Unlike a lot of former players-turned-analysts, Doug Dieken isn’t a knee-jerk, scream-louder-than-the-next-person kind of a guy.
Yes, he draws a paycheck as radio analyst for the Cleveland Browns, a team he played 14 seasons for without missing a single game from 1971 to 1984. But his wait-and-see approach on this week’s Trent Richardson trade is interesting. It’s old-school and it in no way is governed by today’s requirement that everyone must immediately blast or rave about everything that happens in the NFL.
Dieken doesn’t like that trading Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts after two games sends the Browns into Sunday’s game against the Vikings with a running back corps that includes an inexperienced waiver-wire pickup (Bobby Rainey), a fullback (Chris Ogbonnaya) and 31-year-old Willis McGahee, who was signed Thursday and hasn’t played since suffering a major knee and lower leg injury a year ago.
But he’s also willing to wait for the other cleat to drop on draft day 2014.
“Do you trade a No. 3 overall running back in his second year?” Dieken asked. “Had he played like Adrian Peterson or Barry Sanders or one of those guys, not really. But there were a lot of missing components there. Ultimately, I think how this one is judged will come down to who they get for this pick or how they package it to get what they need.”
How the other end of the trade unfolds obviously makes all the difference in how it’s perceived. For instance, just imagine how different the Randy Moss trade in 2005 would have been remembered had the Vikings picked Aaron Rodgers seventh overall instead of Troy Williamson.
“We traded Paul Warfield, a future Hall of Famer, in 1970 for the rights to draft [quarterback] Mike Phipps,” Dieken said. “We got the tail end of that deal. But then [in 1977], we traded Mike Phipps to the Bears and got a first-round pick [in 1978]. And that pick turned out to be a Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome, so we got the better end of that. It really depends on who you draft when you have the opportunity.”
The Vikings have done pretty well trading with the Browns the past few years.
Last year, the Vikings traded the third overall pick to the Browns for the fourth overall pick and extra picks in the fourth, fifth and seventh rounds. The Vikings used the fourth overall pick on Matt Kalil, the player they wanted all along. Then they used the fourth-rounder on receiver Jarius Wright, the fifth-rounder on special teamer and potential future starting safety Robert Blanton and traded the seventh-rounder to Tennessee for a seventh-rounder this season. This year, the Vikings then used that seventh-rounder in a package deal to move back into the first round and select receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
An even better trade for the Vikings was executed with Cleveland with much less fanfare before the 2010 season.
The Vikings had a promising but one-dimensional pass rushing end named Jayme Mitchell. He was going to be released but was shopped to the Browns for a sixth-round pick in 2012.
Mitchell played one season and is out of football. The Vikings had to wait a couple of years to cash in but ended up using that pick — the 175th overall — on kicker Blair Walsh.
All Walsh has done is make 39 of 42 field-goal attempts, including 11 of 11 from beyond 50 yards, and earn first-team All-Pro as a rookie.
The Bears are going for their first 3-0 start since 2010, when they played the Packers in the NFC Championship Game. But they also know they’re oh so close to trying to avoid an 0-3 start after come-from-behind wins against the Bengals and Vikings.
“We’ve seen a unique team resiliency, an ability to keep our poise, an ability to just move on to the next play without what happened on the last play inhibiting us,” said coach Mark Trestman, whose team faces an 0-2 Steelers team that’s scored only 19 points.