Who will be the faces behind the helmets in 2011?
This slideshow focuses on the offense. It gives you a quick look at 2010, an outlook for 2011 and a projection of whether or not each position will merit attention in the draft. In some cases, I've even thrown in a bonus name for debate.
Hope to get your comments and suggestions for who will be wearing the Brown and Orange in 2011.
Does he have the arm? This year we'll start to find out.
Injuries interrupted any serious evaluation of this position.
Seneca Wallace was thrust into duty and just when it seemed he was becoming comfortable, he also suffered a high ankle sprain that ended his season.
Enter Colt McCoy. Pressed into service, McCoy exceeded most people's expectations before suffering—you got it—a high ankle sprain.
After that, no more evaluation was possible. We were just trying to find a healthy body to play out the season.
Three words that Browns fans do not want to hear this year are high ankle sprain. Colt McCoy has been named the starter and will be given every opportunity to run Pat Shurmur's version of the West Coast offense. This is a positive step. For too many years the Browns have failed to name a clear-cut starter for any number of reasons. The results speak for themselves.
The Browns need to see if McCoy can answer the questions that remain surrounding his arm strength. With five of our last six games being played in either Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati or Cleveland, we should find out the answer.
If Mike Holmgren has said that he would be interested in drafting a quarterback in the later rounds, we're probably drafting a quarterback in the later rounds. And I think there's nothing more to it than that. Last year proved you can never have too many. But drafting one of the top names is sure to invite a controversy that, at this point, is unwarranted.
Peyton Hillis was another player who exceeded preseason expectations. But as the end of the year showed, even the biggest players—or those with the biggest heart—break down over a 16-game season. The lack of depth, particularly when the organization appeared to sour on Jerome Harrison, was impossible to disguise and must improve.
Hillis will be one of the faces of the franchise. And, the expected return of Montario Hardesty would immediately answer some of the questions regarding our depth at this position. However, counting on a running back coming off a serious knee injury is not a strategy. I look for the Browns to have at least two or three running backs on the roster to take some of the load off Hillis.
I would not be shocked to see the Browns draft a running back in the middle rounds. Interesting thought: DeMarco Murray in the third round. He would be a change of pace/third-down back. Not projected as an every-down player, but has speed and could be effective in a West Coast system.
He's climbing up the boards, but will the Browns take him?
For about seven weeks, our wide receivers were non-existent. However, my comment when Colt McCoy took over the offense was “When did these wide receivers get here?" As invisible as our wide receivers appeared to be with Delhomme and Wallace, there was little doubt that they had an expanded role with McCoy behind center.
Although we may never know the full story, it appears that Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert like Mohammed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie more than did Eric Mangini. It also appears from their comments that perhaps they thought the problem was with the offensive scheme. Hmm. Do we have budding stars or players who have reached their peak?
Although I see defense as our No. 1 need, it wouldn’t shock me if we chose either A.J. Green or Julio Jones with our first pick. If not in the first round, I certainly wouldn’t expect us to go through the second or third round without selecting a wide receiver.
This is a tale of two sides. The left side with Joe Thomas and Eric Steinbach, coupled with Alex Mack at center, leaves little room for concern. The right side was hit with injuries and performed well enough, but leaves some unanswered questions.
Is Shaun Lauvao ready to take over at right guard? What can we really expect from Tony Pashos at right tackle? This could be one of the strengths of the team, or it can become a problem.
Tom Heckert said that offensive tackle was one of those positions where you can’t hide a player. I expect to see an offensive tackle taken at some point, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it were a fairly high selection. Possible pick: Marcus Gilbert—Pittsburgh and Baltimore have been named as possible landing spots for Gilbert in the third round. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Browns look at this as a value pick.
Benjamin Watson had a career year. Evan Moore showed signs of being the player the Browns thought he could be. And at fullback Lawrence Vickers was Lawrence Vickers.
Neither of these positions appears to be a high priority. Browns beat writer Tony Grossi, among others, has speculated that Vickers may be a casualty of the new offensive scheme. If a player is selected at either of these positions it would be a late round “best available” situation.