View Full Version : Browns looking at Mack

03-19-2009, 10:50 AM
http://www.cantonrep.com/sports/browns/ ... -at-center (http://www.cantonrep.com/sports/browns/x1331534190/Browns-looking-to-add-strength-at-center)

Browns looking to add strength at center
By Steve Doerschuk
CantonRep.com staff writer
Posted Mar 18, 2009 @ 11:54 PM

It did the Browns no good to have one of the more enviable left sides in the offensive line business in 2008.

Knowing that, the new regime seems intent on not wasting left tackle Joe Thomas and left guard Eric Steinbach in 2009.

The Browns could have new main men at four key blocking positions.

Hank Fraley has made 48 straight starts at center, but he turns 32 in September and showed signs of erosion last season.

At last month’s NFL Combine, the Browns were the first team to interview California center Alex Mack, and they have a keen eye on Oregon center Max Unger. Those two are rated as the 35th- and 42nd-best players in the draft by NFLDraftScout.com. The Browns own the No. 36 overall pick.

Both Mack and Unger are seen as mature players who could step in right away. Mack is a year older than Jeff Faine was when he was a rookie starter for the Browns in 2003; Unger is even older, turning 24 in November.

If the Browns don’t draft a center, Head Coach Eric Mangini might consider letting veteran Ryan Tucker or free agent John St. Clair compete for the center job. Both Tucker and St. Clair spent the last two years of their college careers at center.

Right guard has been a revolving door, with Shaun O’Hara, Paul Zukauskas, Kelvin Garmon, Juaquin Gonzalez, Mike Pucillo, Dave Yovanovits, Cosey Coleman, Seth McKinney and Tucker taking turns as starters during the five-year stretch from 2003-07.

Rex Hadnot was viewed as adequate at best as the starting right guard in 2008. Near the end of the season, the fifth-year pro vowed to be better in 2009, saying he was intent on playing at a Pro Bowl level.

Recent signees Floyd Womack and St. Clair both became NFL tackles after playing center in college. Both are versatile veterans who could compete for the starting right guard or right tackle jobs. Tucker likewise is versatile, having started at right tackle for most of his seven-year run with the Browns but starting at right guard in the second half of the 2007 season.

Kevin Shaffer, the starting left tackle in 2006 and the starting right tackle in 2007 and 2008, was released last week.

Tight end will have a different look after Kellen Winslow Jr. was traded and Darnell Dinkins left as a free agent. Newcomer Robert Royal, who spent the last three years with the Bills, will battle 32-year-old Steve Heiden for time as the blocking tight end.


The Browns signed free-agent running back Noah Herron on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old has played with Pittsburgh, Green Bay and Tampa Bay since being drafted by the Steelers in the seventh round out of Northwestern in 2005. In 23 career games, the 5-foot-11, 225-pounder has rushed for 273 yards and three touchdowns on 85 carries and caught 29 passes for 211 yards and a pair of scores.

Center of it all

Analysts differ on whether Alex Mack, whose first NFL Combine interview was with the Browns, is the top center in the draft. NFL.com analyst Mike Mayock’s top five centers:

• Max Unger, 6-5, 309. Started 51 straight games at center for Oregon.

• Eric Wood, 6-4, 310. Starred at Cincinnati Elder, four-year starter at Louisville.

• Alex Mack, 6-4, 311. Whiz-kid student from Cal, Pac-10 lineman of the year in 2007.

• A.Q. Shipley, 6-1, 304. Penn Stater won Rimington Award as nation’s top center in 2008.

• Antoine Caldwell, 6-3, 309. Alabama All-American best suited for a drive-blocking scheme.

03-19-2009, 10:57 AM
I'll take Shipley.....

03-19-2009, 11:37 AM
I could see the Browns trading up to the Cards spot and swiping Mack. Whiz and the Cards would probably enjoy making that deal.

03-19-2009, 01:08 PM
Did Mangini draft Nick Mangold?

03-19-2009, 07:02 PM
Did Mangini draft Nick Mangold?

Mangini's first year with the Jets was 2006, and the Jets drafted D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold with their two first round picks. However, Mike Tannenbaum was the GM in charge of the draft, and he is still in New York. The new Cleveland GM is George Kokinas, who came over from the Ravens.

There is no way that the Browns will have a shot at Mack unless they trade up. But knowing that they would likely be able to choose from Unger or Wood at #36, I doubt that they would do it (especially since they have already traded away their 3rd, 5th, and 7th round picks).

I could see 3 AFC North teams taking centers within 6 picks of one another, though:

1.32 Pittsburgh selects Alex Mack
2.36 Cleveland selects Max Unger
2.38 Cincinnati selects Eric Wood

Or Cleveland could wait and use the second round pick they got from Tampa for Winslow on a center instead:

1.32 Pittsburgh selects Alex Mack
2.38 Cincinnati selects Max Unger
2.50 Cleveland selects Eric Wood