The Cleveland Browns have been the biggest movers in free agency so far this spring, turning in arguably the biggest move of all in their acquisition of the still-young Odell Beckham, Jr., an All-Pro wide receiver who reunites with both his college teammate and college position coach with the Browns.
Among the other moves have been to beef up the defensive line with the trade acquisition of Olivier Vernon and Sheldon Richardson, to pair with Myles Garrett and Larry Ogungobi—another good reason for the Pittsburgh Steelers to keep their offensive line together, quite frankly, because that group has the potential to be quite a handful.
In spite of all of the many significant moves that they have already made, however, General Manager John Dorsey is not about to declare an offseason victory. In fact, he seems wholly unconcerned with what the team has accomplished up to this point, which is in effect, nothing.
“Expectations, I hear a lot about that, but I know this – good football teams, they win in the fall”, he said yesterday during a press conference discussing the team’s latest moves. “What we have done is we have added some talent. Now, the chemistry part has to take over with it. Teams win in the fall. They do not win in March, and that is good teams”.
Dorsey and company elected Freddie Kitchens to be the one to lead this new group of talented into what they hope is a brighter future. Kitchens started last season as the Browns’ running backs coach before being promoted to offensive coordinator after the firing of Todd Haley, and his ideas and playcalling were among the chief catalysts of their 5-3 finish to the season.
“With regards to Freddie, Freddie is one of those individuals who I love because he is so straightforward and honest”, Dorsey said of the first-year head coach. “He is direct. He is going to set expectations high. There is that accountability level. He will make players be accountable. He is the same guy every day. That is who he is”.
One of the sacrifices the Browns have had to make in order to construct this new roster was to trade out of the first round as part of the Beckham deal. This generally goes against their standard approach, which has often been to acquire multiple first-round picks. They have had at least two first-round picks in the majority of the past several years, including in 2018 when they drafted quarterback Baker Mayfield and cornerback Denzel Ward.
Dorsey wouldn’t rule out the possibility of trading back into the first round, but emphasized that it hinged upon the right player being available to them to draft. Otherwise they will be content with what their draft picks have already bought them via trade.