in this class. He is my number one overall player and has been for nine months. Harris has great hands and when his motor is going can be unstoppable. McKinley and Charlton are both very good players with the talent to develop into great players. Watt, the younger brother of J.J. Watt, has only been on defense for 18 months and could develop into one of the top rushers in this class.

Defensive Line

  1. Solomon Thomas, Stanford
  2. Jonathan Allen, Alabama
  3. Malik McDowell, Michigan State
  4. Caleb Brantley, Florida
  5. Carlos Watkins, Clemson

Summary: Thomas and Allen are both capable of playing inside or out and are two of the best players in this entire draft class. McDowell, when he wants to be, is as good as the top two guys. Brantley and Watkins both have motors that can be hot or cold, with Watkins being a better rusher. Brantley may go undrafted after being charged with misdemeanor battery in an incident where he allegedly knocked a woman unconscious.

Linebacker

  1. Haason Reddick, Temple
  2. Reuben Foster, Alabama
  3. Jarrad Davis, Florida
  4. Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt
  5. Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State

Summary: Reddick is an explosive athlete who can cover and tackle. Foster, if not for a few off of the field issues, would probably be my top linebacker. He is a heat seeking missile at the linebacker spot. Davis, if he gets better at releasing from blockers could be the best in this class. Cunningham and McMillan just make play after play but also struggle at times with tightness.

Cornerback

  1. Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
  2. Quincy Wilson, Florida
  3. Gareon Conley, Ohio State
  4. Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado
  5. Tre’Davious White, LSU

Summary: Lattimore has the athleticism and ball skills to develop into a shut down corner. I love Wilson’s size and the way he battles on every play. Conley, who will drop after being accused of sexual assault, is long and athletic. Awuzie is a swiss army knife and can do a little bit of everything but I believe lacks great ball skills. White is as consistent a guy as I watched, but I do not think he likes being physical. If not for a knee injury Washington CB Sidney Jones would be number two on this list.

Safety

  1. Malik Hooker, Ohio State
  2. Jamal Adams, LSU
  3. Budda Baker, Washington
  4. Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
  5. Obi Melifonwu, UConn

Summary: Hooker is a single high, ball hawking, Ed Reed type, do it all safety. Adams is an all-around safety, who I do not think is as physical as some others will give him credit for. Baker is my draft crush. An undersized guy who plays with incredible heart and determination and shows great ball skills. Peppers, a man with no position, is best suited as an in the box safety in my opinion and is an athletic freak. Melifonwu at 6’4″ is a huge center fielder, with absolutely unbelievable athleticism and can develop into a mix of KAm Chancellor and Earl Thomas.

 

QB Search Player Profile: Davis Webb

*This is part eight of a 10 part series where we will take a look at the Cleveland Browns options for the elusive quarterback of the future.

Name: Davis Webb

Height: 6’5″

Weight: 229 pounds

Throws: Right

School: Cal

NFL Team: N/A

Draft Spot or Projection: 2nd round- 4th round

Strengths: Great size at 6’5″…throws ball with accuracy and from high release point…decent athlete…has ability to roll out…has patience in the pocket…makes some good decisions…poised kid, started at Texas Tech and Cal…

Weaknesses: Panics in the face of the rush…most of his offense was throws within 10 yards…smaller hands for his size…arm is not overly strong…seems to make decisions where the ball is headed before getting to the line and stays with it even when it is not open…needs help with mechanics as he will tend to let the ball sail…does not anticipate long throws well…

Summary: Webb has great size and seems to be a coachable kid. Has all the ability to be a very good NFL quarterback with the proper coaching, but he is going to be a project. As a second round or later prospect, he could be worth the time and patience it is going to take. He is the best of the bunch after the top four quarterbacks in the 2017 NFL Draft.

QB Search 2017: Player Profile DeShone Kizer

*This is part seven of a 10 part series where we will take a look at the Cleveland Browns options for the elusive quarterback of the future.

