You may have heard yesterday about some sort of trade that took place, or something of that nature. I believe it was a bit of big news in the realm of football, anyway.
That’s right, it was the Cleveland Browns, who traded out of their second-overall draft position for the draft, which begins a week from today(!), and moved back to the eighth spot in exchange for a whole bunch of additional picks from the Philadelphia Eagles, who, presumably, much like the Rams, have leapfrogged up in the pecking order seeking a quarterback.
Of course, the ramifications of this move for the Browns are twofold. One, it is a greater indication that the Browns are actually satisfied with Robert Griffin III’s immediate prospects at quarterback (although recent rumblings have connected Cleveland possibly with Paxton Lynch at the eighth spot). Second, and more obviously, it gives them a lot of high-value picks to play with.
Of course, this is not the first time that we have heard such a story for the Browns. They have frequently had a high volume of draft selections, and a high number of draft selections, with little to show for it in return. Just recently—three times in the past four drafts—they have had two selections in the first round alone.
How did that work out for them? Well, starting with the 2012 draft, the Browns were met with a dismal, dismal failure after adding running back Trent Richardson third overall, and then quarterback Brandon Weeden 22nd overall. They traded Richardson (admittedly, for a first-round pick) just a year later, and Weeden is now trying to be a backup elsewhere.
That extra first-round pick came into effect in 2014, during which they selected cornerback Justin Gilbert eighth overall and quarterback Johnny Manziel 22nd overall. Gilbert has been a borderline disaster and unable to even get on the field defensively, thus far, with even undrafted rookies playing ahead of him. Manziel somehow managed to get Drew Rosenhaus to drop him, which is perhaps his most impressive feat thus far.
The Browns had 12 selections, in fact, as recently as last season, so that would be a good barometer. In 2015, they had five selections in the top 100, including two first-round picks and two in the third round. They also had two fourths, three sixths, and two sevenths.
The first two picks went to bolster the trenches, adding Danny Shelton, who played fairly well at nose tackle his rookie year, while center Cameron Erving struggled at guard as a rookie. He will have to make major strides entering the lineup at center this year.
Nate Orchard at outside linebacker in the second round so far seems to have been a good selection, as was running back Duke Johnson in the third. Xavier Cooper could be taking on a bigger role this year, while much of the rest of the roster will be lucky to retain a roster spot, if they haven’t already lost it.
Of course, the Browns have once again cleaned house in the front office, for yet another ‘fresh start’, so to speak, but the only relatively consistent element that has carried out through the drafts has been relatively mediocre output for a team so starved of talent. Let’s see if their baseball man hits a home run for them this time around.