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News » Take your pick: Lots to like, lots to question

Take your pick: Lots to like, lots to question

Take your pick: Lots to like, lots to question
What I liked about the Browns' draft day:

1. They didn't trade Brady Quinn. They didn't draft Mark Sanchez. They didn't hand the team over to a guy from USC who has started only 16 games and will probably need a year or two as a backup to learn the pro game. While some compare Sanchez to fellow USC quarterback Matt Cassel, keep in mind that Cassel was a backup for three years, throwing a grand total of 41 passes before taking over as the starter for the injured Tom Brady at New England last season.

2. Quinn has been a backup for two years. It is time to find out about him. I believe the Browns know this, even if their public stance is that there will be an open competition between Derek Anderson and Quinn.

3. I liked the deal with the Jets because it produced two starters in defensive end Kenyon Coleman and Abram Elam, a safety from Kent State. They had holes at both spots. Then they used their first-rounder, what became the 21st pick, on center Alex Mack. The Browns really need a center, as Hank Fraley struggled last year. One executive told me that Mack could be a starter in the league for 10 years - and, hopefully, keep some of those huge nose tackles away from the quarterback.

4. I like Brian Robiskie as a receiver. My top receiver for the Browns was Hakeem Nicks, who was picked by the Giants at No. 29. I hoped they were selecting Nicks for the Browns as part of a Braylon Edwards deal. Guess not. So the Browns turned to Robiskie, a possession receiver. He is from a Football family (Terry, his father is a former Browns coach). He runs patterns well, he catches the ball in traffic and is not afraid to go over the middle.

5. Coach Eric Mangini said Coleman is quot;stoutquot; against the run, certainly a need for the Browns . They also need depth on the line. I love Robaire Smith, but he is coming off an Achilles' injury. It's good the Browns have Shaun Smith, Robaire Smith, Corey Williams and Shaun Rogers to play on the line. Second-year nose tackle Ahtyba Rubin also is in the picture. Now, we'll see if Mangini and coordinator Rob Ryan can prevent the defense from being run over.

6. After losing Sean Jones to the Eagles via Free Agency, they needed a safety. Former GM Phil Savage had a strong interest in Elam. The current regime offered him a contract, which the Jets matched. Elam should help a lot.

7. It's clear the Browns didn't want players with questionable attitudes. Mack won the Draddy Trophy, the academic Heisman. Robiskie was a finalist for the same award. Second-round receiver Mohamed Massaquoi of Georgia already has his psychology degree, and won the team's True Grit award. Hawaii linebacker/defense end David Veikune was a three-time All-Academic selection in the Western Athletic Conference.

8. In his career, Robiskie caught 24 TD passes, fourth-best in OSU history. In his last two seasons as a starter, 18 of his 97 catches were for TDs. That tells you that he knows how to hang on the ball in the end zone with defenders watching closely.

9. They added four starters in Mack (center), Robiskie (receiver), Coleman (defensive end) and Elam (safety) via trades and picks. That's a pretty good start.

10. Mangini said Elam is a playmaker, and the Browns have needed a safety to do that for years.

10 things that make me wonder . . .

1. I assumed the Browns would grab Rey Maualuga when he was available at No. 36. Then again, I assumed the linebacker from USC would be gone by the middle of the first round. Seeing all these teams pass on Maualuga, I wondered if there is something wrong with him. It seemed his run-stopping talent would fit the Browns , even if some scouts were right about him not being able to cover in passing situations. This team does need to do a better job against the run. Maualuga went to the Bengals at No. 38.

2. I wonder if Robiskie was taken too high at No. 36, and then why the Browns followed it up with picking another receiver in Massaquoi at No. 50. Unless they are trading Edwards later, it just seems odd to pick two receivers when there are so many other needs - especially on defense.

3. Massaquoi actually was not the prime receiver for Matt Stafford at Georgia. It was freshman A.J. Green, who was more of a big-play guy than was Massaquoi. Massaquoi had one of his best games when it meant the most - 11 catches and three TDs against rival Georgia Tech. But I still wonder about taking both Robiskie and Massaquoi in the second round. Some scouts had both of them as third-round players.

4. The Browns need a cornerback with some size to help out Brandon McDonald and Eric Wright. So far, they have not found that guy in Free Agency or the draft. I thought they may have been better off grabbing 6-foot-3 Sean Smith, the cornerback who was the 62nd pick by Miami.

5. I also wonder about Veikune at No. 52. He is a defensive end from Hawaii who has to switch to linebacker. How he performs for the Browns will tell you about the team's scouting staff. General Manager George Kokinis and Mangini just love this guy, both saying, quot;He has a big-time motor.quot; He seems a bit of a reach that high. Some scouts believe he is mostly a special-teams player, at least early in his pro career. The Browns took a big swing here, and let's see if they connect. In a sense, he is their biggest gamble of the draft.

6. It's nice to add a pair of sixth-rounders (Nos. 191 and 195), but rarely do picks that low yield much. Not sure how much the Browns gained by trading down twice for those, other than saving a few bucks by getting Mack at No. 21 instead of at No. 17 - and perhaps finding some special- teams players. No big objection to this, just something that crossed my mind.

WHAT I THINK: It still appears Edwards may be traded, or why draft two receivers? Why not add to the defense if you know you have Edwards back for another year? As for the Browns claiming there were no serious trade talks about Edwards, it's understandable why they'd claim that - he is still a Brown. But I think we haven't heard the last of Edwards heading elsewhere before the season opens.

To reach Terry Pluto: terrypluto2003@yahoo.com,


Previous columns online: cleveland.com/columns

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 28, 2009

Kevin McMahan Name: Kevin McMahan
Position: WR
Age: 25
Experience: 1 years
College: Maine
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