Name: DeShone Kizer

Height: 6’4″

Weight: 233 pounds

Throws: Right

School: Notre Dame

NFL Team: N/A

Draft Spot or Projection: Mid Round 1-Early Round 3

Strengths: AFC North size at 6’4″ and 233 pounds…can add to frame still…big arm…can make all of the throws…atheltic…throws catchable ball with tight spiral…good arm motion…strong hands…mostly accurate…stands in pocket and takes hit when necessary to find open receiver…

weaknesses: INCONSISTENT…ditches mechanics at times and relies on strong arm causing the ball to fly all over the field…sticks on primary targets…not a great field general…makes awful decisions with the ball…takes unnecessary sacks even with time and clear and clean pocket, loves to hold the ball looking for big play rather than take what defense gives them…

Summary: If you were going to build the perfect quarterback, you’d want size, arm strength, and a strong build. Kizer has that. However, you’d also want the guy to have field smarts and Kizer is lacking at times. He can be a really good pro, just needs to get out of his own head or at least let someone in to help him out.

Up Next: Cal QB Davis Webb

Previously: Clemson QB Deshaun Watson

Browns 2017 Schedule

If the Browns want to bounce back and improve on a 1-15 record in 2016, they need to get better in the AFC North in 2017 and they will get to start work immediately as they will open the season at First Energy Stadium against the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 10, before traveling to Baltimore in week one. In fact three of their first four games are against their AFC North foes with only a week three matchup Indianapolis seperating their week four homecoming against the Bengals.

All but two of the Browns games will be 1 p.m. kickoffs. Their week eight matchup in London against the Vikings will be at 9:30 a.m. and thier trip to the west coast to face the only team they beat last season, the new Los Angeles Chargers, will kick off at 4:05.

The schedule will end on New Years Eve with a matchup in Pittsburgh against the Steelers. Here is to hoping that game means something.

The entire schedule is as follows:

Week/Date Opponent Time/Network
Wk 1 – Sep. 10 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
Wk 2 – Sep. 17 at Baltimore Ravens 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
Wk 3 – Sep. 24 at Indianapolis Colts 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
Wk 4 – Oct. 1 vs. Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
Wk 5 – Oct. 8 vs. New York Jets 1:00 p.m. (FOX)
Wk 6 – Oct. 15 at Houston Texans 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
Wk 7 – Oct. 22 vs. Tennessee Titans 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
Wk 8 – Oct. 29 Minnesota Vikings (London) 9:30 a.m. (NFL Network)
Wk 9 – Nov. 5 BYE
Wk 10 – Nov. 12 at Detroit Lions 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
Wk 11 – Nov. 19 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
Wk 12 – Nov. 26 at Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
Wk 13 – Dec. 3 at Los Angeles Chargers 4:05 p.m. (CBS)
Wk 14 – Dec. 10 vs. Green Bay Packers 1:00 p.m. (FOX)
Wk 15 – Dec. 17 vs. Baltimore Ravens 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
Wk 16 – Dec. 24 at Chicago Bears 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
Wk 17 – Dec. 31 at Pittsburgh Steelers 1:00 p.m. (CBS)

Cleveland Browns Full Six-Round Mock Draft Version 1.0

We are 44 days from the 2017 NFL Draft and with the Cleveland Browns holding the first pick, just about anything is possible. Over the next  six and a half weeks I will be posting a mock draft each week. On alternating weeks, I will post an NFL mock draft and on the other weeks I will post a Browns only mock.

Today begins the first Browns only mock draft of the season here on OrangeandBrown365.com. With the Browns having zero picks after the sixth round, this will only be a six-round mock.

*Note: Fanspeak’s mock draft simulator was used for this along with Matt Miller’s Big Board

Round 1 Pick 1: EDGE Myles Garret, Texas A&M

Garrett is a pass rushing monster. A better prospect at this point in his career than Jadaveon Clowney was. There are very little guarantees in the draft, but Garrett just may be as close as you can get. Power, finesse, speed, agility, he is the total pass rushing package and will be a guy the Browns can plug in and play day one.

