Browns current NFL draft slot and the path to victory through futility

Dec 8, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; A Cleveland Browns helmet sits on the sidelines during the fourth quarter of New England

With the loss today, the Cleveland Browns are now slotted to pick 5th in the NFL Draft and could be picking 4th before the day ends.  The loss to the Chicago Bears while frustrating put the Browns at 4-10 while the Minnesota Vikings came out and stunned the Philadelphia Eagles which moved them to 4-9-1.  The Vikings are expected to be a competitor for the quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL Draft, so the result ends up being beneficial in that aspect of the team.  With two weeks left in the year, the Browns have a chance to continue climbing and getting closer to hopefully ensuring they are in position to draft the franchise quarterback that can lead this team.

The Oakland Raiders are currently pegged to pick ahead of the Browns, but if both teams finish 4-12, the Raiders will fall behind the Browns on their strength of schedule and the two teams will flip spots.  The Jacksonville Jaguars were dealing with a number of injuries and ultimately unable to defeat the Buffalo Bills.  As a result, the Jaguars are still slated to pick ahead of the Browns, but have a winnable game against Tennessee next week if they can get some players healthy.  Today, they were without Cecil Shorts, Jonathan Cyprien and Maurice Jones-Drew among the notables.  While the Jaguars were a train wreck much of the season, they have really gotten hot lately, winning four of their past six games.  If the Browns lose out and the Jaguars can beat the Titans or the Indianapolis Colts in the final week of the season, the Browns would be sitting with the 3rd pick in the draft.

The St. Louis Rams have the second pick courtesy of the Washington Redskins, though the Redskins did show signs of life with Kirk Cousins against Atlanta.  They ultimately went for 2 at the end of the game, failed and missed, which was certainly not ideal.  The Redskins and Cousins have the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants with their last two games.  Dallas is unpredictable week to week and that game is in Washington, which could help.  The last week of the season, they play the Giants who are playing terrible and have basically packed it in.  The strengths of schedule will be close, so if the Redskins can eke out another win, they could end up behind the Browns.

At this point, the Houston Texans are sitting with the 1st pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.  It would be a huge surprise if they did not take a quarterback; the question is which one.   The Rams are a wildcard at this point, because they do have Sam Bradford and he has shown ability but had injuries.  He is also on the hook for a ton of money, so the Rams could opt to address a franchise tackle to help keep him upright or they could move on from Bradford altogether.  There are rumors that most everyone not named Jeff Fisher could be on the hot seat as the season comes to a close.

In the event that the Rams were to take tackle, the Browns would be in the position to pick up the second quarterback in the draft.  This is presuming a field of Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr, Johnny Manziel, and probably Blake Bortles and Brett Smith.  It is unclear who the teams like who have the picks, but it does seem like Bridgewater and Carr will be the first two guys off of the board.   If the Texans can grab Bridgewater, the Rams can take Jake Matthews and the Browns can get Derek Carr, that would be a pretty ideal scenario.  It is an extremely difficult path, but given the way the Browns have lost the past few weeks, it certainly has a feeling of destiny.  This all goes by the way side if the Browns go out and beat the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers though.

Call it anti-fan or whatever, 4-12 with the Browns somehow getting third pick (possibly second if everything goes perfectly) and their franchise quarterback without giving up any other picks, as difficult as it might be, sounds pretty good.  As much as these wins that have been in their grasp and been lost have hurt, it would be nice if they all worked to the benefit of the team in the end.  They are most definitely due when it comes to that department.

Topics: Cleveland Browns, NFL Draft

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  • Mongoose

    1) I’ve heard Teddy Bridgewater may stay another year at Louisville.

    2) Based on what happened to David Carr, why does everybody think Derrick’s career will be any better?

    • Pete Smith

      I saw John Middlekauf’s report too. It’s that time of year when everyone loves college, wants another shot at the ship, wants to come back for the fans who love him. Then weeks go by when football season is over and by the time January 15th rolls around, they remember money is fun too and they declare. I would be stunned if Bridgewater stays. Could it happen? Sure. I doubt it.

      You mean when David Carr was sacked 76 times in one season in Houston? Don’t let that happen for starters. Writing off Derek Carr because of anything that happened to David Carr is nonsense. That is if you forget that David Carr never had a hint of blocking while he was in Houston and was beaten within an inch of his life.

      • Mongoose

        Thanks Pete. I agree with you in that I hope Bridgewater declares.

        Have you ever watched Derrick Carr play?

        To me (and I claim no ability to evaluate QB’s, but I have eyes) his footwork looks horrible. Throws off his back foot a lot. I just watched film of him against Oregon in 2012, and saw very few, if any, NFL type passes. By NFL type passes I mean medium (15 – 20 yards down field) with plenty of zip and accuracy. .Just a lot of short stuff and an occasional long pass with lots of air under it. A few easy slant passes down the middle, where the ball traveled about 10 yards. As far as decision making, he made several, absolutely horrible, decisions. I never saw him check down or go through a progression of more than 2. Locked on to the receiver and that is generally where the ball went.

        No thank you. I can almost guarantee the Browns will not be interested in Derrick Carr. Stats are good, but that is all, IMHO. Hope I am wrong, but I don’t see an NFL caliber QB.

