Draft Day 2012. The day all Cleveland Browns fans call their “Super Bowl” day. That’s because in past years all they have had to look forward to is the draft. But this year is required to be different than all others.
Browns fans find themselves restless, almost paranoid. That coming from one playoff performance since their return to the league in 1999. This is a drought most older fans haven’t been through before, and younger fans don’t know what it is like to watch winning football. But even worse, for most fans to remember a good and exciting team, they have to hearken back to the days of Art Modell, and that is a painful memory.
So tonight has to be different, team altering. Cleveland has three picks in the first 37 (#4, #22 and #37). For the first time in two years, there is no talk about moving down in the draft. So this could be the most meaningful evening in the new Browns history.
After failing to persuade St. Louis to trade them the number two pick and the rights to Robert Griffin III, Cleveland and coach Pat Shurmur have settled on another season with quarterback Colt McCoy. With that decision comes the fact the Browns have to supply McCoy with weapons he can use. That means a game changing wide receiver, running back and right side offensive lineman.
There is no doubt the Browns want Alabama running back Trent Richardson. He would bring an immediate game breaker to the offense. Suddenly the offense looks better and it takes pressure off McCoy, giving the defense something to think about.
At number 22, with Richardson in tow, the Browns will look at wide receiver. As stated before Cleveland likes Kendall Wright out of Georgia Tech. He has the size and the speed, although many in this corner like Alshon Jeffery out of South Carolina and believe you can get him at 37, even though he has a bigger upside.
If Mike Holmgren and crew get Richardson and Wright, the 37th pick has to be an offensive tackle. This looks to be Brad Massie out of Mississippi State. He has great size, good balance and understands playing on a rough field, something he will do in the NFL North.
There is always the possibility of trades upsetting the apple cart for the Browns. There are rumors St. Louis wants to move into the number three spot and take Richardson. If that happens expect the Browns to trade down out of four. The Vikings are making noise they will take Corner Morris Claiborne out of LSU if they don’t trade the pick.
There is no doubt this draft after the first two picks will be the most exciting in years. The talent is there and deep, even third round picks will be interesting. And the pressure is on the Browns to make this a draft their fans will remember as the night the fortunes of the team changed. This weekend will make or break the Holmgren regime and set Coach Pat Shurmur up for success or failure.
This is the night.