Round 1 Pick 12: QB Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina

In my opinion Trubisky is the best quarterback in this draft with Patrick Mahomes following directly after. Trubisky has a blend of touch and power on his passes and his accurate in and out of the pocket. The former Mentor Cardinal is also a very good athlete and shows good escapability in the pocket. He will be able to handle the pressure of being the Browns QB, my only worry is if fans will be able to handle their own expectations.

Round 2 Pick 33: S Budda Baker, Washington

Baker is an instinctual athlete with a lot more power than it looks like his small frame can produce. He is smaller than you’d like a safety to be at 5’10” and just 195 pounds, but he is a centerfielder with heart who can also play in the slot.

Round 2 Pick 52: CB Adoree’ Jackson, USC

Jackson is an elite athlete who showed greatly improved ball skills and coverage in his final season as a USC Trojan. He can start out in the slot and work his way outside later in his career, while being a huge bonus on special teams as a return man.

Round 3 Pick 65: TE Evan Ingram, Ole Miss

An explosive athlete at tight end in the mold of Washington’s Jordan Reed. Ingram ran a 4.42 40-yard dash at the combine. He will be a chess piece for Hue Jackson to move around the field. He needs to get better at sitting in zone coverage, but manages to find himself open at all levels of the field in man.

Round 4 Pick 108: EDGE Tarell Basham, Ohio

Athletic and strong off of the edge, Basham has an NFL body at 6’4″ and 270 pounds and shows flashes of explosion. His stiffness and lack of a full arsenal of pass rush moves will allow him to slide here where he can be a steal for the Cleveland Browns.

Round 5 Pick 145: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

Smith-Schuster has very good size and average speed for the WR position. He is a very aggressive target and has great body control. At this point in the draft Smith-Schuster would be a steal as he as all the talent and ability to be at worst a very good number two WR in the NFL.

Round 5 Pick 175: SS Delano Hill, Michigan

A perfect fit for a Greg Williams defense as Hill is aggressive and physical at the point of attack and loves to live near the line of scrimmage. His coverage skills leave something to be desired, but he does have the ability to become an average zone defender.

Round 5 Pick 181: DT Davon Godchaux, LSU

Godchaux is a space eater and will be a rotation guy who will probably rarely, if ever, get much of a pass rush. He has the ability to use his hands, leverage, and reaction times to fill the hole.

Round 6 Pick 185: LB Alex Anzalone, Florida

A very talented and fluid linebacker who just cannot seem to stay healthy. Anzalone can be a steal at this point in the draft or at minimum a guy who can help on special teams. If he can stay healthy, he could develop into a very good player, however, given his history that is a very big if.

Round 6 Pick 188: RB Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State

A small (5’8″, 176 pounds) but very fluid runner with great agility. He is the all time leading rusher in NCAA history and has proven he is able to take a beating. His size will hurt him against NFL blitzers but his heart will help him in the run game.

 

Browns Release RGIII

In a move that should come as no surprise, the Cleveland Browns have released quarterback Robert Griffin III. 

The former number two overall pick in the 2012 draft by the Washington Redskins, came to Cleveland looking to revive his career. Unfortunately, for Griffin and the Browns, 2016 was not a good year for either. 

The move comes a day after the team acquired quarterback Brock Osweiler from the Houston Texans. 

While the move to bring in Osweiler has no part in the release of Griffin, the team will save more than $8 million by releasing the former Heisman Trophy winner. 

After being injured in the season opener, Griffin returned to the lineup in December but still looked out of place. He finished his Browns career with a 72.5 rating as a starter. Only Osweiler and Ryan Fitzpatrick of the New York Jets had a worse rating. 

Stunner: Browns Acquire Osweiler

In a move that stunned the NFL the Cleveland Browns have acquired quarterback Brock Osweiler from the Houston Texans via trade on Thursday.

