New Grantland Blog: Analyzing Cleveland’s top two draft picks

It’s now up over at Grantland:

The Cleveland Browns had an interesting first day of the 2012 NFL draft. On the one hand, Cleveland got two of the draft’s most productive players: Brandon Weeden, quarterback from Oklahoma State, who threw 71 touchdowns over the past two seasons, and Trent Richardson, an absolutely ferocious running back who rushed for more than 1,600 yards as the offensive centerpiece for Alabama’s championship squad.

And yet, we’re starting to see that drafting a running back so high — the Browns traded up to get Richardson — is typically not a great idea. And Weeden? Well, let’s just say that picking a rookie quarterback who is 28 years old is not exactly without risk.

Read the whole thing.

  • Tyler Smith

    How much freedom are you granted in determining which topic to cover for Grantland?

  • smartfootball

    I write about whatever I want. They’ve been great. Why do you ask?

  • Tyler Smith

    Purely curiosity. I’ve been highly impressed by all the content there (especially a lot of your stuff, but in full disclosure I suppose that’s a bit subjective as a long-time read) and was interested to see how much editorial oversight there may have been. Your articles thus far have been topical and very informative and I had to imagine it was because you were allowed to do what you had wanted. Similarly, when the Solid Verbal got picked up on their network, there was zero change as well.

    I guess my follow-up question would be, how does it feel to have an article (like the Luck/Griffin post) on the ESPN frontpage, one of the highest-traffic sites in the world? 

  • smartfootball

    Happy to think someone may enjoy or derive some benefit from the work. I write because I enjoy it and hope to add some value. Each article can only scratch the surface — and obviously football has a very rich history that I can’t even begin to scratch — but the goal is to get people interested, learning more, and engaging with the game. Obviously a good forum to do that. Otherwise, oatmeal tastes the same. 

  • I can’t help but think that Weeden’s age is a benefit, not a demerit. Quarterbacks are famously unproductive before the age of 26 or so, and they hit their athletic peak later than other positions – often not until their early thirties.

    So instead of waiting 3 or 4 years while Weeden matures (on the company dime), the Browns get a quarterback who is entering his peak right now. And it just so happens that his rookie contract will end just as he most likely starts to decline. This is a win-win for Cleveland.

    The problem is, people look at the draft and think “wow, he’s only 21. He could be an All Pro for us for fifteen straight years!” The problem is, nobody is an All Pro for fifteen straight years. There are maybe two dozen players in NFL history who played at a high level for that long a period of time. And even fewer who played that entire career for one team. The goal is not to draft a team full of Payton Mannings, it’s to get guys who can contribute in a vorp-y way for the length of their rookie contract, which is the only time you can guarantee they’ll be on your team. Weeden fits that requirement nicely

  • I never saw any analysis about Weeden that centered on whether or not his college production should be discounted because of his age.  In baseball, of course, the age of a prospect compared to others at his level of play is always considered, but the argued downside of Weeden’s age, from everything I saw, was limited to his shorter pro shelf life.

    Having been both 21 and 28, but not a quarterback, it certainly seems plausible to me that additional emotional intelligence would give Weeden an advantage when reading defenses made up of 21-year-olds, even if he wasn’t gaining experience as a qb in all those intervening years.  With Wienke really the only comparison point, I would be interested in speculation from more knowledgeable people.

  • I have this theory that Holmgren (or the owner ) is the type of person that sees a regular item on sale and so he goes and overspends on something he never would’ve (or should’ve) purchased.

    “The dice have no memory”

    If each time had 1 pick. The richardson pick was good. The weeden pick deserves to have someone fired. Re: the dice comment. (see brady quinn)