Q: With his “real players” comment, I worry new general manager John Dorsey had in mind early picks like David Njoku, Jabrill Peppers and DeShone Kizer. Do you think Dorsey already regards our last draft as a fail?
A: That’s certainly the concern. Dorsey has said some nice things about Kizer but also revealed he was his fourth-ranked quarterback in the draft last year. He didn’t mention Njoku or Peppers when discussing players he wanted to draft when he was GM of the Chiefs.
But my feeling is Dorsey was talking more about the middle- and late-round picks of the last two years and the free agent signing of Kenny Britt. It’s too early to make a definitive judgment on any of this year’s first-round picks.
Q: What positions should we target in free agency and which should we address in the draft?
A: Everything starts with quarterback, and I expect the Browns to add one in free agency (or through a trade) and another with the No. 1 pick. Other free agent priorities should be free safety, cornerback, receiver and defensive end.
As for the draft, they should target cornerback, left tackle and running back to start.
Q: Who are the top options to be offensive coordinator if we do decide to bring one on next year assuming Hue Jackson does stay as promised?
A: I’m OK with Jackson as the play caller, so I believe he should focus more on hiring someone to help with clock and game management, perhaps with the title of associate head coach.
Colleague Nate Ulrich, from the Akron Beacon Journal, made an interesting suggestion of Bengals coach Marvin Lewis for that role. Jackson and Lewis are close friends, and ESPN reported Lewis won’t coach in Cincinnati next year.
If Jackson does choose to go with a traditional coordinator, Cincinnati’s Bill Lazor could be an option.
Q: Though I was not present when the statements were made, might it be that the media have misinterpreted and then misrepresented what was stated by new Browns GM John Dorsey? Might he simply have meant Sashi Brown assembled a wonderful assortment of quality draft selections from which to draw, but not many “real” players? The distinction is less a slam on his roster as upon Brown’s focus.
This reminds me of last season when Josh Gordon’s relapse placed him in rehab and was accompanied by Hue’s quote that “the team was done” with the WR. Whereas many rushed to conclude Gordon would never play for Jackson, it may merely have meant “done” for the 2016 campaign.
— Mark Leonard
A: Anything’s possible, but I think you’re off on this one.
Sashi Brown drafted 24 players in two years, so there were abundant opportunities to get “real” players. And there just aren’t enough on the roster. Dorsey erred in being as direct as he was in his criticism of Brown and the players he inherited, but he wasn’t wrong and was just echoing what Jackson has alluded to all season.
I’ve heard a lot of people wonder how the players reacted to being insulted. I believe they agree the talent isn’t good enough but think Dorsey wasn’t talking about them specifically. Besides maybe a dozen players, the rest are lying to themselves.
As for the Jackson comments on Gordon in 2016, he meant what he said. He was done with Gordon. What changed was the passage of time and the desperation of a 1-26 record.