Leading up to The 2009 N.F.L. Draft, the Cleveland Browns were in dire need of help at the WR position. Unfortunately for the Browns, they selected WR’s Brian Robiskie and Mohamed “McLovin” Massaquoi to help their anemic Offense. By selecting those two guys, the Browns in turn overlooked a speedster from Ole Miss named Mike Wallace. So due to the fact that Mike Wallace just made his first of many Pro Bowls, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to take a look back at The 2009 N.F.L. Draft and discuss Cleveland’s huge mistake.
Cleveland circa April 2009
To say that Cleveland’s Passing Offense (and Offense in general) was pathetic in 2008 would have been a compliment. The Browns ranked 30th in Total Points, 31st in Total Yards, 31st in First Downs, 31st in Passing Yards, and 30th in Passing Touchdowns.
To improve their fortunes and surround Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn with play-maker,s the Browns needed to look towards drafting some pass catchers when April 2009 rolled around. Also adding to their need for WR’s was the fact that Braylon Edwards had been in trouble with the law and was unhappy in Cleveland.
After selecting Pro Bowl Center Alex Mack in the 1st Round, Cleveland sought to remedy their WR ills in Round 2. Cleveland was in the perfect position to select some fantastic play-makers with their two 2nd Round picks. Unfortunately for Cleveland, they completely whiffed on one, and are only now starting to see any 2nd Round worthy production out of the other:
Opting to go for a player in their own backyard that was also thought to be the most “N.F.L. Ready” at a position of need, Cleveland decided to take Robiskie with the 36th overall pick in the Draft. It seemed like a great match at the time and many scouts and pundits alike lauded the move.
An Ohio State guy going to an Ohio team, a player that was productive in college, and one with N.F.L. bloodlines (Father Terry is now WR Coach for Falcons). Robiskie did have some holes in his game, and scouts overlooked a couple of key things that might have scared some teams away.
Playing on essentially an All-Star team at O.S.U., Robiskie parlayed his athleticism and size (6’3” and 200lbs.) against some less stellar Big 10 Defensive Backs to his advantage. Moreover, questions about Robiskie’s speed and his ability to separate from top N.F.L. Corners also came about. Yet negatives aside, Robiskie was thought by many in the N.F.L. community to be a sure-fire starter as a possession receiver at the next level.
Robiskie though floundered in the pros, and his biggest challenge in the N.F.L. was flat out getting open and simply making plays. You know, things which are essential for N.F.L. WR’s that want to achieve success, and things which he could not do on a consistent enough basis for the Browns.
The Browns finally cut ties with Robiskie on November 1, 2011 to make room for a backup RB named Thomas Clayton. Brian was eventually picked up the next day by the Jaguars, but he lasted only 4 weeks until being put on I.R. after recording zero statistics for Jacksonville. I hate to do this Cleveland, but Robiskie’s career stat line reads as follows:
39 catches, 441 yards, 3 TD’s
Sad I know, but Robiskie just couldn’t cut the proverbial mustard in Cleveland. Unfortunately, Robiskie was not the only WR that the Browns over-drafted in the 2nd Round in 2009. And while the other guy is still on the roster, it’s not like he’s become a Pro Bowl caliber player either.
“McLovin” Massaquoi was thought to be a bit of a gamble for the Browns when he was taken with the 50th pick overall. The guy passed they “eye-test” and had the tremendous size (6’2” and 200 lbs.) that you look for in a pro WR, But looking the part is only half the battle, and “McLovin” had his fair share of issues as well.
Massaquoi wasn’t exactly a speed-demon. By no means was he slow, and his speed was decent for a bigger guy, but not the kind that would warrant a 2nd Round selection (high 4.5’s in the 40). Another trait Massaquoi shared with most Draft gambles was the fact that Massaquoi really only broke out during his Senior season in college (58 grabs 920 yards 8 TD’s). But most importantly, “McLovin” was known by scouts and fans alike as having hands like frying pans at UGA and had a penchant for dropping the football.
Cleveland ignored the red-flags anyway and the Massaquoi experiment has born little fruit thus far in his short career. In almost three full seasons, Massaquoi has only amassed 99 catches for 1,475 yards and 7 TD’s. Furthermore, when you say Mohamed Massaquoi to a Steelers fan, they’ll likely know who he is, just for not catching passes.
Of course that’s because Massaquoi was one of the players that James Harrison layed the wood to last season and kick-started Roger Goodell’s attempt to remove any and all physicality from professional football.
While he may have been a better selection than Robiskie, Massaquoi still has yet to prove himself worthy of his high draft status. Maybe the new Shurmur regime in Cleveland will turn this Offense around and get Massaquoi to become the force which his size says that he can be. Until then however, Cleveland will have to keep playing the “What If?” game because of their stupidity to pass over the WR which Pittsburgh selected in the 3rd Round of the Draft.