In the deal, the Browns sent a 2017 fourth-round pick to the Texans who in return for Osweiler, a 2017 sixth-round pick and a 2018 second-round pick.While the move surprised many it is actually one of the rare deals that works out great for both parties involved.

The Texans get out from under the $16 million in cash owed to Osweiler and the $10 million cap hit he would have had after they signed him to a four-year $72 million contract in 2016. The money can now give the team the flexibility to sign Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo whom the team feels can lead them deeper into the playoffs than their defense has over the past two seasons.

The Browns give up a late fourth-round pick, most likely a compensatory pick, and now have added a third second-round pick in the 2018 draft and have already fielded calls for Osweiler who they are not looking to keep. If they fail to trade Osweiler, the team will likely release him. His $16 million would count as dead money on the cap in 2017, but if the team also releases quarterback Robert Griffin they would save nearly $7 million and in turn only be forced to take the hit for $9 million of Osweilers contract after subtracting RGIII.

While most think that it would be impossible to find a taker for Osweiler,the Browns are willing to pay half of his 2017 salary. At $8 million for 2017 it’s not a terrible option, especially after seeing Mike Glennon get $15 million per season from the Chicago Bears. Osweiler is guaranteed $16 million this season but nothing in 2018 or 19, so any team trading for him could pay $8 million for one season and then move on if they do not want to pay the $18 million he is due in 2018 or $13 million base and $4 million roster bonus in 2019.

The original trade was shocking, but after seeing the details it looks like a very smart trade for the Browns front office, essentially buying a 2018 second-round pick for possibly $9 million and whatever else they can get from the deal. It is an NBA like trade for an MLB like front office in the NFL.

Browns Add Zeitler and Tretter in O-Line Overhaul

After losing two offensive linemen last season in free agency to begin 2016, the Cleveland Browns have set out to restock their offensive line in 2017.

On the first day of free agency, the team locked up left guard Joel Bitonio to massive $51.2 million extension and then made former Bengals right guard Kevin Zeitler the highest paid guard in NFL history when they signed him to a five-year $60 million deal with $31.5 million of that guaranteed.

The $12 million annual average value surpasses the $11.7 million per season that the Raiders gave guard Kelechi Osemele.

Guard was not the only position the team wanted to sure up to begin the new NFL league year as they also added former Packers center J.C. Tretter on a three-year deal that will allow the team to upgrade at center a year after seeing a massive downgrade in play at that position.

The addition of Zeitler not only strengthens the Browns offensive line, but also weakens a division rival who lost their starting left tackle as well on Thursday.

Browns Sign Bitonio to Massive Extension

While the Browns spent the first day of the new league year signing other teams free agents, they also made sure that one of their own players won’t reach free agency in 2018.

The team reached an agreement on a five-year, $51.2 million deal that will guarantee the 2014 second-round pick $23.7 million and keep him in orange and brown until 2022.

While Bitonio has missed 17 of the last 32 games the team has played, when healthy he teams with perennial All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas to give the Browns one of the top left sides of the offensive line in the NFL.

While some may see it as a risk due to his injury history, Browns Executive Vice President of Football Sashi Brown sees the move as a building block for the future.

“It’s important for us to identify the young talented players on our roster, who fit our culture, and make sure they remain with the Cleveland Browns.” said Brown. “Joel has proven that he is a smart , tough, physical football player and we view him as one of the best young linemen in the league.”

Regardless of what critics say, the move does show that the team is looking to keep home-grown talent, which is something many of criticized them for failing to do in the past. It also gives the Browns one shining piece out of the awful 2014 draft.

Browns, Britt Agree to Deal

According to various reports the Cleveland Browns and former Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Kenny Britt have agreed to terms on a free agent contract. 

The deal is said to be a four-year pact worth $32.5 million. 

The six-foot-three Britt is coming off a season where he caught 68 balls for 1002 yards and five scores. 

At 28 years-old, Britt has been in the NFL for eight seasons, five with the Titans and three with the Rams. 

