The Cleveland Browns made wide receiver Corey Coleman a first-round draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. They traded back—twice—from the second-overall spot where quarterback Carson Wentz was taken all the way to 15, where they took Coleman. There haven’t been many games since that time in which he has looked like a first-round pick.
The last image of him, in fact, was from the Browns’ season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers, in which he dropped a fourth-down pass late in a potential go-ahead drive toward the end of the fourth quarter. He had to be consoled by DeShone Kizer, the rookie quarterback who threw the pass, and who has since been traded.
Could Coleman be next? If history is any indication, it’s quite possible. Excluding the Browns’ three first-round draft picks from 2017, Cleveland has traded or released all of its first-round draft picks since Joe Thomas in 2007, who just retired.
Danny Shelton was traded earlier this offseason, Cameron Erving last year, from 2015. The Steelers drafted for Justin Gilbert, while Johnny Manziel was released, from 2014. Barkevious Mingo was traded. So was Trent Richardson. Brandon Weeden was released. Phil Taylor was released. Joe Haden, albeit after several years, was released.
The notion that Coleman is safe is ludicrous. With the return of Josh Gordon from suspension, who is currently classified as a third-year player, and the trade acquisition and eventual long-term contract given to Jarvis Landry, the Browns already have their top two wide receivers, with pass-catching options at the other skill positions.
Not that they have celebrated depth behind Gordon and Landry, to be fair. But Coleman hasn’t proven that he can rise above the rest. The Browns did bring in Jeff Janis from the Green Bay Packers. Rashard Higgins and Ricardo Louis still remain from the 2016 class. And rookie Antonio Callaway is off to a good start in rookie minicamp.
The Browns have proven that while Sashi Brown might be gone, they still value draft resources. They have dealt a couple of draft picks for players this offseason—most notably a third-round pick for Tyrod Taylor—but have also gotten several back.
Coleman is the most movable piece on their roster for which they might get something in return. If he struggles to claim even the third spot on the Browns’ depth chart, it would be hard to imagine him seeing much more time in Cleveland.
The Browns might have six of their own drafted first-round draft picks on their current 90-man roster, but all of them come from the past three drafts. They had three first-round picks in 2017 and added two more in 2018. The odds are at least a few of them will be gone by 2020.