The Browns had a first-round pick and two second-round picks heading into the 2009 draft.
After a trade with the Jets, they amassed an additional second-round pick.
I, along with most fans, certainly saw this as an enormous opportunity to fill some major voids on the team with young talent.
The Browns took Alex Mack with their first-round pick. They then selected Brian Robiskie with the 36th overall pick, Mohamed Massaquoi with the 50th selection, and David Veikune with the 52nd.
The common saying is "hindsight is 20/20," but I don't think it took a seer to see some of the talent the Browns passed up in the draft.
I was distraught when the Browns selected Mack. I realize now, as I did then, that Mack was a safe pick and a smart lineman who will probably be in the starting lineup for years to come.
I saw Rey Maualuga and Chris Wells on the board, however, and felt either player would have immediately upgraded positions of higher need. Hank Fraley is an adequate NFL center.
You can only imagine my excitement when the second round came, and Maualuga was still available. I thought the Browns would surely take him.
This was a "can't-miss" opportunity.
Sure, Maualuga has some character risks and didn't perform well at the combine, but THE KID CAN PLAY!
Instead, they selected Brian Robiskie.
I am an Ohio State alumnus and fan, and I know the type of person and player Robiskie can be.
Analysts were saying that he could be the next Amani Toomer or JJ type: solid, dependable, hardworking.
Unfortunately, he has been a disappointment and has failed to crack the active roster for several games for a 1-10 team that can't score.
Personally, I would rather have the hard-hitting, fiery personality of Maualuga.
That is a presence the Browns' linebackers and overall defense lack.
Maualuga has started every game for the first-place Bengals. The same Bengals that won four games a year ago.
I was angry when the Browns took another wide receiver with their next pick.
With all the needs of the team, why did they take another receiver?
If Massaquoi was on the radar, why did they take Robiskie?
They needed a running back, offensive and defensive linemen, and secondary help.
At least Massaquoi has proven to be a worthy selection, as he leads the team in receiving and has proven to be a big-play threat.
This pick still makes me cringe.
I understand that Mangini comes from the Belichick system, where you amass draft picks and take a few developmental players who need a few years before they are ready to play in the NFL.
The Browns, however, are not the Patriots and need immediate impact players in the first two rounds. Take your shots with developmental projects in the later rounds.
The Browns had a very good opportunity to add depth and a future replacement for Jamal Lewis with this pick.
They could have selected either LeSean McCoy or Shonn Greene.
Instead they drafted a player who has seen limited time and, again, been inactive for several games.
What Could Have Been...
Imagine this draft class: C Alex Mack; LB Rey Maualauga; WR Mohamed Massaquoi; RB LeSean McCoy; LB Kaluka Maiava; CB Don Carey; CB Coye Francies; RB James Davis.
Do you think the Browns would be 1-10 if they drafted these players?
Mack and Massaquoi were solid selections who have performed as you would expect rookie starters to play in the NFL.
Both have had moments of inconsistency, but both have flashed ability and have learned from their mistakes.
Mangini needs to play Veikune and Robiskie as the season winds down.
He needs them to play and perform to save his job.
They need to prove that he can be trusted with 11 or more draft picks in the upcoming draft.
They need to prove that they belong on the roster next year if/when a new coach comes to Cleveland.
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