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How will the Browns’ acquisition of Brown affect their draft?

It was believed that the Browns would target a cornerback such as Florida’s Joe Haden with the No. 7 overall pick in this month’s draft. But that was before the team acquired Sheldon Brown from the Eagles on Friday.

Along with Brown, Cleveland also acquired linebacker Chris Gocong from Philadelphia in exchange for linebacker Alex Hall, plus a fourth-round pick and a fifth-rounder. Gocong is a solid fit for the Browns’ 3-4 defense and will likely start opposite Matt Roth on the outside.

But the more intriguing player in this trade is Brown, because he signifies that Cleveland probably won’t draft a cornerback at No. 7. Brown is 31 years old, but he’s still playing at a high level and the Browns restructured his contract, which now goes through 2012. He’ll pair up with Eric Wright to form a now above average cornerback tandem in Cleveland.

Team president Mike Holmgren is probably hoping/banking on Tennessee’s Eric Berry slips to No. 7, seeing as how safety is now the Browns’ biggest need. But will Berry be there? Multiple teams that pick ahead of the Browns (including the Buccaneers and Seahawks) have been linked to Berry in mock drafts, although that means nothing at this point. Either way, Holmgren knew that he had to address his need at cornerback and may have felt that Haden would have been a reach at No. 7. If Berry falls to Cleveland in the first round, then Holmgren would have done very well in addressing the Browns’ defensive needs.


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Report: Browns interested in Colt McCoy

ESPN’s Chris Mortesen is reporting that the Browns have genuine interest in quarterback Colt McCoy and could use their second round pick on the Texas product, or even package picks to move into the bottom of the first round.

So far this offseason, GM Mike Holmgren has done some major reconstructive surgery on Cleveland’s quarterback position. He released Derek Anderson, traded for Seneca Wallace, signed Jake Delhomme and dealt Brady Quinn to the Broncos. But anyone with 20/20 vision or a strong pair of prescription eyeglasses can see that Wallace and Delhomme aren’t the answer. Wallace is fine in small doses, but struggles to carry a team on a full-time basis and Delhomme has been a disaster since the 2008 Divisional Round playoffs. I know that some Browns fans are optimistic that Delhomme will return to his 2007 form, but watch him orchestrate an offense without Steve Smith, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart at his disposal – and then evaluate how optimistic you are.

That said, I don’t think McCoy is the answer for the Browns. He’s a class act all the way and he did some tremendous things at UT, but there’s no telling what kind of shape his shoulder is in. He recently told NFL.com’s Gil Brandt that he’s 100% and will be able to throw at the Longhorns’ Pro Day on March 29, but that will be the first time he throws since the BCS title game. Even if he does throw well and his shoulder has healed, there are still question marks surrounding his arm strength and his unfamiliarity with a pro style offense.

Of course, the one thing McCoy has never been criticized about is his accuracy, which is vital for quarterbacks running the West Coast Offense. Maybe Holmgren believes McCoy is the right fit for his system and also likes the QB’s athleticism. Still, McCoy succumbed to Nebraska’s immense defensive line pressure in the Big 12 title game last season, raising questions about whether or not he could survive in the NFL.

I guess what I’m ultimately saying is that I’m not completely sold on McCoy as a prospect. I loved watching him play at Texas and I think he can be successful because he’s an incredibly hard worker with a great head on his shoulders. But will he be successful? As a starter, I’m not entirely sure.


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Are the Browns clearing a path for John Fox?

There are several intriguing rumors floating around the NFL blogosphere about John Fox’s future. And one of those rumors has the current Carolina front man heading to Cleveland next year in order to reunite with quarterback Jake Delhomme, whom the Browns recently signed to a two-year deal.

