Browns good at acquiring draft picks but history shows not good at turning picks into productive players

The Browns have been good at trading down in recent years and acquiring extra picks, including first round picks, but not so good on turning those picks into productive NFL players

CLEVELAND--There’s one thing the Browns are very good at.

And that is acquiring draft picks.

Now turning those draft picks into quality NFL players is another story.

The Browns decided that neither Jared Goff or Carson Wentz was the quarterback they wanted to build their franchise around by trading the No. 2 pick to the Eagles for the 8th pick and extra picks this year and a first round pick in 2017.  This trade has analytics written all over it. As it now stands, the Browns now have 12 picks in this coming draft.

Instead, Hue Jackson is going to go with Robert Griffin III and hope to somehow reclaim his career. When Jackson and Sashi Brown said that the acquisition of Griffin III wouldn’t affect their pursuit of a quarterback in the draft, it’s hard to see that it hasn’t.

The Browns will likely draft a quarterback somewhere in the draft but at best it will be a second-tier type quarterback like Paxton Lynch, Connor Cook, Christian Hackenberg, Cody Kessler or Cardale Jones. 

This has not worked in the past. 

Might it work this time? Maybe, but see the examples of it not working in Browns recent history of Luke McCown (4th round), Charlie Frye (3rd round), Colt McCoy (3rd round), Brady Quinn (1st round, 22nd overall), Brandon Weeden (1st round, 22nd overall) and Johnny Manziel (first round, 22nd overall).

Until the Browns find the franchise quarterback, they will not seriously contend for a championship. 

Obviously, the Browns decision makers didn’t think Goff or Wentz was worthy of the No. 2 pick. The Rams and Eagles beg to differ, with each giving up a lot to move up to take the top two quarterbacks in the draft. The Eagles are making the move despite having Sam Bradford on the roster. 

I was opposed to trading the pick and am surprised why I’m hearing from so many Browns fans who love trading down so much. It always sounds good, but in the end you usually don’t end up with a blue-chip player because the Browns decision makers seem to try to outsmart everyone else.

Just two years ago in 2014 when the Browns had a glaring need at wide receiver, they traded down and took Justin Gilbert instead of taking Sammy Watkins or Odell Beckham, Jr. They also could’ve taken Khalil Mack. That was also the year they drafted Manziel with the pick they obtained in the Trent Richardson trade with the Colts. 

In 2012, 2014 and 2015, the Browns had two first-round picks and this is what they came up with: Richardson, Weeden, Gilbert, Manziel, Danny Shelton and Cameron Erving. Those six players should be the core of the team but likely only two of them will even be starters this year.

Yes, they received a first-round draft pick from the Bills in the 2014 trade and used that pick the next year to draft Erving. Sure, Erving might be the starting center this year, but any of the previously mentioned players would look a lot better in orange and brown than Erving. 

The key piece in the trade was the first-round pick next year of the Eagles, but who knows what will be available to them then.

In 2011, the Browns traded the sixth overall pick to the Falcons instead of drafting Julio Jones. They received four draft picks net in the deal including a first-round pick the next year used to select Weeden. The other three players obtained were Phil Taylor, Greg Little and Owen Marecic.

Ask yourself as  a Browns fan, would you rather have Jones or those four I mentioned?

This is a new regime making the picks and hopefully, they make the right selections, but it’s hard to justify them trading a chance to draft a quarterback at the top of the draft for a bunch of draft picks. It will be even harder to justify if either Goff or Wentz turns out to be the franchise quarterback for their respective teams.


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