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Browns bypass 'sexy' with first-round picks


Browns bypass 'sexy' with first-round picks

With other adjectives that have been applied to the Cleveland Browns lately, it had to be a relief to hear commentators on ESPN Friday morning refer to their first-round selections as “sensible.”

The Browns took defensive tackle Danny Shelton of Oregon at No. 12 and center Cameron Erving of Florida State at No. 19.

“I know these aren't the two sexiest picks when you are taking guys that aren't 'skill players,'” coach Mike Pettine said Thursday, as reported by The Plain Dealer. “We prefer to call them 'big skill.' We are thrilled because we know with a great degree of certainty that the Cleveland Browns got better tonight.”

(How sexy the picks are might depend on how you think Shelton looked clad in a colorful outfit that featured a lava-lava, a traditional sarong he wore to honor his Samoan heritage. Shelton also made the best move of the first round, wrapping up commissioner Roger Goodell in a bear hug and lifting him off the floor.)

To make these picks, the Browns bypassed wide receivers who went in the first round, DeVante Parker and Breshad Perriman.

"There were multiple players in the conversation for when we took those selections,'' general manager Ray Farmer said. "Offensive skill splash [players] were definitely in those conversations. Again, to me, you have to create your identity and who you want to be and make sure that is intact before you start adding the requisite pieces. The offensive skill is something that I think we have here.''

Despite chatter that indicated otherwise, Farmer said the Browns didn’t try to make a deal for the Tennessee Titans’ pick at No. 2 in order to draft quarterback Marcus Mariota. “There were no conversations of trading,” Farmer said.

Shelton is expected to help the Browns bolster their run defense, which needs lots of bolstering, considering that they ranked last in the league in that category. Shelton also may give Cleveland more pressure on opposing passers. He had nine sacks last season for Oregon, a high number for an interior lineman.

The Browns didn’t have a need at center — at least not this year. However, Pro Bowl player Alex Mack can become a free agent after this season. In the meantime, Erving displayed versatility on the offensive line. He began 2014 as a left tackle for Florida State before moving to center.

“Whether you took him and wanted to run downhill at people or whether you wanted to run laterally, the guy has a skill set that allows him to play in any of those schemes and at a variety of positions,” Farmer said.

RELATED: [Ravens possible Day 2 targets]

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Ravens' Eric DCosta not ruling out taking a quarterback at No. 16

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Ravens' Eric DCosta not ruling out taking a quarterback at No. 16

And with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select.... a quarterback?

Assistant general manager, and soon to be general manager, Eric DeCosta isn't ruling out the possibility that the Ravens use their first-round pick on drafting a quarterback to eventually replace Joe Flacco. 

"I feel like if there is a guy there that we think is really too good to pass up, we're going to take him," DeCosta told the team's website on the chance of draft a quarterback in the first-round. 

Quarterback is just one of many offensive needs for the team. Joe Flacco's stats have been trending downward as the 33-year old is entering his 11th season.


Owner Steve Bisciotti though may disagree with DeCosta.

At his annual State of the Ravens press conference, Bisciotti said, "That’s not really something that we’re worried about right now. We’ve got bigger fish to fry, I guess. I don’t consider that a big worry," in regards to looking at life after Joe. Bisciotti also noted the team would be looking at all options in free agency and the draft for weapons for their QB.

From the sound of that, it appears the team's first choice would be a wideout, but the Ravens haven't drafted a quarterback since Joe Flacco back in 2008. 

The 2018 NFL Draft class has a handful of strong quarterbacks to choose from and not a ton of first-round wide receivers. 

Former Ravens scout, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com has predicted the team with take Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield in the first-round. 

"It basically depends on our evaluation and how we feel about the guy, what we think he can become as a player and what we think his upside is and if he's there," DeCosta said

Backup Ryan Mallet is a free agent so the organization will have to find someone to fill the role, whether it's someone on a one year-deal, or the future QB of the franchise. 


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Ravens sign Michael Crabtree to three-year deal

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Ravens sign Michael Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed wide receiver Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal on Friday according to general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome.

The deal is apparently worth $21 million, according to Adam Schefter.

After being released by the Raiders on Thursday following the signing of Jordy Nelson, Crabtree heads to the Ravens less than 24 hours later.


The 31-year-old is coming off a 2017 season when he recorded 58 receptions for 618 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2016 he posted 89 receptions for 1,003 yards and eight touchdowns.

Since 2015, the Texas Tech product has scored 25 receiving touchdowns, the fifth-most in the NFL. Crabtree and Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown are the only NFL players to post at least eight touchdown catches in each of the past three seasons.


In all, Crabtree has played nine NFL seasons – six of them with San Francisco (2009-14) and three with Oakland (2015-17). The former first-round draft pick (10th overall, Texas Tech) has registered 579 receptions for 6,870 yards (11.9 avg.) and 51 touchdowns in 125 career games (122 starts).

“Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game,” Newsome said in a team statement. “He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball. We like his temperament and believe he is a good fit for our football team, on and off the field.”

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Crabtree’s 51 receiving scores rank 10th among active wide receivers, while his receptions (579) are seventh, and his receiving yards (6,870) are 12th.