I was trying to think of some halfway witty manner of introducing this segment, but instead I’ll just offer the following.
Kanicki and I are going to discuss some draft issues.
If you don’t know who Kanicki is, then shame on you.
Here’s the first question:
Do the Browns HAVE to take a cornerback with the 6th overall pick?
In the name of Cary Williams – NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO.
And to borrow from one of Kanicki’s go-to devices: “But DK, the Browns didn’t sign a cornerback in free agency and Dee Milliner is just waiting there at Number Six.”
Understood. However, I contend the following:
1. If Dee Milliner was such a top prospect, why would he fall ALL THE WAY to Number Six?
2. Assuming that #1 was a grand bit of exaggeration, I give you the following:
3. They don’t make first round cornerbacks like they used to.
4. They don’t really need to.
But that’s enough from me – to continue my argument, here’s what Kanicki came up with a few weeks ago. It made sense then as it does now.
I’m aware that everyone luvs Dee Milliner, but he won’t be there at #12 and besides, I looked back at the CB picks going back to 2010. Applying pro-football-ref’s Approximate Value (AV) metric, and using the 2012 value, Patrick Peterson is the one homerun in the bunch. The rest you could throw a blanket over.
2012: After consensus Mo Claiborne (6) you have weed through Stephon Gilmore (4); Dre Kirkpatrick (0); until you get to the best CB of last year’s draft second-rounder Janoris Jenkins (8).
In 2011 it went, Patrick Peterson (13), Prince Amukamara (4), Jimmy Smith (1), Ras-I Dowling (0), Aaron Williams (3), Marcus Gilchrist (2), Brandon Harris (1).
2010: Joe Haden (5), Kareem Jackson (8), Devin McCourty (8), Kyle Wilson (6), Patrick Robinson (6), Chris Cook (3), Javier Arenas (4).
The moral? As ever, the moral is that no one knows anything.
Rhodes’ measurables are everything you want in a #1 CB: 6’1.5″, 210 lbs, 34″ arms, 4.43 40, 40″+ vertical.
But DK, what about…..
That’s enough with the questions. Alright, I get that Kanicki was actually building more of a case for Xavier Rhodes in a trade-down. Obviously, I would prefer this scenario over taking Milliner at 6 – assuming that the Browns can actually get some value in a trade-down and naturally, assuming the Browns can actually FIND A TRADE PARTNER.
Easier said than done.
Anyway, even if the Rhodes scenario materializes and let’s just throw in an ideal recouping of the Josh Gordon 2nd round pick – I STILL CONTEND that the Browns don’t need to spend a first round pick on a cornerback.
First, take a look at this list:
Not exactly a pretty list – unless you’re a really big DeAuntae Brown fan. In fact, the last decent corners the Eagles drafted came 11 years ago when Lito Sheppard and now ex-Brown Sheldon Brown were taken. But then again, it’s worth stating that Andy Reid wielded the draft influence over the Eagles while Joe Banner did what NFL CEO’s typically do.
Which is NOT draft players.
As for Mike Lombardi, he’s also not an authority on cornerbacks.
But then again, if we go down THAT road, then it’s probably best that the Browns just trade away ALL their picks.
As for my final point, I’m not even sure that “Number Two” corners even have much value anymore. Given that the NFL has evolved into a game where slot receivers dominate and teams can roll coverage to outside receivers, wouldn’t finding a slot corner actually be more important?
Otherwise, the Browns are about to invest some big money (relatively speaking cap-wise) in an expensive (literally speaking draft pick-wise) second corner and/or zone corner?
For my money (which it’s clearly not), I would suggest finding some better value, if not outright drafting the best available player to add to a mostly talent-starved roster.
As for the corner problem, I agree there is one – but not to the level of pulling an obvious Tom Heckert “draft for need.” Teams operating within this framework usually settle for filling a position, rather than finding the best available player. Additionally, there are several quality corners in this draft – many of whom can combine man and zone coverage with decent run defense skills. Johnthan Banks and Jamar Taylor are two obvious examples. Or, if the Browns are content on finding a corner to play off Haden, then Desmond Trufant and David Amerson should work just fine.
However, my spidey sense for new Browns’ regime shenanigans is tingling with the idea that Lombardi and Banner may be planning a re-draft of sorts with an eye towards a more financially secure future. Given that quite a few veterans were either cut or not asked to return (most of whom weren’t real difference makers) and based on the rumors that ultra-productive players like Ahtyba Rubin will be cut before their salaries jump in the future, I can easily glimpse this future reality:
Lombardi and Banner are not exactly drafting Joe Haden’s corner partner – but rather his replacement.
In 2014 of course.
Because that’s pretty much how things run around here.
Which means welcome to Cleveland, Dee Milliner. Let’s hope you’re as good as Joe Haden.