May 6, 2012
Rewind: Grading the Browns 2007 Draft
With all this post-draft analysis bullshit, I'm going to pass on "grading" the Browns draft picks. Yeah, I'm being hypocritical as hell since I graded the Browns' first round selections after round one. Too bad. I will try to write up a little bit on each of the players the Browns selected hopefully this week, but I'll refrain on grading a bunch of players who have never played in the No Fun League before from here on out.
With that in mind, something I feel like I can look back to and "grade" is the Browns 2007 draft, seeing as it has been 5 years since then. Flashback to 2007 for a second. I was a Junior in high school, I had my whole life ahead of me. Boatloads of potential, just like the Browns '07 draft class. Umbrella and Buy U a Drank were fucking fire songs. Superbad was the shit to kids my age. Seth Rogan was funny. Joseph Addai not only looked like he deserved to be on an NFL roster, but he actually looked like he might be good. No, I'm not making this stuff up.
Now jump ahead to today. I'm a degenerate college alcoholic. Brady Quinn and pretty much all of the Browns draft picks are going to see about as much playing time as you and I will this upcoming season. If you listen to fucking T-Pain you're a douche bag. Superbad is old news, and watching it just makes me feel even older. Seth Rogan is anything but funny. Joe Addai will be lucky to beat out the trifecta of Vereen, Ridley, and Danny Woodhead in New England's backfield.
Now let's go pick-by-pick for the Browns and their heralded (at least at the time) 2007 draft class.
#3 Overall: Joe Thomas, OT Wisconsin
Thomas was called one of the best left-tackle prospects to come out in some time, and he immediately lived up to the hype. More than that, he instantly became a fan-favorite for his skipping out on attending the draft in favor of going fishing with his dad on Lake Michigan. It's impossible to argue with anything about this pick, as Thomas is widely considered one of, if not the top left tackle in the game today.
#22 Overall: Brady Quinn, QB Notre Dame
Quinn was in the running for the #3 overall pick, but thank God Phil Savage pulled the trigger on Joe T instead. With this pick, Savage traded his 2007 second rounder and 2008 first rounder for the highly regarded Golden Domer. At the time it looked like a franchise-changing trade/pick. After limited action in his rookie campaign and a promising few games in 2008, Quinn was given the reigns in 2009. He responded with a dismal season. I remember watching Quinn and seeing a QB who was frantic in the pocket--with or without pressure, and one that seemed to check down on about 60% of his drop-backs. Quinn was then traded for Peyton Hillis, so at least he wasn't a complete waste of a pick. This pick would have been a lot easier to swallow if we didn't get rid of that 2008 first rounder. In essence, this pick doomed the following year's draft as well.
#53 Overall: Eric Wright, CB UNLV
Eric Wright was touted as having top talent, but fell because of character issues that led to his transfer from USC to UNLV. In my opinion, Wright was very solid at the corner position from 2007-2009. He took a major step back in 2010, however. Most Browns fans will remember his nightmare season mostly from his disastrous performance against Baltimore's Anquan Boldin. He left as a free agent in 2011 and headed to the Detroit Lions. Wright's cover skills have been mostly solid throughout his career, but his tackling and willingness to be physical when it came to the running game and more physical receivers hurt his game. Still, he wasn't a bad value as a mid-late second round selection.
#140 Overall: Brandon McDonald, CB Memphis
McDonald was not a bad fifth-round selection out of Conference USA Memphis. He showed flashes of potential as a nickle back in his first two seasons. In 2009, however, McDonald struggled and was eventually replaced by Mike Adams. As a fifth-round pick, McDonald was expected to hopefully contribute on special teams, but he was able to exceed those expectations for two seasons. He also enjoyed doing the Soulja Boy in pre-game warmups.
#200 Overall: Melila Purcell, DL Hawaii
Purcell spent his career on the practice squad for the Browns, with the exception of the 2007 season finale against San Francisco. Sure, he was a sixth-round pick, but ideally you want your draft picks to at least make the active roster. Purcell is currently a free agent.
#213 Overall: Chase Pittman, DL LSU
Pittman is another career practice squad player, except he only lasted one season in the NFL.
#234 Overall: Syndric Steptoe, WR Arizona
Steptoe was a tiny wideout (5'9" 170) out of Arizona, but also specialized in kick returns. He spent his rookie season on the practice squad, but was activated in 2008 as a kick returner behind Josh Cribbs. He was subsequently waived after suffering a knee injury in 2009 training camp and, according to Wikipedia, is currently a member of the Edmonton Eskimos. Even with limited playing time, it's nice to see a seventh-rounder not only make the team but also contribute, even if it was in limited playing time.
Overall, Phil Savage had a few worth-while picks, notably Eazy-E and Brandon McDonald. And, of course, the drafting of a consistent All-Pro tackle is an incredible addition to any franchise. However, the trading up for Brady Quinn and his subsequent failure took the Browns back in an enormous way. Thomas is without a doubt the best Browns pick since they returned in 1999, and one of the best Browns draft picks ever. Still, he can't entirely save this draft class. Like I said earlier, I like the value of Wright and McDonald, but they didn't stick around long enough to make a significant long-term impact. Thomas is the one pick that keeps this draft afloat.