The 2019 NFL Draft will be an unusual one for the Cleveland Browns. Over the past five years, they have drafted 10 players in the first round (although only four of them, all from the past two years, are still with the team). This year, they traded their first-round pick to the New York Giants in order to acquire Odell Beckham, Jr.
While they still have eight selections overall in the draft, their earliest pick isn’t until 49th overall in the second round. It would take a substantial haul to move up into the first round, and the only round in which they have additional selections is in the fifth.
This will also be the first year since 2014 in which they have fewer than nine draft picks to make, and this doesn’t seem to be a year in which they are likely to do much trading back in the first two days of the draft, given the absence of a first-rounder.
The Browns selected nine players in the 2018 NFL Draft, including two in the first round and another two in the second, all four of them in the top 35 picks. None of those players would be available to them if their earliest pick then would be where it is now.
The year before that, in 2017, they had 10 draft picks when all was said and done, and that was after making moves. They ended up drafting three players in the first round and another in the second. Two of those three first-round picks, Myles Garrett and David Njoku are still here, but Jabrill Peppers was traded to the Giants, and quarterback DeShone Kizer was traded to the Green Bay Packers for Damarious Randall. So while those picks might be gone, they facilitated trades that made the team better.
In 2016, Cleveland drafted an astonishing 14 players, including three in the third round and four each in the fourth and fifth rounds. That draft class has largely been traded away at this point, including first-rounder Corey Coleman, second-rounder Emmanuel Ogbah, and third-rounders Carl Nassib, Shon Coleman, and Cody Kessler. Nassib was released in his case.
The team also had 12 draft picks in 2015, with multiple selections in every round except the second and the fifth (in which, for the latter, they had none). Few of these players remain, with first-rounder Danny Shelton traded to the New England Patriots last year, and Duke Johnson is potentially o the trading block.
That’s 45 players overall that they have drafted in just the past four years, very nearly enough to fill a gameday active list. And eight of those 45 players were first-round selections, half of whom are now gone.
Now General Manager John Dorsey gets his second crack at the draft in Cleveland after finding success last year with Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward, Nick Chubb, Antonio Callaway, and Genard Avery, with Austin Corbett likely moving into a starting role this year. But he will have fewer resources, and lower quality ones, than they have had in a long time.