Phil Taylor? What the...?
I by no means consider myself a draft expert. I watch a good deal of college football and pay a fair amount of attention to mock drafts and such leading up to what has been the equivalent of the Super Bowl for the Cleveland Browns (the NFL draft, if you didn't pick up on that).
I confess that I really had no clue who Phil Taylor was when Peyton Hillis read his name as the Browns' pick at No. 21 in the first round. My first thought was, "I think I went to college with that guy. I'm pretty sure he was in my History of Civ class."
Obviously this is a different person. The guy I was thinking of was white, about 5'7" and 150 lbs. soaking wet. And I didn't go to school at Baylor.
By now you probably know the skinny on Taylor: 6'3", 334-lb. defensive tackle who can really stuff the run and has great upside, but also has had some off-field issues, including an assault charge and getting kicked out of Penn State.
But I like the selection of Taylor. It fills a much-needed hole on the defensive line, where Ahtyba Rubin is really the only guy who we know has a place on this team long-term. Kenyon Coleman finished sixth in the league in tackles amongst defensive linemen last season, but it remains to be seen how he'll fit in the new 4-3 scheme.
The thought of Taylor and Rubin playing side by side, plugging up the middle of the line, is disgustingly beautiful. It'll be nearly impossible for teams to run the ball inside the tackles against those two big boys.
But Taylor's selection wasn't even close to being the biggest news of the night for the Cleveland Browns.
The move to trade the No. 6 pick to Atlanta (who took WR Julio Jones) was nothing short of amazing. The Browns received in return Atlanta's first-, second- and fourth-round picks this year (Nos. 27, 59 and 124 respectively), as well as its first- and fourth-round picks next year...an absolute steal.
Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert evidently were not sold on the idea of drafting Julio Jones or anyone else that high. I can only imagine how giddy they were as they crafted the heist of the Falcons (who must really like Jones).
The biggest key to this trade is what the Browns brain trust decides to do with those extra picks. There are holes on this team that need filling, and those extra selections will go a long way to secure success in the future if they are handled right.
I don't need to remind Browns fans of what Eric Mangini did in the draft two years ago (but I will anyway). Mangini traded out of the No. 5 pick (which ended up being Mark Sanchez to the Jets) and continued to trade back until No. 21 (what a coincidence!), where he drafted Alex Mack. Now Mack is a very nice center who will anchor the line for the next 10 years.
But let's look at the other players Cleveland got out of all those trades: Brett Ratliff, Abe Elam, Kenyon Coleman, Mohamed Massaquoi, David Veikune (ouch!), Coye Francis and James Davis, not to mention passing on other quality players. Let's all hope that Massaquoi is able to salvage those moves into something close to respectability.
With that said...Holmgren and Heckert have a much better track record for drafting and personnel moves than Mangini. I really believe this team is in the right hands.
So if you're scoring at home, here's what the Browns ended up doing on Thursday night after all was said and done:
Traded: Julio Jones and a third-round pick
Received: Phil Taylor, a second- and fourth-round pick this year and a first and fourth next year
Love it! Things are looking up! Go Browns!
Quick side note
Consider this: Ahtyba Rubin, Ndamukong Suh, B.J. Raji, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Israel Idonije, Sione Pouha, Haloti Ngata...Phil Taylor. That is simply an awful name for a 330-pound defensive lineman!
Believe what you want, but there is something important (maybe even magical) about a fierce, intimidating name. Phil Taylor just doesn't do it for me. He sounds like a mailman, or an insurance agent, or an accountant, or a dart thrower, or anything but a big, tough football player.
The solution is simple: He just needs to change his name. The last name is fine, we can work with that, but Phil has to go. How about something like Faruke or Tukabaca? Okay, those are terrible. But I'm sure if we all work together we can come up with something good before the season starts in mid-November.
You can follow me on Twitter @ClevelandFlack