The Akron Beacon Journal from Akron, Ohio on April 18, 1999 · Page 50
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The Akron Beacon Journal from Akron, Ohio · Page 50

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Akron, Ohio
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Sunday, April 18, 1999
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Page 50
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Th Beacon, Journal u vmniiOhio.com Browns: 1099 fIFL Draft Sunday. April 18, 1999 D15 Tim Couch Round: One (first overall pick) Pos.: Quarterback. School: Kentucky. Height: 6-foot-4 V2. Weight: 225. Scouting Report: Couch, 21, left school after junior season. ... Threw for 8,835 yards and 74 TDs. ... Big. strong, fairly mobile. ... Played in quick read-and-throw offense. ... Impressed Browns with ability to find second and third receivers. ... Completed 56.2 percent of passes longer than 10 yards as a junior. ... Lives and breathes football. ... Grew up in Hyden, Ky., a town of 350. .. Always a football star, was AP Kentucky High School Player of the year as junior and senior. ... As high school junior, led state of Kentucky in scoring with 36 points per game. ... Likes to fish and play football. They said it: 'Ty Detmer is our starting quarterback. It is his job to keep. There will be competition. I told all of our players that my credibility is at stake if I don't allow them to compete for a job. How fast Tim reaches a point where he can compete for that starting position, only time will tell." gJmm g : b SV;1 Ken 'ff -f I fM ft My's En Ccuch Syracuse's Kevin Johnson IcCutchs ILL . 0 9 1 Ml I II 1 IMftl IS I Caiimia's Marquis Soil Kevin Johnson Round: Two (32nd overall) Pos.: Wide receiver. School: Syracuse. Height: 5-10. Weight: 188. Scouting Report: Can play WR and return kickoffs. ...Third in Big East all-time with 1,437 return yards and first with four touchdowns. ... Timed at 4.31 seconds in 40-yard dash. ... Began college career as QB but moved when Donovan McNabb arrived. ... .Has 98 career catches, 13 touchdowns. ... Set school record with 60 catches as senior. ... According to Chris Palmer will improve because he's only played WR a few years. They said it "He's a real fine receiver, but I don't think that the player we got today will be the player we will have two years from now." -Palmer. Rahim Abdullah Round: Two (45th overall) Pos.: Linebacker. School: Clemson. Height: 6-5. Weight: 233. Scouting Report: Left school as junior. ... Mel Kiper said he could have been top five pick next year. ... Runs 4.66 second 40-yard dash LB who can blitz and cover receivers. ... All ACC first team his final season. ... Fourth on team with 89 tackles. ... Will play strong-side and compete with John Thierry. ... Has had off-field problems, run-ins with law, all misdemeanors. They said it: "We think he's a physical run defender with good instincts. He's an excellent blitzer." -Palmer Daylon McCutcheon Round: Three (62nd overall). Position: Comerback. School: USC. Height 5-9. Weight-186. Scouting Report: Small but fierce. ... Not afraid to throw body into running plays. ... Size could be a problem against tall receivers. ... Second team All-America by Sporting News and Football News. ... Broke up 15 passes, intercepted three last season. ... Returned kickoffs and blocked a punt. ... Son of former Rams running Lawrence McCutcheon. ... Projected as nickel back early, with chance to develop into starter. They said it: "He's a guy who can play comer and he's got good cover ability. We can move him inside and let him cover the slot position." - Palmer. Marquis Smith Round: Three (76th overall). Position: Safety. School: California. Height: 6-2 V2. Weight: 220. Scouting Report: Three-year starter. ... Started every game this past season at strong safety. ... Big hitter who impressed Palmer with physical play. ... Eventually could move to weakside linebacker, according to Palmer. ... Very strong bench-presses 385 pounds. ... Ran a 4.52 second 40. ... Mel Kiper calls him superior athlete who does not make enough plays given his ability. ... Coverage ability is questioned. ... Majored in social welfare. ... They said it: "He is a big physical guy. It looks like when he hits somebody he'll hurt them. He brings some violence to our defense." - Palmer. View from Pluto QB Couch is a rookie, but only on the field Browns pick has had plenty of exposure to media, and is an old hand at playing in front of big crowds TERRY Pluto Tim Couch comes to town having a good idea how the game works. The game is being the quarterback, the guy at center stage. That has been the case with Couch ever since he was in the ninth grade, and already was the star of his high school team. You could tell that in the way Couch conducted himself at yester day's press conference, which introduced him as the first pick of the new Browns. This is critical, because Couch will be in a public fish bowl in this football-crazed towa A young quarterback who is media-shy and intimidated by the public attention would end up being emotionally chewed up in this environment Look at what happened to Ryan Leaf in San Diego, where he seemed to implode under the pressure last seasoa But Couch is used to it He was the National High School Player of the Year as a senior at Leslie County High. His town of Hyden has a population of 350, but on those fall Friday nights when Couch played, there were more than 7,000 fans in the stands. He also averaged 36 points a game in basketball, good enough to be asked to play on the Kentucky hoops team by Rick Pitino. And never forget how