Cleveland Browns 2012 NFL Draft Review

Trent Richardson

The Browns filled numerous needs, most of which were on the offensive side of the ball after last year’s defensive-heavy draft. Trent Richardson was the top running back coming out of the draft since Adrian Peterson in 2007. He has the talent to start early and take the pressure off of quarterback front runner Brandon Weeden, the 22nd pick in the first round. Mitchell Schwartz will help both the aforementioned draft choices by solidifying the right tackle position. He was drafted at pick 37 in the second round after a stellar career at California. Trent Richardson was running with the first unit during OTAs to the surprise of no one. Some thought he was the most complete player in the draft. A mature and hard worker, he should provide the Browns with an immediate game changer. Experienced in a pro style offense, the talented runner has vision, strength, power, balance, and desire – the total package of running, blocking and catching the ball. He finishes his runs with body lean and strength. A feature back, he gets stronger with more carries. Brandon Weeden struggled taking a snap in OTAs one day, but once he got in the rhythm it was clear why he was selected in the first round. Age brings maturity, and the 28- year old pocket passer is poised and clutch in his play. A natural passer with good velocity and accuracy, he has excellent anticipation and ball placement. Weeden is a student of the game and a good decision maker. He is a competitor with good intelligence. Mitchell Schwartz plays at right tackle and ultimately will be the key to Richardson’s success as a runner in Cleveland. He flew below the radar prior to the Senior Bowl where he was impressive in practice and the game. The physical people mover is competitive and works to finish his blocks. He uses his hands well to control and steer a pass rusher. In his career he started 51 games, 16 on the right side. A technique conscious lineman, he plays with a good power base. John Hughes is penciled in at left defensive tackle after Phil Taylor tore a pectoral muscle lifting weights. He had a strong senior year and had a good pro day, benching 225 pounds 29 times. A surprise pick in the third round by many, he will get his chance early and often to see if he was a reach pick. Travis Benjamin was drafted to add speed to the receiving corps. He is explosive and will stretch the deep zones so Greg Little and Mohamed Massaquoi can work underneath. He will also get a look as a return specialist. James-Michael Johnson could be a blessing in disguise with the suspension of Scott Fujita due to the “Bounty-Gate” scandal. Johnson is smooth, athletic, and quick in his play. He has good instincts, is physical tackle to tackle, and fills any leakage. Johnson will back up D’Qwell Jackson once Fujita returns. Ryan Miller will compete with left guard Jason Pinkston for the starting position. A four year starter who played guard for the Buffs, he is a very good but underrated athlete who can get push in the running game and anchor a bull rush as a pass protector. He is tall for a guard but works to bend his knees. He is effective for a big man to pull and wall off the linebacker on the second level. Emmanuel Acho led the Longhorns with 131 tackles in his active play. He has good initial read and react. He is aggressive like his brother Sam who earned his way into a starting position in Arizona. Instinctive and reactive as a player, he is tough to block and can stun and separate from a blocker. Billy Winn will back up Ahtyba Rubin but will also compete with Hughes at left defensive tackle. Athletic and quick in his play, he has experience at both inside at tackle or outside as a defensive end. Winn is explosive when assigned to a gap and plays with violent hand quickness. He can leverage the blocker back and is a power player who plays on his feet. Trevin Wade will compete for the nickel corner in the sub package as well as on special teams’ coverage positions. He has talent with good ball reactions and skills. He plays fast but needs to improve his tackling strength. Brad Smelley will back up Owen Marecic at fullback and be an H-back utility player for the Browns. He is tough enough and physical but is undersized. He catches the ball well. GRADE: ABOVE AVERAGE.

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