CLEVELAND - Put yourself in Browns general manager Mike Lombardi's chair on Thursday night.
It's his second time through trying to help the Browns win. The first time, he was with some of the most respected names in the league. Now, it's his turn to sit in the hottest seat in Cleveland
Lombardi is back, and he's in a no-win situation.
If the Browns have a great draft or even a good draft, everyone will say it's under the direction of Joe Banner. If Lombardi has a bad draft, then he did what every critic said he was going to do, and they will be sharpening the pitch forks more than ever before.
So what should Lombardi do? After all, he is coming off of one of the worst pre-draft news conferences in the history of the NFL. I am disappointed that he didn't give away the Browns game plan for the draft. Can we all be honest? The pre-draft news conference could be one of the dumbest things the NFL mandates its teams to do. Did you really expect to hear anything of value?
I can tell you what I don't think the Browns should do: Draft quarterback Geno Smith from West Virginia with the sixth overall pick in the draft. The absolute last thing the Browns need is a quarterback and burn this pick with someone who might not be able to contribute to the team this year.
The Browns need a wide receiver too. If they draft Smith's teammate at West Virginia, Tavon Austin, it's another mistake. The second-to-last thing the Browns need is another young wideout, especially when they are under 6 feet tall.
We all know they need a shutdown corner. Is that man Dee Milliner from Alabama? Yes. Could it be Xavier Rhodes from Florida State? Yes. Could it be defensive ends Ziggy Ansah from BYU or a guy like Dion Jordan from Oregon? Yes and yes.
Should the Browns trade down? Yes. But, that depends. Who wants to trade and what you are going to get back?
The absolute safest play is Milliner if he is still around with the sixth pick. Take him and nobody will argue with this pick. Everybody is happy. You will have two rock solid corners. If this is your first draft in a city where the media wants to run you out of town before one snap, play it smart. End of story.
If you can pull off a trade, still get Millner and a second round pick, then you have hit a home run. Better story.
If you trade the pick, select Xavier Rhodes in the first. Depending on the thought, you grade Milliner and Rhodes about the same.
You need a pass rusher. Ansah and Jordan are also strong plays. It will be tough to get upset if the Browns take these guys at six. I know you can talk about Ansah's experience and Jordan's shoulder issues. Get a guy who creates havoc and gives the Browns a few sacks this year. All will be happy in Brownstown.
The Browns should take a quarterback later in the draft. Still plenty of needs on this five-win team.
If the Browns can have a good draft, then happy days will be coming in Cleveland. If they don't work out, then just blame Mike Lombardi.
You were already planning that before Thursday anyway. Anybody have a pitch fork sharpener?