A week ago I wrote about the scam of the NFL Draft and made a few predictions for my local home team, the Cleveland Browns. Since I wrote the article, I would like to cut and paste the pertinent part and then expound on it....
Italics - Originally Written 4/18/17
So I'm going to be my own amateur draft guy with a Cleveland Browns perspective, just for fun and to make a few predictions.
1. Browns - DE Myles Garrett Texas A & M
I read one draft analysis that said "even the Browns can't screw this up." If they don't pick Garrett, fire everyone again.
5-11. TBD - Mitch Trubisky North Carolina
The Browns have floated the idea that they may want to take Trubisky #1, which means they really like someone else. They are trying to mind trick another team into trading ahead of them so they can take their true target....
12. Browns - QB Patrick Mahomes Texas Tech
In what promises to be an epic PR disaster, the tone-deaf Browns take yet another QB from a Texas school in the first round.
30. Steelers - QB Deshone Kizer Notre Dame
The Steelers take a QB in the first round, becomes their starter for the next 10 years after a year or two waiting for Big Ben to retire.
33. Browns - CB Marlon Humphrey Alabama
Supposedly the Browns are "for sure" taking a corner or safety at #33. So I drew names out of a hat. Really.
52. Browns RB Joe Mixon Oklahoma
"Our analytics said he was the best value on the board."
(Go ahead and google his off-field antics.)
65. Browns WR Josh Reynolds Texas A & M
After drafting 4 wide receivers last year, the Browns inexplicably pick another.
108. Browns OLB Ukeme Eligwe Georgia Southern
The Browns leverage Hue Jackson's experience at the Senior Bowl to draft this Outside Linebacker.
Again, forgetting that they play football in OHIO, the Browns load up on players from the south.
So how did I do? Well, I was a bit off, but not as far off as I expected to be. The reason for this follow up article is that the Browns are being hailed as geniuses in multiple draft articles. One thing the Browns ain't, are geniuses. Basically what they did is load up on the analytics and go from there. If it was as easy as loading stats into a computer, everyone would do it. At that point, 22 year old Johnny Livesathome might as well be the GM. With that being said, let's get started:
1. Browns - DE Myles Garrett Texas A & M
Just before the draft started, the Browns tipped their hand that they were going to pick the college player that was "clearly the best player in the draft," then picked Garrett. Everything else was a smokescreen.
2. Chicago Bears - QB Mitch Trubisky North Carolina
The Bears traded up to make sure they got the "best" (debatable) QB in the draft. Mitch Trubisky then went to a Chicago Bulls game for some nice synergy, and was roundly booed by the fans in Chicago.
10. Kansas City Chiefs - QB Patrick Mahomes Texas Tech
The Chiefs traded up to take Mahomes before the Browns could take him at #12. Local outlets confirmed what I had heard on ESPN Cleveland that Mahomes was the true target at 12.
12. Houston Texans - QB Deshaun Watson Clemson
The Browns traded their pick to the Houston Texans where they promptly chose Clemson QB Deshaun Watson. And here's the crux of the article right here...while listening to ESPN Cleveland live, one of the hosts (I didn't write down which one, sorry), said the Browns didn't want Watson because his SPARQ score was below Mahomes and Trubisky. I didn't know what a SPARQ score was, so it was into the dark, dark abyss of mathematics for the rest of the night....
25. Cleveland Browns - S Jabrill Peppers Michigan
The Browns picked a player who can return punts, kicks, play safety, really anything you ask of him (supposedly). He is described as a "weapon" and an "athlete." I would prefer a "football player."
His SPARQ score was through the roof for a position he only played part time. (6)
29, Cleveland Browns -TE David Njoku Miami
The Browns traded up to pick another "athlete." The next day they inexplicably cut their Pro-Bowl tight end Gary Barnidge.
Njoku's SPARQ score was the second best in the nation for his position. (2)
Second Round. Cleveland Browns - QB DeShone Kizer Notre Dame
The Browns get Kizer. Instead of picking Watson, who led his team to the College Football National Championship, the Browns took the QB that led his team to a 4-8 record, then compared himself to a cross between Tom Brady and Cam Newton.
Kizer's SPARQ rank was about 40 places lower than the other 3 quarterbacks listed above. (57)
Oh, well, the draft's not an exact science. (It is here where I rip my hair out.)
Third Round. Cleveland Browns - DT Larry Ogunjobi UNC Charlotte
Ogunjobi's SPARQ score was the sixth best in the nation for his position. (6)
Fourth Round. Cleveland Browns - CB Howard Wilson Houston
Wilson's SPARQ score was the ninth best in the nation for his position. (9)
Pick #135. Pittsburg Steelers - QB Joshua Dobbs Tennessee
See, I told ya they'd take a quarterback. (Even though I was off by a 100 spots.)
Fifth Round. Cleveland Browns - OT Roderick Johnson Florida State
Johnson's SPARQ score was abysmal. (84)
Sixth Round. Cleveland Browns - DT Caleb Brantley Florida
The most curious pick for the Browns. I predicted the Browns would pick Running Back Joe Mixon in the second round. Instead the Bengals picked Mixon with the same song and dance excuse all teams use....
We did our internal homework....
Every young man deserves a second chance...
We won't tolerate that behavior in the future....
So ignoring their own analytical crutches, the Browns took a second round talent in the sixth round. How did Brantley fall so far? He was accused of knocking out a woman in a fight 2 weeks ago. Basically they just took a DIFFERENT athlete accused of beating a woman up.
Brantley's SPARQ score was below average. (61)
Seventh Round. Cleveland Browns - PK Zane Gonzalez Arizona State
I couldn't find a SPARQ score for kickers, but Gonalez fits the basic analytically cost analysis matrix: Cheap Kicker.
Seventh Round. Cleveland Browns - RB Matthew Dayes North Carolina State
Dayes' SPARQ score was one of the worst in the nation. (178)
Takeaways from Fred.
I never want to hear about SPARQ scores again. The chief strategy officer for the Cleveland Browns, Paul DePodesta, knows more about analytics then I would know in 10 lifetimes. Besides, DePodesta used Sabermetrics to lead the Oakland A's to all those World Series Championships. (Oh wait, that didn't happen either. What DePodesta did was make the A's cost effective. That's a quality that loses its impact in a sport dictated by a salary cap.)
I reserve judgement on DeShone Kizer until after I speak to my Father-in-Law. If you're going to ignore analytics and go by what you see, no one is better at evaluating college football players than him. I'm confident he watched most Notre Dame games last year.
I'm glad I was wrong and they didn't pick a wide receiver.
I'm sorry I was right and they did pick someone with pending criminal charges.
Except for Kizer, the Browns did load up on players from the south. Go ahead and ask Zane Gonazalez, who grew up in Texas and played college ball in Arizona, how much he likes kicking a football, in Cleveland, in December.