Did The Cleveland Browns Draft Brian Robiskie Too High?
The Cleveland Browns made a splash on draft day last month when they traded away the No. 5 overall pick to the New York Jets in return for the Jets' picks in the first two rounds as well as defensive end Kenyon Coleman, quarterback Brett Ratliff and defensive back Abram Elam.
After the Browns took California center Alex Mack with their first-round selection, with its next pick, Cleveland made a feel-good selection in grabbing Ohio State wide receiver Brian Robiskie.
After playing his prep ball in the Cleveland suburb of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, the 6'3", 199-pound Robiskie broke out during his junior year of college and led the Buckeyes in catches, receiving touchdowns and receiving yards his final two seasons in Columbus.
He closed his collegiate career with 127 receptions for 1,886 yards and 24 receiving touchdowns, which ranks him fourth on Ohio State's all-time list behind David Boston, Cris Carter and Santonio Holmes.
But did the Browns select Robiskie too early due to his local ties?
ESPN.com had Robiskie rated as the 10th-best prospect at his position and 72nd overall. So why did Robiskie become just the sixth wide receiver drafted in a class seemingly loaded with talent at that position?
Robiskie was the fifth Ohio State receiver picked in the first two rounds of the draft since 2004, and its no secret that despite playing in Jim Tressel's run-first offense, the Buckeyes consistently turn out NFL-ready wide receivers. The most recent examples are Anthony Gonzalez and Holmes, as both have far exceeded what was considered to be their potential on draft day.
Another feather in Robiskie's cap is that he grew up under the tutelage of his father Brian Robiskie, a five-year NFL veteran, who was twice an interim NFL head coach—in Cleveland and Washington—and is currently the Atlanta Falcons' wide receivers coach. The son is not only well-suited for the NFL game, he grew up surrounded by it and even had a stint as a Cleveland Browns ball boy in high school.
In the end, there's no reason to believe Robiskie climbed up Cleveland's draft board because of his connections to the city or its franchise. It's obvious a large part of new Browns head coach Eric Mangini's plan to turn the Browns into winners was to overhaul the team's receiving corps.
Since Mangini took over in Cleveland, the Browns have added to the receiving unit by drafting Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi in the second round and signing veteran free agents David Patten and Mike Furrey as well as undrafted Jordan Norwood out of Penn State.
Mangini, a former Browns ball boy himself, isn't the kind of coach to let popular opinion sway his beliefs. He obviously sees something in Robiskie and was willing to go out on a limb to ensure the local kid joined the fold.
If Robiskie learns the offense quickly, it shouldn't surprise anyone if he becomes one of Mangini's early favorites and begins the season as Cleveland's No. 2 receiver.
As the season progresses and the rookie gains a little experience, Robiskie should see more balls come his way as he becomes more familiar with the NFL game.
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