The Cleveland Browns yesterday made the trade for Tyrod Taylor, and I suppose the odds would have to favor him entering the year as their starter, whether or not he is their long-term future. But the organization has at least put itself in a position to surround him, and/or whoever comes next, with the most talent at the skill positions that we have seen in Cleveland in a long time.
I choose my words carefully here, because there are still so many variables that could send their house of cards tumbling, but the Browns are setting themselves up for potentially a very nice offense. The offensive line could still use some tinkering perhaps, and Joe Thomas is a big question mark, but consider the skill positions.
Currently, they have at least Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman at wide receiver. Gordon got his feet wet late last year after having years off and showed that he can still make plays. Coleman’s early career has been plagued by injuries, but I believe he can still develop into a very good player.
Then you add in Jarvis Landry, whom the team reportedly will trade for at the start of the new league year, giving up two draft picks. The deal could still fall through, as we saw last year, but a wide receiver corps of Landry, Gordon, and Coleman is a nice start.
Add on top of that a couple of young and talented pass-catching tight ends in David Njoku, last year’s first-round pick (or one of them), and the surprising Seth DeValve, who is not going to make a Pro Bowl but is going to produce, and suddenly Cleveland doesn’t look like a bad destination for a quarterback, based on his target options.
Then you have the very good chance that Cleveland adds Penn State running back Saquon Barkley into the backfield. The team has reportedly been considering taking him with the first-overall pick in the draft, and if they end up with a quarterback in free agency, that makes it all the more likely.
As I prefaced above, any number of thing scan go wrong with this plan, but the bottom line is that the next person to throw passes in Cleveland could be working with a skill position grouping that consists of Landry, Gordon, Coleman, Njoku, and Barkley as their starting lineup. There are worse groups out there, for sure.
Reportedly, Hue Jackson wanted to get AJ McCarron, whom the team traded for last year before botching the transaction. They could have gone after Kirk Cousins, but yesterday’s trade basically ensures that won’t happen.
But with two picks in the top four, they are still guaranteed a shot at a top quarterback of this class, including Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, and Mason Rudolph. Chances are good one of them will be in Cleveland with Taylor, and this skill position group.