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Best and worst of 2000 Draft

Browns could've used the first pick more wisely

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Posted: Monday April 17, 2000 09:50 PM

  Courtney Brown's Trev Alberts fears Courtney Brown isn't the kind of "playmaker" the Browns need to produce a breakthrough season. AP

By Trev Alberts,

I have the greatest respect for Browns president Carmen Policy and general manager Dwight Clark, but I think the Browns made a monumental mistake in taking Courtney Brown.

People compare Brown to Bruce Smith, but how many Super Bowl rings has Smith won? None. The San Diego Chargers seem to lead the league in defense year after year, but it's been five years since they've even made the playoffs.

To win in the NFL you need playmakers who score touchdowns, and Peter Warrick is the best all-around playmaker to hit the NFL since Deion Sanders.

The worst picks in this weekend's draft? First, there's Baltimore, who took Jamal Lewis with the fifth pick in the draft. I understand that Lewis ran a 4.3 40. But lest we forget, Lewis left Tennessee after his junior year because he was effectively beaten out for the starting job by Travis Henry. The Ravens could have gotten him much later. But remember, this team is run by the same owner who moved them from Cleveland.

Then there's the Raiders' selection of Sebastian Janikowski, a kicker taken with the 17th pick in the draft. What else would you expect from Al Davis?

Thomas Jones Running back Thomas Jones may be the player Arizona needs to complement QB Jake Plummer. AP  

Sure the Raiders lost four games by a field goal or less last year -- and Sebastian Janikowski has got a strong leg -- but the kid could be deported back to Poland for attempting to bribe a police officer, and could very easily find himself playing a different kind of football.

How about a great pick? The Arizona Cardinals got Thomas Jones, clearly the best back in the draft, at No. 7. After Baltimore's boneheaded move at five, the Cardinals brass had to be laughing. He just may be the missing ingredient that allows Jake Plummer to finally be Jake Plummer.

New Saints head coach Jim Haslett was asked what he learned after his first draft, and said: "I learned, don't give away any draft picks." How about them Saints? Do you realize, if it hadn't been for the dumbest move in the history of the NFL in trading away everything for Ricky Williams, the Aints would be welcoming LaVar Arrington to New Orleans.

I wonder if the Falcons feel the same way. Last year, they traded away this year's first-round pick to move up in the second round and select tight end Reginald Kelly. Well, Kelly is a solid backup. Gets in about 15 plays a game. This year the Falcons could have had the fifth pick. Players available: Corey Simon, Thomas Jones and Plaxico Burress. You get the picture.

Teams are obviously learning from the Saints' and Falcons' mistakes. And that's why I think Tampa Bay had the best draft of any team. Sure, they traded away their two first-round picks, but they got Keyshawn Johnson, a two-time Pro Bowler.

Add in Tennessee guard Cosey Coleman, a projected first rounder who fell to the second and should start; Miami's Nate Webster, a good linebacker they got in the third round; and the steal of the draft, Joe Hamilton in the 7th round with the 234th pick. Great drafting, and another reason Tampa Bay should find itself in the NFC Championship game again next season.

Trev Alberts is a pro and college football analyst for CNN/SI.

Related information
Browns take Penn State DE Courtney Brown with first pick
Browns thrilled to get Penn State's Brown to lead their defense
SI's Peter King: 2000 NFL Draft Report Card
Several big names last until second day of NFL Draft
SI's Banks: Redman thrilled to play in Unitas' town
San Francisco gets two QBs to cover its bases
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