The addition of Britt could be the end of Terelle Pryor’s time in Cleveland, as the deal Britt agreed to is similar to the one the team was offering Pryor, as I reported Tuesday. 

Browns Will Allow Market to Set Price for Pryor

With NFL free agency set to begin on Thursday at 4 p.m. the Cleveland Browns still have one of their best offensive weapons about to set the market in wide receiver Terrelle Pryor. 

According to someone with knowledge of the negotiations between Pryor and the team, the Browns have offered Pryor no more than $8 million per season on any offer, while Pryor and his representatives are seeking more than $10 million per season. 

The Browns, rather than bid against themselves, are looking to allow the market to set Pryor’s value. It’s a dangerous move for a 1-15 football team who has struggled to keep talent in the past, but it also is something many teams such as the Patriots tend to do. While it works out for the best in New England, if Pryor walks it could be another black eye for the fledgling orange and Brown and another kick in the teeth to the teams overly loyal fan base. 

There are at least five teams very interested in Pryor, led by the Philadelphia Eagles, who would welcome the 6’4″ former quarterback with welcome arms. 

Will it work out for Cleveland? Only time will tell. 

Browns Playing with Fire as Pryor Heads Towards Open Market

Speaking at the NFL Scouting Combine on Wednesday, Cleveland Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said that the teams plans regarding wide receiver Terrelle Pryor have not changed.

The teams still wants him back.

Then, during the same press conference, Brown said that the team “won’t panic” if their leading receiver in 2016 is not on the roster in 2017.

Hmmm…you’re kind of sending mixed signals there Sashi.

Wednesday was also the deadline for teams to tag players with the franchise or transition tags. The Browns chose to do neither with Pryor and with no deal reached, the 6’4″ wide out is now seemingly headed towards the open free agent market if they cannot reach a deal by March 7 at 4 p.m. when teams can begin contacting unrestricted free agents.

Had the Browns chosen to place the franchise tag on Pryor, he would’ve received a one-year deal worth $15.7 million. Pryor and the Browns would have until July 15 to reach a long-term deal or allow him to play out the one-year deal. If another team signed Pryor the Browns would also have the opportunity to match or receive a first round draft pick.

Had they chosen to use the transition tag on Pryor, the one-year deal would be for $13.3 million. The team would still have an opportunity to match any deal Pryor received but would get no compensation if they let him go. The deadline for a long-term deal would also be extended an extra week to July 22.

By choosing to use neither tag, the Browns are playing with fire. Pryor has zero reason to agree to a contract by March 7 after the team failed to complete a deal while they had basically exclusive rights on the emerging playmaker. On top of that, the comments made on Wednesday by Brown, who in most cases I have given the benefit of the doubt, makes it sound like the Cleveland Browns are once again the smartest team in the room.

Pryor is not an elite number one receiver at this point in his career and one of the tags would have been likely overpaying a guy with only one season of production, but they would have allowed the team to maintain nearly exclusive rights on one of their best players and given the team a chance to continue to change the way other teams look at the fledgling franchise.

Once his time comes on the open market, what will keep Pryor true to Cleveland? Yes, he has stated his love for the team, the city, and head coach Hue Jackson, but Pryor, more than anything, wants to win and get paid. If a team like the Philadelphia Eagles, who have their quarterback in place for the 2017 and look to be on the rise offers Pryor a deal for anything near what the Browns offer, why wouldn’t he be intrigued?

The Browns are still years away from contending. They have no answer to the never-ending quarterback question. They are still looked as a joke of a franchise who has let talent walk away year after year. After reaching a deal with LB Jamie Collins, they had a chance to remove that stigma briefly if they could also bring back their number one offensive free agent as well. Now, it is anybody’s guess where this ends up going, but the ball is no longer in the hands of the Browns. It is going to be passed around like one of the franchises failed draft picks.

Pryor may be back. He may not. Either way, the fire department should be on speed dial in Berea.