basketball-insane those folks are in Kentucky. This blue-eyed kid with the close-chopped, light-brown hair looks the part of Everyone's Ail-American Even more importantly, he acts like it Couch handled the questions with ease and grace. He didn't say anything that would offend any one, yet was sure to give answers that were both sincere and somewhat informative. You can tell he knows what it's like to stand tall in front of the public and cameras, and that's something that will help him once the season begins and the heat is on. Nothing fishy Browns president Carmen Policy stayed away from making football judgments on Couch, but loves the young quarterback's personality. "He's wholesome, basic and so normal,'' Policy said. "His only complaint is that he hasn't had enough time to spend in his new bass boat" This confused Browns owner Al Lerner. "Al is not into bass fishing, it's not a New York thing," Policy said. He's got her number Couch's girlfriend of 18 months is Sarah Gillam, who accompanied him to the press conference. She was working at a mall near Lexington when they met How did it happen? "I was behind the counter at Bath & Bodyworks," she said. "Tim came in one day and asked for my phone number." And yes, she had an idea that Couch threw a few passes for the local football team. But what was Couch doing in a Bath & Bodyworks store? "I think a friend of his spotted me there and told Tim that he ought to ask for my number," she said. Teacher man Never forget that Browns coach & i Cleveland Browns owner Al Lerner (left) answers a question during a press conference to introduce Tim Couch (center) as the top pick in the draft while Browns president Carmen Policy listens. KEN LOVEBeacon Journal Chris Palmer is as much a teacher as a coach. Before he even came close to the NFL, he was a junior high special-education teacher. That is why his workout with Couch was so meaningful to the new Browns coach. Every teacher looks for a great student Palmer's expertise is quarterbacks. He's convinced that quarterback "is the least-coached position in the NFL" And Palmer is tremendously confident in his ability to coach quarterbacks. In the last two years, Palmer made his reputation with quarterbacks in Jacksonville, where the team won games with three different quarterbacks. Bernie's pleased Bernie Kosar put his seal of approval not only on Couch, but also on Palmer's offense. "Looking at the playbook, it made me wish I could play again," he said. "It would have been per fect for me. It's a system where the quarterback reads the safeties and has a lot of flexibility in making throws." It does sound perfect for a Ko-sar-type quarterback, but what about Couch? "Coach Palmer talks about Couch's vision, and that's important with this system," Kosar said. "The quarterback is going to have to see the whole field and read the defense quickly. From the film I've seen on Couch, I think he has that kind of vision." Not Pyne-ing away The last time the Browns held a draft, the first player picked was offensive lineman Jim Pyne. That was at the expansion draft, when Pyne was considered a center. The 300-pounder with the shaved head strolled through the Browns' draft party at the training complex in Berea and seemed to be glowing. The signing of Dave Wohlabaugh ($26 million, six years) to play center, means Pyne will play left guard. "That's good with me, I've played guard before," Pyne said. Pyne is still stunned by the publicity he received for being the Browns' first pick in the expansion draft He had previously played for Detroit and Tampa Bay. "People recognize me," he said. "This is a great football town. I never expected anything like this." Didn't work Here's a baseball scouting report on almost-Brown Akili Smith, who ended up with Cincinnati. Smith was an outfielder for three years in the Pirates organization. One of his managers, Woody Huyke, told reporters: "Sometimes you draft an athlete and try to turn him into a baseball player and it works. In Akili's case, it didn't work. He was an athlete, but never was going to be a baseball player. He had good bat speed and could run, but he didnt have a good arm - even though he's a good quarterback - and he didn't have defensive instincts." Smith becomes the fourth quarterback with the Bengals, joining Paul Justin, Jeff Blake and Neil O'Donnell. Dating game In an Orange County Register story, Ricky Williams said that he lost his girlfriend to teammate and quarterback Major Applewhite last seasoa "It was hard to be happy for him when he did well" Williams said. "I wanted to punch him when we were in the huddle. I was depressed all year. I was miserable. I'd rush for 350 yards, then go home alone and be miserable." But USA Today reported that Williams fathered a child with an- other woman, who lives in Massachusetts. Quick hits Palmer said the Browns charted Couch's passes this year, and 148 of his passes were at least 10 yards in the air. He completed 56 percent of them, which Palmer considers "excellent" We agree with Saints coach Mike Ditka who said, "Ricky Williams is Earl Campbell with speed We hear that Channel 3 paid $2 million for the rights to broadcast four Browns exhibition games. They also will have the weekly Chris Palmer Show and a Browns weekly show for kids. We keep hearing Jim Donovan and Bob Golic will be the radio team for Browns games, but we also hear the final decision hasn't been made. This is a special edition of Terry Pluto's behind-the-scenes look at the world of sports. Messages for him can be left at 330-996-3816.

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