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Cleveland Browns' impressive NFL draft has me talking to myself – Terry Pluto



BEREA, Ohio – Talking to myself about the Cleveland Browns draft:

QUESTION: How to make a team when a team takes only one player on offense?

ANSWER: You mean the Browns selecting Southeast Missouri State tackle Drew Forbes in the sixth round? But how about Oklahoma kicker Austin Seibert in the fifth round?

Q: OK, All count Seibert as 1/2 a player on offense.

A: Because the Browns made their big moves on offense in the 2018 draft (Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb), free agency (several linemen) and a huge trade for receiver Odell Beckham Jr. In the final eight games of 201

8, the Browns had a top 10 offense in categories with Freddie Kitchens calling the plays

 BYU linebacker Sione Takitaki was a special find for Brown's Assistant General Manager Eliot Wolf. (AP Photo / Darron Cummings)

AP

BYU linebacker Sione Takitaki was a special find for Brown's Assistant General Manager Eliot Wolf. (AP Photo / Darron Cummings)

Q: So what about the draft?

A: I wanted linebackers and they took linebackers. I knew nothing about Sione Takitaki, but Browns (especially assistant GM Eliot Wolf) love the linebacker from BYU. That's a pure scouting pick in the third round. Most experts had Takitaki going in the fourth round or lower.

Q: But the Browns took him in the third round – why?

A: "If you like somebody, go get them," is how Browns Scouting Director Steve Malin explained the pick of Takitaki. Malin also called Takitaki "a tough son of a gun."

Q: What else?

A: Kitchens said of Takitaki: "Has a relentless desire to get to the ball … Does not miss many tackles. ”

Q: Didn't the Browns linebackers miss a lot of tackles?

A: Exactly. Joe Schobert was No. 1 (24 missed tackles in 2018) and Jamie Collins was No. 4 (20 missed), according to Profootballfocus.com

Q: What do you mean by a pure scouting pick?

A: Not many experts are high on Takitaki – although ESPN's Mel Kiper was an exception having projected him going to Baltimore in the third round. Profootballfocus.com (PFF) rated him their No. 11 linebacker, well below a third-rounder.

Q: The browns don't use analytics?

A: Yes, they do. They aren't ruled by it. For example, PFF rated Greedy Williams as the No. 2 cornerback in draft with lots of numbers to back it up. I heard the Browns had a first-round grade on him. Their scout eyes matched the numbers and they were overjoyed to make a small trade in the second round to grab the LSU product with the No. 46 pick.

Q: Do you think that the browns seem too few guys "too high?"

A: I heard that last year. Hardly anyone projected Baker Mayfield as the No. 1 pick. Or Denzel Ward as the No. 4 pick. Or Nick Chubb in the second round. All worked out very well. It's true they were looking for second-rounder Austin Corbett higher than expected

 Alabama linebacker Mack Wilson thought he'd be picked in the second round. He waited until the fifth round for the Browns to take him. (AP Photo / Butch Dill)

AP

Alabama linebacker Mack Wilson thought he'd be picked in the second round. He waited until the fifth round for the Browns to take him. (AP Photo / Butch Dill)

Q: What does it mean?

A: It is not a perfect front office. It's a front office worthy of trust. Just as they took Mack Wilson in the fifth round. PFF ranked Wilson no. 11 linebacker, "With his 5-star pedigree, in his last two years with the Crimson Tide Wilson earned a sub 72.0 overall grade."

A: Exactly. The Browns took him in the fifth round. They have a lot of Alabama connections. Kitchens played at Alabama. He was on the staff of Alabama coach Nick Saban when both were at LSU in 2000. The Browns just hired Tosh Lupoi as defensive line coach. He was Saban's defensive coordinator at Alabama in 2018. They think they can squeeze out more of Wilson than he showed in 2018.

Q: Is that why you wrote "loved" the pick of Wilson? possible I was euphoric about Alabama linebacker with a national reputation. I also thought the Browns did their homework, and Wilson is easily worth a fifth-round pick.

Q: Why do you like the draft?

A: The Browns set to add linebackers who have speed and can hopefully make an impact. They took Wilson and Takitaki. They needed a big time cornerback. Williams should be that guy. They wanted more speed in the secondary and picked up safety Sheldrick Redwine

Q: Why a kicker in the fifth round?

A: I wondered the same thing. It's obvious that all the praise the Brown's gift kicker Greg Joseph after the season was perhaps a bit hollow. They did not wait until the sixth or seventh round to take Seibert, they did it in the fifth round.

Q: What did Kitchens say about the draft

A: He was talking about some players (Williams, Wilson) who believed they should have been picked higher: "I like the fact we drafted some guys who think they have something to try."

Q: Is this the hype around the Browns merited?

A: Why not? They added a lot of talent. They have a strong front office and a terrific young quarterback. Can't wait to see how it plays out.


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