The Kansas City Chiefs just signed Justin Houston to a huge 6 year and $101 million deal after Franchising Tagging the pass rusher. Unfortunately for Browns fans Houston is connected to their team's poor NFL Draft history.
In 2011, after the Julio Jones trade, the Browns and Chiefs orchestrated a trade. The Browns traded up from 27, the Atlanta Falcons pick originally, to #21, the Chiefs pick. The Browns gave up the #70 pick, a Third Rounder, to move up in the First Round.
In the 2011 NFL Draft the Browns selected defensive lineman Phil Taylor while the Chiefs traded up to 26 to get WR Jonathan Baldwin. Then with the 70th pick, the Browns original Third Rounder, the Chiefs selected Houston.
Baldwin hasn't played a game since 2013 and only recorded 44 receptions in his three seasons in the league, only two of which were with the Chiefs. He played in a total of 33 games, 607 yards and 2 TDs. He was an obvious bust for the Chiefs.
Houston on the other hand has developed into an elite pass rusher. In 59 games, he missed 5 in 2013, Houston has racked up 48.5 sacks. He has also forced 7 fumbles, recovered 4, has an interception and a total of 234 tackles.
Last year, Houston led the league with 22 sacks and is only 26 years old. He has shown the ability to play both outside in a 3-4 defense as well as with his hand in the ground. He hasn't been asked to play in coverage but his ability to rush the passer is elite.
The Browns on the other hand have not gotten the type of production out of Taylor that they had hoped for. He has struggled to stay healthy, only 44 games in 4 seasons and his production has not matched his First Round selection. The Browns have had Taylor as a defensive tackle, nose tackle, 3-4 defensive end and now are returning him to the nose.
The injuries and constant change over of defensive schemes are likely partially responsible for Taylor's problems. He has only produced 7 sacks and 109 tackles, along with 1 FF and 1 recovery. As a defensive lineman who often tries to split offensive linemen for penetration, instead of occupying or over powering them, these numbers are especially concerning.
Even last year, Taylor struggled greatly. His attempt to penetrate, instead of occupy blockers, from the nose allowed him to be pushed out of most plays. It opened up cut back lane for backs and big runs. The Browns had the worst rush defense last year. In fairness to Taylor, he only played in 5 games and can't be held responsible for all 16 games of terrible run defense.
So while Houston gets his big payday, the Browns are uncertain to bring Taylor back after this season. Some believe that he could be cut before the start of the season. This is something that most teams can do but for the Browns it is just another reminder of what could have been for the Browns.
Is there a NFL Draft "What If" scenario that bothers you more than this one for the Browns?