The Cleveland Browns acted boldly in the first round of the NFL draft trading up at the beginning of the draft, and making a quarterback change later in the first round.
Moving up one spot to pick Alabama RB Trent Richardson was done to make sure the Browns got the best running back in the draft. Richardson is arguably the best runner Cleveland has had since the days of Kevin Mack and Earnest Byner.
There are critics who say GM Tom Heckert didn’t have to move up, but obviously he was weary of Tampa Bay dealing with the Vikings to get the pick with the idea of getting Richardson.
It says something about it being a good pick that other teams were trying to move up to get him.
Besides, even though the NF L is a passing league, you still can’t win unless you can run the ball and you can stop the run. The Browns have ranked in the lower third in the league in rushing for sometime now.
The bigger surprise was the selection of Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden with the 22nd pick.
There were reports that the Browns were enamored of Weeden, but it was thought Heckert would take him with his second round selection.
That choice tells you all you want to know about how the team felt about Colt McCoy. It is obvious coach Pat Shurmur felt McCoy was responsible for the poor performance of the offense last year.
Now, Cleveland has a passer with a big time arm, so there can be no more excuses as to why the attack doesn’t throw the ball downfield more often.
As for the biggest question mark about Weeden, his age, if he’s going to start next season, it’s not really a factor. The Browns can still get 8-10 years out of him if he avoids injury.
And that’s up to Holmgren and Heckert to make sure he has the proper protection.
It would be surprising if McCoy is still on the roster come Monday morning. The bet here is he will be dealt for a late round draft pick before the end of the draft.
Just remember this, however, St. Louis’ offense had similar yards per attempt numbers when Shurmur was the Rams’ coordinator, and he had Sam Bradford as his quarterback in the second year there.
So, fans will see once and for all if it was McCoy or the Pat Shurmur version of the west coast offense that is the problem.
Shurmur will have a lot of explaining to do if after the first half of the season, the passing offense is still filled with a variety of short throws. West coast offense or not, the passing attack has to be opened up if Cleveland is to win.
Back to Richardson, if he’s as good as advertised, we will provide someone opposing defenses will have to game plan for. When was the last time the Browns could say that?
He also takes pressure off of Weeden, who should have a strong running game to keep the heat off of him.
And you can expect Heckert to draft a wide receiver today, perhaps as early as the 37th overall pick. That would give Weeden a pair of solid wide outs, as we suspect Greg Little will be a much better player than he was as a rookie.
Perhaps it’s the Browns version of “the triplets”.
Hopefully, yesterday started the next era of Browns football. There is no doubt it will continue today with rounds two and three.