Friday, April 24, 2015

Predictions for the 2015 NFL Draft

   The NFL Draft is fun because it is wacky and unpredictable.  I whiffed completely on most predictions I made in 2014 starting with saying the Browns would NOT draft Johnny Manziel due to Banner (a big advocate of JFB) being fired.  Nevertheless I'm willing to make predictions again this year.  

1. Winston and Mariota will go 1-2 this year because the league is completely nuts about quarterbacks.  Neither one is really that attractive as a draft pick and in fact to me Winston should be sent to the second round because of his off-the-field issues.   

Marcus Mariota's reaction upon hearing that the Browns will not draft him. 

2.  Philadelphia will trade a boatload of picks to the Titans for the privilege of signing Marcus Mariota. It's obvious that he is more valuable to a team coached by the guy who recruited Marcus for Oregon.   Most of those picks might be 2016 picks, and the Titans might use those picks to trade back in to the later rounds of 2015.   Philly will seek to deal spare qbs Mark Sanchez and Sam Bradford to obtain additional picks in 2015 also.

3.  The Browns number one pick will be a 300 pounder, maybe Danny Shelton a Nose Tackle from Washington, but lately I have started to like Malcolm Brown from Texas, who is not as slow as Shelton.  Man, we need some help there. Most of the offseason news has been about not having the right quarterback, but the greatest chance for improvement is run defense.  
Brett Hundley will play in the NFL but so will  Malcolm Brown!

3.  The Browns will draft a qb, but not in the first round.   National media thinks we are desperate for a quarterback but this is not so.  We still have not figured out whether Manziel can play, but in the meantime we have respectable hedges in Josh McCown, Thad Lewis,  and Connor Shaw. Nothing wrong with these players, and just as Charlie Batch compiled a winning record for the Steelers in a long career, so might one of these guys as a backup for the Browns.   Anyway, I don't think they will give up on Manziel, but they will bring in some honest competition.  My sleeper qb pick is Sean Mannion, who is not fast but has great accuracy and arm strength.   I believe long term he will have a better career than Jameis Winston without the off the field nonsense. I think Farmer prefers a more mobile guy, however.   

4.  The Browns will also sign an undrafted free agent who is eligible for the Practice Squad.  I think the Browns will try to send Connor Shaw to the Practice Squad in 2015, but he may not clear waivers.  If so, they will need another guy.   Hence they just about have to pick up a UFA qb.  It's a battle for fourth string.   

5.  The Browns will draft an Offensive Lineman, either in a high round as a starter or a late round to add depth.  When Alex Mack went down the entire OL fell apart and nobody wants that to happen again.  Moving Joel Bitonio to Right Tackle is an option, but I think they would rather draft a big RT and slide Mitchell Schwartz to guard.   John Greco will be the new backup center/guard.  

6.  The Browns may draft a wr in a late round, but they are not desperate for WR this year.  WRs Andrew Hawkins, Taylor Gabriel and Miles Austin were above average last year, with Josh Gordon only a shadow of his former self.  The guy we are really trying to replace is Austin, and we have upgraded that position with Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline. The Browns have depth at that position but no superstars. 

7.   The Browns will consolidate some picks by trading up a few times, or else will trade 2015 picks for 2016 picks.  The have enough depth that they won't be able to carry 10 guys from the draft.  Six is a more reasonable number, particularly if we want to try to hit on undrafted free agents again this year (remember we got three part time starters that way, in Isaiah Crowell, K'Waum Williams and Taylor Gabriel).  

8.  Fans will cry that they didn't get a great new quarterback and speed demon wide receiver, but the team will come away much improved.     

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