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News » Don't drop the ball: Trade Edwards now


Don't drop the ball: Trade Edwards now


Don't drop the ball: Trade Edwards now
Browns


Since George Kokinis said so little at the Browns' pre- draft news conference, I'm going to take the general manager at his word when it comes to Michael Crabtree.

Kokinis likes Crabtree . . . a lot.

He likes the Texas Tech receiver because "he makes plays, he gets in the end zone."

He knows that Crabtree has a screw in his foot to repair a stress fracture, but Kokinis has "a comfort level" with the receiver's chances of making a total recovery.

While Crabtree was not healthy enough to be timed in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, Kokinis said that, based on film study and scouting, "He has enough speed for me."

Which is why I expect them to trade Braylon Edwards to the New York Giants, and why they should make a deal that hopefully would bring the Browns the 29th pick, a lower-round draft choice and an all-around receiver/special teams player in University of Akron product Domenik Hixon.

There are several reasons for trading Edwards, starting with the fact he has led the league in dropped passes and doesn't want to play here. He is a free agent after the season - possibly only restricted, it depends upon what happens with the labor agreement. But restricted or unrestricted, he wants a huge contract.

The Browns have to ask if they truly consider Edwards a franchise player because they'll have to pay him like one to retain the Michigan product. Also consider his belief that Browns fans don't like him - and how he made it clear during the 2005 draft that he didn't want to play in Cleveland.

Trading Edwards would leave the Browns with tight end Steve Heiden and running back Jamal Lewis as their leading receivers from a year ago with 23 catches. It means the current wideouts would be Syndric Steptoe, David Patten and possibly Joshua Cribbs.

I still make the deal.

If linebacker Aaron Curry somehow falls to No. 5, I'd take him and look for receivers later in the draft. Assuming the Browns add the 29th pick from the Giants, they'd own four choices in the top 50. There is some speculation that up to six receivers could go in the first round.

If they miss on Crabtree, perhaps Missouri's Jeremy Maclin, Kenny Britt of Rutgers, Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey or Florida's Percy Harvin are available late in the first round - or some of these wideouts might fall into the second round.

Is drafting a wide receiver in the first round a risk?

According to research by Mike Florio of the Sporting News, there have been 37 receivers picked in the first round since 2000. He rates 16 as "quality contributors with their original teams." Some of the names on that list are Larry Fitzgerald, Lee Evans, Mark Clayton, Javon Walker, Andre Johnson, Santana Moss, Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress and Edwards.

So it's about a 40 percent success rate. He rated 14 of 29 running backs (48 percent) and 12 of 23 quarterbacks (52 percent) picked in the first round since 2000 as good selections, so that's slightly higher than wide receivers (16-of-37, 43 percent).

Yes, they can miss on a wide receiver. Or maybe they pick a guy with better hands than Edwards. And they also should consider signing a veteran receiver such as Torry Holt to help in the film room and on the field. Most of all, they should wave goodbye to Edwards and bring in more draft picks.

To reach Terry Pluto: terrypluto2003@yahoo.com, 216-999-4674

Previous columns online: cleveland.com/columns



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 18, 2009

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