The Browns had a very eventful 2010 Draft, remaining active in trying to get players that would address specific, and glaring, needs. I’d say that was done well, considering how many needs this team actually has. Only time will tell how these players pan out in the league, but here are the initial grades for the Browns’ 2010 NFL Draft:
CB Joe Haden, Florida (1st round, 7th overall): It’s hard to argue with a pick that addresses the Browns’ secondary, an area of great concern heading into this off-season. If safety Eric Berry had been available here, there is little doubt that the Browns would have taken him, but Haden will hopefully add some depth to a position the Browns are not used to seeing depth at. He is an athletic, physical player and has the capabilities of making an immediate impact. It will be tough to keep him off the field, as he challenges for a starting job. Grade: B+
S T.J. Ward, Oregon (2nd round, 38th overall): Some think that he would have been a higher pick if he had been healthy the entire season. Nevertheless, he had a very productive senior season for the Ducks, and is known for being an aggressive player, even if he is occasionally a bit overaggressive. Taylor Mays was the safety in the Pac-10 that got the most attention, but Ward is more than capable of contributing right away. He will probably have to, given the state of the safety position in Cleveland. Grade: B -
RB Montario Hardesty, Tennessee (2nd round, 59th overall): When the Browns traded back into the second round, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the team would draft quarterback Colt McCoy. Instead, the Browns selected Hardesty, a strong running back who runs hard and could be that bruising presence that is needed in the AFC North. Hardesty comes with huge durability concerns, though, as he was bothered by knee, leg, and ankle problems for the majority of his career, making this a bit of a reach. Grade: C+
QB Colt McCoy, Texas (3rd round, 85th overall): When the Browns traded away their first pick in the third round, I figured there was no way McCoy would fall to Cleveland at #85. As the Texas quarterback continued to slide, that thought turned into, “He could actually fall…wait a second, he is going to fall to the Browns.” Despite the original plans to draft defensive tackle Corey Peters with this pick, Cleveland fans should be thanking president Mike Holmgren for pulling rank and taking McCoy here. It would have been a travesty to once again pass him up, as he became a huge value pick by falling so far. I understand not taking him early in the second round, but this was a blessing to the Browns, and they were smart to capitalize on it. This is a good pick no matter how McCoy’s NFL career pans out. Grade: A
OG Shawn Lauvao, Arizona State (3rd round, 92nd overall): Lauvao brings depth to the offensive line, but his major asset is his versatility and durability (he ended his collegiate career with 33 consecutive starts). While he can play on either the left or right side of the line, the guard position will be where he makes the biggest impact. Lauvao is a strong lineman that projects to be an eventual starter, especially on the shaky right side of the Browns’ offensive line. Grade: B
S Larry Asante, Nebraska (5th round, 160th overall): Asante is considered a good open-field tackler and while he is strong in coverage, one of his biggest weaknesses is how aggressive he can be. Aggressiveness is a fine line that defensive backs walk on, and it is important that players like Asante don’t turn it into over-aggressiveness. Asante will be in the mix at the safety position, but his biggest contribution could come on special teams. Grade: B
WR Carlton Mitchell, South Florida (6th round, 177th overall): Some thought that Mitchell had the potential to be a second or third-rounder, but he fell to the Browns in the sixth round. He is 6-4, 212 pounds, making him a worthwhile pick this late in the draft. He is the school’s all-time leading receiver with 1,648 yards, and after finishing seventh among receivers in the 40-yard dash (4.42), Mitchell could make an impact on a very thin receiving corps. Wide receiver was a position that had to be addressed, and some would argue it should have happened sooner, but Mitchell is a good pick here. Grade: B+
DE Clifton Geathers, South Carolina (6th round, 186th overall): Clayton, one of our writers here at DPD, had a lot of good things to say about Geathers, saying “Geathers has massive size and strength…His bull rush off the snap is so powerful that very few offensive linemen could handle him at college. He frequently knocked more than one offensive tackle into the pocket, collapsing space onto the opposing quarterback.” While Geathers is a raw talent, leaving South Carolina after his junior season, there is plenty of upside for this young defensive end. He will be more than motivated, as he is attempting to become the fourth member of his family to play as a defensive lineman in the NFL.
Overall Draft Grade: B – At first glance, this was a very solid draft by the Cleveland Browns. The team addressed many of its needs and managed to get Colt McCoy much later than anyone would have thought possible. Great teams are built through the draft and this will go down as a particularly important one, as it signifies the start of the Holmgren-Heckert era. Will this draft class help turn the Browns into a contender in a few years? For now, that remains a question, but one thing is for sure: Browns fans can’t wait to find out.