As much as the Cleveland Browns might have become a laughing stock over the course of the past 20 years, the history of football is very much tied to Ohio (and Pennsylvania, of course). This if a fact of which new Browns General Manager John Dorsey is intimately aware, and he hopes to do service to that long legacy by helping to turn the team around.
Brought in late last season in replacing Sashi Brown as the face of the front office, Dorsey has not had much of an impact—relatively speaking—yet in shaping what the Browns will look like. The 2018 NFL Draft unfolding later this week will be his first crack at it in Cleveland, though he has conducted or helped run the draft for years in Green Bay and Kansas City previously.
“We are going to do our due diligence in terms of bringing really good football players to awake the sleeping giant as we have said in the past”, he said of the importance of repaying the loyalty of Browns fans, and fans of Ohio football generally. “We’re going to awake this thing. That is how I look at it”.
He talked about some research that he had been doing lately and coming upon the fact that a large number of the original football franchises came out of Ohio. “That just shows you the importance of football within this community”, he said. “All I can tell them is that [if we fail] it won’t be from lack of hard work”.
Dorsey and his front office have already put in a substantial amount of work in advance of the draft, including authoring half of dozen or so trades. They brought in quarterback Tyrod Taylor via trade and sent away each of the three quarterbacks that were on the roster a year ago. Most retrieved only minor compensation, but for DeShone Kizer (and draft considerations) they got back Damarious Randall.
They have also signed a number of other players, such as Jarvis Landry, Carlos Hyde, Donald Stephenson, and Chris Hubbard. All told, they’ve added about a dozen or so veteran players to their team and traded away five or six players from last season’s roster, already ensuring that they will see significant roster turnover from a year ago.
One thing he doesn’t do at this time of year is pay attention to what is being said about him or his team. Hinting at a long-standing personal practice, Dorsey said that he blacks out all the outside noise that could distract him from his job. Of course, saying that and actually doing it tend to work differently.
One thing he is right about is that Ohio football fans are a passionate bunch. Many of placed all their hopes in Dorsey as being the one who will finally help to turn the Browns around. Any optimism, of course, will be of a cautious variety. They have been down this road before, and the giant remains asleep.