A few sports media outlets graded the Cleveland Browns 2020 NFL Draft tougher than others, but that’s nothing a ‘parent-teacher’ conference can’t resolve.
As a former ‘A’ student, it’s tough to watch the Cleveland Browns take a ‘lousy B’ on their 2020 Draft. A ‘B’ is the overall grade given to the Browns by a few media outlets (Sports Illustrated: B+, CBS Sports: B-, Yahoo Sports: B+) for the team’s selections in the recent NFL Draft.
And if the Browns had parents, they might be a wee bit disappointed with that grade.
“You had ALL that time to study,” they’d scold, “and you could only manage a ‘B’? Why do we bother paying so much money for that fancy front office if you’re not even going to apply yourself?”
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To which the Browns would stamp their foot and say, “My draft picks WERE excellent. Those teachers just HATE me!”
And upon closer inspection, the ‘kid’ is probably right – Browns new general manager Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski may have indeed aced the 2020 draft after all.
If you missed the draft last weekend, here are the players the Browns front office selected, with grades by CBS Sports:
- Round 1, No. 10 overall: OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama – B
- Round 2, No. 44 overall*: S Grant Delpit, LSU – A-
- Round 3, No 88 overall*: DL Jordan Elliott, Missouri – A-
- Round 3, No. 97 overall*^: LB Jacob Phillips, LSU – B-
- Round 4, No. 115 overall: TE Harrison Bryant, Florida Atlantic – A
- Round 5, No. 160 overall*: C Nick Harris, Washington – B-
- Round 6, No. 187 overall*: WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, Michigan – A-
* Acquired via trade
^ Compensatory pick
That’s four A’s and three B’s, with two of those B’s being minuses. Say what? If that were my child’s report card, here’s how I’d attempt to talk this particular teacher into improving some of those lower grades.
First, I’d confront ‘teach’ on the B for Jedrick Wills.
“Seriously? Wills is an A+ athlete with the size, speed and agility to be an instant playmaker in the NFL.”
The teacher would scramble through their notebook and squint at some circled item. “Well, I gave that pick a ‘B’ because Wills is technically a ‘right tackle’ and the Browns need a blindside tackle.”
Ugh. “Sir, did you consider the fact that the quarterback Wills was protecting in college was left-handed, so he was, in fact, a successful blindside tackle?”
“Um…no I did not. Perhaps we can move that up to an A-.”
“Oh, come on, Wills’ new line coach for the Browns will be Bill Callahan, who did the exact same transition successfully for the Dallas Cowboys’ Tyron Smith, one of the best left tackles in the game.”
“Fine. I’ll change it to an A. Is there anything else I can help you with?”
“Well, yeah. Why does the Jacob Phillips pick deserve a B-?”
Immediately, the teacher blurts out, “I thought a better answer for linebacker in Round 3 was Malik Harrison.”
“What? Seriously? But Phillips is faster, stronger and hits like a freight train, and…wait a minute. Where did you go to college?”
The teacher stands to attention.
“THE Ohio State University!!!”
Trying not to laugh, “Okay, but all due respect, the Browns can’t just draft Harrison because he’s a Buckeye. Doesn’t work that way.”
“FINE. I’ll change the Phillips grade to an A-. Anything else?”
“Well, yeah. Why on earth would you give the Nick Harris pick a B-?”
The teacher fumbles through his notebook and pulls out a yellow post-it note.
“Because…” he manages to get his glasses onto his nose, “because Harris is a center and the Browns have an excellent center but need a guard.” He smiles.
This is where it takes a tremendous amount of patience not to scream:
HARRIS PLAYED GUARD HIS FIRST TWO SEASONS AT WASHINGTON AND CENTER HIS SECOND TWO, SO HE CAN ACTUALLY PLAY BOTH POSITIONS!!!!
Instead, breathe in deeply and say, “You see, Harris can play both center and guard, so he could give the Browns offensive line more depth than a player who only knows one of those positions.”
“FINE. A-. ANYTHING ELSE?”
Hm. Don’t say it. It’s just going to tick him off. Ugh, have to.
“Yeah, just so you know, Pro Football Focus and Sporting News and a bunch of other big name outlets gave the Browns 2020 Draft an A grade or better, so whaddya think of that?”
The teacher starts to respond, then immediately slumps to his seat, opens the bottom drawer of his desk and pulls out a bottle of Jack along with two plastic cafeteria cups. He pours the shots, slides one over and downs his double.
“PFF gave the Browns’ draft an A?”
“Yup. A+, actually. Loved what the team did, top to bottom.”
Without a word, the teacher grabs the Browns’ report card he made out and scribbles an A+ at the top, then circles it with a flourish.
“Sorry,” he whispers. “Old habits die hard. Go Browns.”
Berry and Stefanski aced the 2020 offseason, especially given it was their first one ever as a duo in front of the class. Now it’s up to the coaches and players to turn all this talent into wins. Be nice to make the postseason honor roll sometime this century. This Browns A+ roster has what it takes to earn that distinction.