CANTON TWP. — A "name" scouting expert said the Browns can count on a 22-year-old impact player without even spending one of their gold-plated picks in next week's draft.
Glenn E. Schembechler III, Bo's son, said the Browns drafted him at No. 25 overall last year. Then, after speaking to the Hall of Fame Luncheon Club, he explained why Michigan's Jabrill Peppers will make it.
"Athletically, he's at the high end of what the NFL skill set is," said Schembechler, who goes by 'Shemmy.' "Don't think in terms of, 'Is he worth a first-round pick.' Think, 'Can he be a difference maker for the defense?' It's all about how you use him."
Browns fans came away from an 0-16 year doubting the young safety and wondering why the Browns' lined him up halfway to Toledo.
"I know what Gregg Williams is doing with him," Schembechler said. "He was trying to develop Peppers' game as a rookie so he understands spacing and playing cover-2 and quarter-quarter and all those things. He's making him a more versatile player.
"Peppers' rookie year didn't come as a surprise. I think the Browns are going to come out of the draft with personnel that will let them put him in a playmaking position. His value to pro football is his ability to cover man-to-man in short areas and to blitz off the corner.
"He can play nickel-corner depending on who he has to cover. If the offense wants to put a running back out there into the slot, he can cover that guy."
Bo is a Michigan coaching legend. The son who spoke at Tozzi's on 12th was an NFL scout (Chiefs, Bears, Redskins, Seahawks). Was? Part of that has to do with Shemmy's son, Glenn E. Schembechler IV.
"When you're single in the NFL, it's the best place ever," he said. "It becomes the worst when you're married with kids."
A few years ago, Shemmy, now 48, opened GES Advisory, which matches high school athletes and college programs. He loves it as a married-with-kids job.
The man can talk football and is a treasure trove of Woody vs. Bo lore. Monday's audience was eager to hear his takes on the Browns.
"I've known (GM) John Dorsey since I broke into the NFL and was an in-house scout for the Chiefs,' he said. "John learned from Ron Wolf, one of the very best the league has ever had.
"Wherever John has been, he has built winning rosters. Consider his career in Green Bay and Seattle and what he did in Kansas City with Andy Reid. Before he got to Kansas City, the Chiefs were not a very well thought of organization."
Dorsey had ready answers for what Dorsey should do with the Browns' picks at No. 1 and No. 4 overall.
"When you're a GM afforded the opportunity to draft a quarterback you know can be successful, not taking the QB would be a serious mistake," he said. "Then ... put the quarterback in a room where he can learn. I would be in favor of keeping him on the bench for two years to learn the system.
"I'd apply that rule to the kid from Southern Cal (Sam Darnold), the kid from Wyoming (Josh Allen), or whoever.
"At No. 4, everybody talks about Saquon Barkley as an option at No. 4, but while you sort out quarterback, the defense will carry you more often than not. (Defensive end) Bradley Chubb or (safety) Minkah Fitzpatrick to me would be the best option.
"You could have last year's top pick (Myles Garrett) on one side and Chubb on the over side. You'd have guys to get to the quarterback on a consistent basis. That's how you build championship programs in the NFL."
Schembechler sees Tyrod Taylor, acquired from Buffalo, as a QB worth playing while a prized rookie learns. He noted Kansas City's struggles in the five years before Dorsey arrived (2-14, 4-12, 10-6, 7-9, 2-14) and the Chiefs' success with rosters Dorsey built (11-5, 9-7, 11-5, 12-4, 10-6), relative to quarterback play.
"John did a good job of getting Alex Smith to Kansas City," Schembechler said, "I think the same thing is going to happen all over again. (Taylor) is a serious upgrade to that position."
Bo Schembechler is buried in Ann Arbor, where he won or shared 13 Big Ten titles in 21 seasons. He spent the first 40 years of his life as an Ohioan. He was a senior at Barberton High School the year the Browns were born.
As in life, Bo met death amid drama.
The Thursday before the 2006 Ohio State-Michigan game, he went to the funeral of former Michigan quarterback Tom Slade. Hours later, he gave his annual pep talk, in this case to a No. 2 Wolverines team headed into combat against No. 1 Ohio State. He collapsed in a TV studio the next day and was pronounced dead two hours later. The next day, Jim Tressel led the Buckeyes to a 42-39 victory. Three days later, Tressel was at Bo's funeral.
Coincidentally, when Tressel was the previous Monday's Luncheon Club speaker, he said, "Make sure you tell Shemmy I was here."
Bo's son still calls the Wolverines "we." He has a soft spot for a certain Ohio team, though.
"To say the Cleveland Browns are on the right track," he said, "is quite the understatement."
Steve Doerschuk is a reporter with The Canton Repository.