Browns should heed mistakes of past drafts
Mohamed Massaquoi, the last of the Cleveland Browns ill-fated second round selections from the 2009 NFL Draft, signed a free-agent contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Friday.
The Jaguars reportedly gave Massaquoi a two-year deal worth up to $4.7 million. In four years with the Browns, Massaquoi had 118 receptions for 1,745 yards and seven touchdowns. He never had more than 36 receptions in a single year (his second), 624 receiving yards or three touchdowns (both in his rookie year). By comparison, Josh Gordon, a second-round supplemental pick, had 50 receptions for 805 yards and five touchdowns in his rookie season in 2012.
Massaquoi also suffered from knee and hamstring injuries, as well as a concussion delivered by Pittsburgh’s James Harrison, but in the end he just wasn’t very good – especially for someone drafted in the second round.
The move to Jacksonville means MoMass joins Brian Robiskie, David Veikune and Kaluka Maiava, among others, from the 2009 draft who are no longer with the Browns – and in some cases not even in the NFL anymore.
While the Browns have made plenty of mistakes over the years, the ones they have repeatedly made on draft day – especially over a five-year stretch from 2005 through 2009 – go a long way toward explaining why they are in their current state.
For every Joe Thomas, D’Qwell Jackson and Ahtyba Rubin that former general manager Phil Savage selected during his four years in Berea, there is a Charlie Frye, Leon Williams, Travis Wilson or Beau Bell.
In 2009, despite holding four of the top 52 selections, the Browns managed to walk away with only first-round selection Alex Mack as a legitimate NFL player. As Browns fans everywhere remember, in the first (and thankfully only) draft run by former coach Eric Mangini (apparently general manager George Kokinis was out picking up pizza and wings on draft night), Mangini botched three second-round selections at an embarrassing level. In addition to MoMass, the Browns selected Robiskie (43 career receptions and currently with Detroit) and Veikune (three career NFL tackles and currently with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League).
LeSean McCoy and Mike Wallace, who the Browns passed over three times each in the second round? Pfft, who needs them?
While things got better under former general manager Tom Heckert (Joe Haden, Trent Richardson, Mitchell Schwartz), there were still enough misses (Colt McCoy, Montario Hardesty, Owen Marecic) to slow the team’s rebuilding efforts.
As fans we are the one constant through all the years of losing and, consequently, many want to hold each new regime responsible for the sins of the former regime, which isn’t realistic or fair.
But what we can expect is for CEO Joe Banner and general manager Mike Lombardi to learn from the mistakes made by the predecessors and realize how important it is to get it right on draft day – and how much damage is done when you don’t get it right.
And if they need a refresher between now and the start of this year’s draft on April 25, all they have to do is cue up the highlights of past drafts to learn what not to do.