Today’s the day! The 2012 NFL draft is finally here, as the top college prospects from around the country walk across the stage at Radio City Music Hall to shake hands with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and join their first professional football team.
Every year, the draft is the first step to the long road leading to NFL regular season for fans all around the country. And let’s face it, for Cleveland fans it’s that and the hope that finally this is the year they will turn their misfortunes around.
Well good thing I’m here to save the day, because for the rest of this column we’re going to pretend that I work in the Cleveland Browns’ front office. Now let’s take a look at the draft board starting with the highly anticipated first round.
I think it will be no surprise to anyone when Roger Goodell steps up the podium and says, “With the first pick of the 2012 NFL draft the Indianapolis Colts select, Andrew Luck, QB from Stanford.” Not only could Luck become a franchise QB but he could have given the Browns something they haven’t ever had … Luck. Anyway, I think it will be even less of a surprise when the Redskins follow suit taking Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, and hand the microphone over to the Vikings.
This is where the draft really starts for the Browns. Matt Kalil seems like a no brainer here as probably the best non-quarterback in the draft, but Morris Claiborne is looking promising in this spot as well for the Vikings. However, I could care less who the Vikings take because the one thing I do know is they aren’t drafting Trent Richardson.
That name should be music to a Browns fan’s ears. By drafting Richardson, the Browns organization can solidify their offense with an everyday running back that has potential to put up a lot of numbers. The offense was clearly the weakness of the Browns season in 2011, and Richardson gives you a solid back around which to build.
The Browns are fortunate to have a second first-round pick in the draft at 22, where I feel Kendall Wright, the WR out of Baylor, is a perfect choice, giving Colt McCoy another option to throw to on offense.
With 11 more picks to go in the draft after the first round, the Browns can really focus on increasing their depth and trying to build up the team for the future. In round two, with pick number 37, I’d take Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State. He’s a solid backup plan if Colt McCoy doesn’t show progress this year. Then I’d suggest staying on the offensive side of the ball at least one more time and pick up a lineman like Mitchell Schwartz, the OT from Cal, in round three with the 67th pick. From there, the Browns should start to look onto the defensive side of things, looking at possibly taking Ron Brooks, CB from LSU, and even Josh Kaddu, OLB out of Oregon, in the later rounds.
Now clearly I’m not really on the Browns’ staff and have no real say in the outcome of their draft decisions, but maybe Pat Shurmur and Mike Holmgren will pick up this issue of The Carroll News as they walk into the draft room today and take my advice.
Otherwise, no one really knows what to expect from the mysterious Browns on draft day 2012.