There are several interesting connections between Fox and the Browns, which were all highlighted by ESPN’s Adam Schefter:

“Think about this: Panthers coach John Fox is a huge Delhomme supporter. Browns general manager Tom Heckert is an equally big supporter of Fox. Fox’s contract is up after this season. Agent Bob Lamonte represents Heckert, Fox and Browns president Mike Holmgren. Cleveland gave Delhomme a two-year deal, long enough to carry him over until the time when Fox will become free. I’m not saying, I’m just saying …”

It’s not a crazy notion. Holmgren is already in the process of tearing down the Browns’ roster and rebuilding it from scratch. Just based on some of the moves that Holmgren has made, if I were Mangini I wouldn’t get the walls in my office re-painted quite yet, because there’s a good chance he’ll be gone in 2011. Whether or not Fox replaces him is another question, but as Schefter points out – it’s certainly a possibility.

Considering the success Fox has had in Carolina, this news should have a lot of Browns fans excited. Tempered, but it excited. Personally, I think he’s a little overrated myself (the Panthers have been the model of inconsistency under him during his tenure and they never shy away from failing to live up to expectations), but he’s a better football coach than Mangini is. Fox gets the most out of his players on Sundays and he relates well to them, which is why they always play hard for him. I know this would be a ways down the road, but if Holmgren were to hire Fox, he’d be giving Cleveland the competent coach the team has needed for years.


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Florida CB Haden runs 4.4 forty at Pro Day

After he ran the 40-yard dash in the 4.57-4.60 range at the scouting combine, Florida cornerback Joe Haden rebounded with a solid showing at his Pro Day, clocking a time in the mid-4.4 range according to TFY Draft Insider.

There were some pundits that thought Haden would slip in the first round after his showing at the combine, but he was dealing with a lower back sprain that no doubt factored into his slow forty time. But he apparently ran on sloppy conditions at his Pro Day and proved to scouts that he has more than enough speed to be a starting caliber corner at the next level.

In my Mock 1.0, I have Cleveland taking Haden with the No. 8 overall pick, but I think his draft status will inevitably be tied to Tennessee safety Eric Berry. The Browns have major secondary needs and if Berry falls to No. 8, I don’t think he’ll get past Cleveland. If that happens, then Haden will likely fall out of the top 10 but won’t get past the 49ers at No. 14.

If Berry is selected before then (I have him going No. 6 to the Seahawks), I believe the Browns will take Haden at No. 7 and pair him with Eric Wright, whom they believe can develop into a top 10 corner. Either way, I envision Cleveland investing their first round pick on its secondary this April.


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Holmgren officially makes first horrible decision with Cleveland

Jake Delhomme must have comprising photos of Mike Holmgren, because that’s the only logical explanation as to why the Browns are set to pay the former Panther QB $7 million in 2010.

I’m trying to give Holmgren the benefit of the doubt in his first season with the Browns, even though some of the decisions thus far have been a little head scratching. But this latest move is making it awfully hard for me to do that. There’s absolutely no reason to give a washed up Jake Delhomme $7 million, because chances are high that no other team would have. This kind of financial commitment signals that Holmgren wants Delhomme to be his starter in 2010, which is absolutely ludicrous.

Delhomme was so bad last year that he made guys like Kerry Collins, Shaun Hill and whatever puss the Bills trotted onto the field look good. While he did turn in good efforts against the Falcons (twice) and Redskins, the rest of Delhomme’s season was highly forgettable. His skills have obviously deteriorated and his 8:18 touchdown to interception ratio proves that his decision-making isn’t quite up to par these days either. He was absolutely brutal against the Eagles in the opener and in his last game as a starter against the Jets. In fact, he was so bad against New York that most people figured that he had taken his last snap as a regular starter in the NFL. Most people outside of Holmgren, that is.

I’m willing to bet that Seneca Wallace beats out Delhomme in preseason and becomes the Browns’ starting quarterback for 2010. And if that happens, then Holmgren’s decision to give Delhomme $7 mil will look even worse. I just don’t get it. I don’t get what Holmgren saw in Delhomme last year that made him believe that he could be his starting quarterback in 2010. The only thing I can think of is that Holmgren is trying to submarine Eric Mangini so that he can get rid of him after 2010. Because there’s no way Mangini will succeed if Delhomme winds up being the starter.

Oh, and Rick Smith has my vote for 2010 Agent of the Year. Delhomme will make $19.7 million this season, which is so unbelievable that I might pass out on my keyboard before I complete this sentenohowg1hglwerkgh.gr…#


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