BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – After months of waiting, which included an extra 2 weeks, the 2014 NFL Draft is finally upon us.
The Cleveland Browns find themselves in a very strong position holding 10 picks total – including 3 of the top 35 and 7 of the top 127 selections – leaving general manager Ray Farmer with a tremendous amount of options and flexibility.
And trade bait.
Farmer has spent the last few weeks burning up the phones around the league testing the waters as to where teams stand with potential picks as well as their desire to move around on the board.
Ironically, Farmer can thank his previous bosses – Joe Banner and Michael Lombardi for 3 extra picks thanks to 3 separate deals made last year.
During last April’s draft, and much to the chagrin of fans, the Browns sent a fourth round pick to Pittsburgh for the Steelers’ third round pick this year – No. 83 overall – and a fifth round pick to Indianapolis for the Colts 2014 fourth round pick – No. 127.
Last September Indianapolis was charitable enough to also send their first round pick – 26th overall – to the Browns for running back Trent Richardson.
The extra picks are nice and will allow Farmer to potentially improve them or even add a few more to the stockpile.
It all starts at No. 4.
The odds of the Browns trading up for the 1, 2 or 3 picks with Houston, St. Louis and Jacksonville respectively are slim to none.
The Texans have already shopped the top pick and the expectation is that they’ll take South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. If they pass Clowney or trade out and another team passes on him as well, it’s believed the Rams would then auction off the No. 2 pick.
Jacksonville also hasn’t been shy about making it known they’re willing to take phone calls for 3. The Jaguars have a lot of needs and extra picks would help them address them.
As for Farmer, he would prefer to add more assets for additional flexibility if he could early making sliding down to the fifth, sixth or seventh spots with Oakland, Atlanta and Tampa Bay respectively more desirable.
Farmer and head coach Mike Pettine have both said in the last 2 weeks that there are 5-6 players they’d be happy to come away with at 4. That means that there will be at least 2-3 options for them available when they go on the clock and sliding down the board a spot or 2 or 3 is very plausible.
The Browns already have the ammunition to move up from 26 but the assets gained from trading down would allow them to still land a top desired player with their first pick, then move up from 26 and/or trade into the back-end of the first round to pick up a third selection Thursday night.
The Seattle Seahawks, who just gave the self-proclaimed “best cornerback in the game” Richard Sherman a 4-year contract extension that includes $40 million in guaranteed money, could be looking to preserve salary cap space and slide out of the first round into the second round.
Cleveland would be a perfect trade partner for the Seahawks considering that the Browns hold the third pick in round 2.
While the debate rages on for a few more hours as to what Farmer should do with the fourth pick, he might not even pick at 4 – or 26 – or 35.
Farmer wasn’t kidding when he said on April 28 that all options are on the table.
And he could have plenty of them to choose from.
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