How many times have we read or heard that NFL teams are built through the college draft? This adage has played out year after year and decade after decade.
This being said, logic tells us that not securing NFL talent at the college draft is a recipe for disaster.
Case in point, the Cleveland Browns. The same Browns franchise that did not win a game last season and only won one game the previous season. The same franchise that has selected high in the first round of drafts in recent years due to posting poor records.
Yet, Cleveland, after trading Corey Coleman, the team’s first round pick in 2016, to the Buffalo Bills for a 7th round pick in 2020, (not a very good return on investment) no longer have a first round draft choice on their roster pre-dating 2017.
From the 2011 to 2016 drafts, Cleveland took nine players. I already told you about Coleman. Danny Shelton (2015) is a defensive tackle who got traded this year after recording 1.5 sacks in three seasons. Cameron Erving (2015) started 17 games on the offensive line over two seasons before being traded to Kansas City in 2017. Justin Gilbert (2014) started three games at cornerback and had one interception in Cleveland before being let go. And let us not forget Johnny Manziel (2014). I have spent too much time writing of him in these pages. Let me remind you though that he is now playing in Canada after being cut by the Browns. Barkevious Mingo (2013) had seven interceptions in three seasons in Cleveland before being released. Runningback Trent Richardson (2012) was traded to Indianapolis two games into his second year and was out of the league the following year. Brandon Weeden (2012) did not work out at quarterback and is out of the league. Phil Taylor (2011) started 42 games before his career ended due to injury.
These names are hardly household names, though they are all first round draft picks. If one is looking for reasons why the Browns have won one single game over the past two NFL seasons, I just laid it out for you.
Another Cam Critic
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has always drawn a great deal of attention. His game and productivity has always drawn criticism from fans and media alike.
This week, former Panthers receiver Kelvin Benjamin felt the need to throw in his own two cents on Newton. Benjamin was traded to Buffalo during last season. His best season in Charlotte came as a rookie in 2014 when he had over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns. Benjamin suffered a knee injury before the 2015 season, and was not a factor in the Panthers offense again before being traded.
Benjamin was interviewed by The Athletic last week and was asked why he thought his career had faltered. Benjamin threw Newton under the bus numerous times with his answers. He said he never should have gone to Carolina and that he was a bad fit for Cam because Cam is not an accurate passer. Benjamin went even further by saying he would have preferred a quarterback with knowledge.
Let me close with this piece of knowledge. Newton was the MVP of the NFL the season Benjamin missed due to injury. I wonder what Benjamin will have to say about the quarterbacks in Buffalo?
Tiger Vs. Phil
It is almost official. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will square off in a winner take all match over Thanksgiving. The match will take place in Las Vegas (of course). It looks like it will be a two-day event featuring a $10 million purse. No word yet on if the participants are putting up any of their own money.
Images: Kevin Benjamin
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson