Mar 15, 2007
It’s funny how things can change so quickly in the weeks leading up to the draft. Stocks can rise like the dot-com’s of the late 90s – or plummet like those same stocks in 2000 (March of 2000, to be exact, and I know because I have gained back only one sleeve of the shirt I lost that month). There’s a lot of luck involved in terms of where a player goes, especially for a RB. Once free agency is over, there are usually only a handful of teams with an obvious need at the position, and this year those teams are the Browns, Bills, Packers, and Titans.
Everyone assumed the Browns would use the #3 pick on either RB Adrian Peterson or T Joe Thomas, but it’s now starting to come to the surface that the Browns might be ready to pull the trigger on QB Brady Quinn, provided the Lions pass on Quinn. It started with Quinn’s strong private workout – attended by Brown ownership – and when they team signed Jamal Lewis it intensified. Signing Lewis (for only one season) would certainly not preclude them from also drafting Peterson, and they did unload Reuben Droughns, but it’s clear that Peterson’s stock is dropping and that directly relates to the Browns’ interest in Quinn.
I’ve stated the case for the Browns to take Quinn several times here going back over a month ago. For the record, I will admit Quinn has some flaws (his arm isn’t super strong, he misses open guys, and his anticipation could be better) and might not be a superstar, but I also think – when you look at the whole package – he has what it takes to be a very good NFL starter. I’m thinking somewhere in the realm of Matt Hasselbeck, which is better than most.I’d like to see Quinn in Cleveland, but I’d also like to see it because I’d like to see Peterson in Buffalo.
I know Bill coach Dick Jauron would prefer to go defense or O-Line, but if this all plays out and Peterson is there, I don’t know how they can pass on him after losing Willis McGahee. Jauron’s Bills have been somewhat depleted in free agency, but they still have some intriguing young talent. Their line looks to be improving, and QB J.P. Losman’s progress has been steady. McGahee is a little bigger than Peterson, but they are comparable backs, and Peterson can be as good or better an inside runner and he can definitely be a better big-play guy in Buffalo. He’s not experienced as a receiver, but he has big upside in the passing game and would likely catch more than a few balls under Steve Fairchild. With him, Losman, and Lee Evans, this offense would be 1-2 players away from potentially being very impressive.
If the Bills do get him, he will be a focal point in their offense from Day One, and if he can stay healthy he would be a solid fantasy producer right out of the gate on this improving team.Here are my perfect matches for some of the top backs in this year’s draft.
Adrian Peterson – Buffalo
Marshawn Lynch – Green Bay
Antonio Pittman – Tennessee
Kenny Irons – NY Giants
Michael Bush – Cleveland