CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The Cleveland Browns weren’t sold on Carson Wentz or Jared Goff.
There were just too many questions and a lot of projections.
Following the Rams deal with Tennessee for No. 1 last week, Cleveland no longer controlled their own destiny for the presumed top quarterback in the draft. So, instead of settling for whatever was left to him at No. 2, Sashi Brown cashed in and took advantage of a team as desperate as he is to find their next quarterback and added tremendous value as well as flexibility.
The Eagles sacrificed significant portions at the top end of their next 3 drafts to move up from No. 8 to No. 2 by giving up their first rounder this year (No. 8) and in 2017 as well as their third (No. 77), fourth (No. 100) in 2016 plus a 2018 second round pick. Cleveland sweetened the pot for the Eagles by tossing in a conditional fourth round pick in 2017.
The only way to increase your odds at hitting on draft picks to begin filling some of the many holes they currently have is to gather as many selections as possible and that is exactly what Brown has done.
Contrary to the now currently popular narrative when it comes to the Browns, this isn’t analytics. It’s common sense.
The cynics will say that the real winners Wednesday are Goff and Wentz because they no longer have to worry about ending up in Cleveland. They’ll also say that the next time that a trade down in the draft actually works for the Browns will be the first. The 2 most recent moves – 2014 and 2011 – are painful exhibits A and B.
Brown can’t afford to look in the rear view mirror at train wreck he is now in charge of cleaning up and the many failings of previous regimes can’t be held against Brown or the Browns.
Sure, the sordid history of incompetence at 76 Lou Groza Blvd. is undeniable. Plans have never been the problem for Browns, who have had many of them since 1999, it’s been the execution or lack of that has led them to the mess they currently find themselves in.
Lost in Wednesday’s trade is the fact they the Browns haven’t taken themselves out of the quarterback sweepstakes completely. Memphis QB Paxton Lynch, who is expected to be the third to go off the board, is expected to be available and could land right in the Browns’ lap. Much like Goff and Wentz, Lynch is a prime candidate to be red-shirted as a rookie.
Even if the Browns pass on Lynch at 8, they are guaranteed to land 1 from this list of 6 players: Jalen Ramsey (CB Florida State), Laremy Tunsil (OT Mississippi), Joey Bosa (DE Ohio State), Deforest Buckner DE Oregon), Myles Jack (LB UCLA) or Ronnie Staley (OT Notre Dame).
Not one of those players is a bad pick at No. 8, assuming that Brown isn’t done making moves.
Armed with 12 picks this year and at least 12 in 2017, Brown has also given himself flexibility to move up and down the board as needed over the next 2 years and rest assured that he is not done wheeling and dealing. Not with No. 32 now just begging to be traded on day 2.
Brown has a lot of work to do to rebuild this roster to finally infuse it with NFL-caliber talent. He’s giving himself the tools to do it and he shouldn’t be criticized for turning doubts he has in a pair of players into valuable assets.
There will be plenty of time for criticism in a few years if the Browns blow these picks and have to start over again, but the time to criticize is not now.