        I will grant you that he was under some pressure as Oregon was a better team. But the only decent passes made were after the game was decided, with Oregon up by 30, eerly isimilar to Mr. Weeden : – )

        • Pete Smith

 I have definitely watched him.

          He is one of 11 QBs I have evaluated so far. He is the best I have evaluated so far and would fit this offense really, really well in my opinion.

          • Josh Hart

            Agreed Pete. Carr fits the Browns offense better than any QB in the draft. He needs to sit behind Hoyer (if he’s healthy) for a year or so, but he has the talent to be a very good nfl QB.

    • Josh Hart

      Last I checked they weren’t the same person. Brothers can have different careers you know. Also, David was thrown into a terrible situation in Houston and could’ve been better under different circumstances, just like Tim Couch.

      • Mongoose

        Yes, that is what Pete said as well, and I hope you guys are right. One way to evaluate QB’s is to Google their name followed by “vs”. I did this for Derrick Carr vs and found the 2012 game against Oregon. I expected to see some highlight throws, even though Oregon had a much better team. Take a look – maybe I’m being too negative, but I don’t see any throws or decisions that would make me think he could be a good NFL QB…

        • Pete Smith

          go to
          They do a fantastic job of compiling prospect tape. There are definitely a lot of horizontal throws, but that is largely to replace a running game. Keep watching. He is terrific.

  • Letterman007

    We can’t afford to make another mistake in getting the franchise QB we desperately need ! We have made so many and can’t keep wasting high draft choices!! This draft is make or break for the Browns !!

    • Pete Smith

      It is for Banner and company to be sure.

      • Letterman007

        I’m not to sure I trust, not so much Banner, as I don’t trust Lombardi ! His choices of Slaughter, McFadden and Gilky were not real impressive!! I realize they are somewhat of projects, but McFadden shouldn’t be, taken in the third round !! Mingo as a first pick isn’t exactly lighting up the league either. He has been ok at best!! You don’t draft projects with the first round pick, especially that high !!! Lombardi doesn’t have much of a track record either.

        • Pete Smith

          Who should they have taken with the 6th pick? I love what Mingo can be. I knew what he was going to be coming in… a project like Aldon Smith that needed time but his physical ability is off the charts. Mingo is also leading the team in sacks. The sky is the limit there.
          McFadden struggled early in the year because he was hurt in camp. I think he has played well for the most part in his opportunities since the bye week. Am I penciling him as a starter? No. Am I writing him off? Definitely not.
          I love Gilkey. He was a 7th round pick that had the potential to be a franchise guard. He needs to work on his technique, especially in pass protection, but his athleticism and potential is off the charts.
          I would not have made the McFadden pick but I don’t have a problem with it. Gilkey? Loved it. Mingo? I was hoping for it.
          All of that said, this is the front office’s chance to prove it. 10 total picks with 2 1′s, 2 3′s, 2 4′s. The team is headed in the right direction overall, but all of it rests on getting a franchise quarterback in this offseason

          • Letterman007

            All I hear is potential not is ! I don’t think because he leads the team in sacks , he what should we should have done! Where was he yesterday? This team does not have that many sacks !! They have games when, like yesterday, the pressure on the QB was negligent !! Buster Skrine and Joe Haden got burned. McFadden was terrible and I think Mingo might have had one sack, or close to it.
            Matt Forte got how many, 127 yards rushing through our supposed staunch D line. There was not a lot of resistance yesterday !! Potential is great, but some must be realized and it does you no good to continually wait on that potential to turn into fruition of a finished product !!
            My point is there is much, oh so much more work to be done on this team !! More players needed than just a few ! They need bigger corners, middle linebackers that can cover backs and tight ends. Someone to put pressure on the QB. And we haven’t started on the offense? Yes you can have a bad game, may be more than one. But by the whole team is yet another thing.

          • Letterman007

            PS, Let’s not even get into the terrible Red Zone defense ! What is they rank 28th or is it 30th. Been bad all year and nothing has fixed it! Coach Horton needs to figure out how to make adjustments on the fly or get an assistant who can !!

          • Josh Hart

            With a good offense the defense will look much better. You can’t expect everything out of them when they’re on the field for most of a game and the offense always turns the ball over or goes 3 and out.

          • Letterman007

            That doesn’t answer any questions about the defense. The offense scored enough in the Pats game and the D couldn’t close it out. The RedZone problem isn’t just in the third or forth quarter. It happens throughout the game and they continue to have BIG problems in the Red Zone !!! The defense can’t close a game out its that simple!! Adjustments need to take place and evidently they aren’t or they are the wrong ones, because it isn’t working flat out !!!!!

          • Pete Smith

            You avoided the question. Who should have the Browns picked? With his sack yesterday, Sheard leads team with 5.5 sacks to Mingo’s 5. Team had 39 as a total.
            By the way, the best player on the defensive line had a heart procedure.
            They need a third corner. Haden and Skrine are perfectly fine.
            This is quite a bit of panic here and there shouldn’t be

          • Letterman007

            I know the heart procedure as I have had the same thing and now have permanent atrial Fib !!i had what he had done and it lasted two years. The best player has been there and it hasn’t helped the defenses Red Zone or third down ineptness !! Haden and Skrine are short and it showed yesterday as the Bears receivers took them to task!! We need a better corner that has size and put Skrine back to dime back!!
            I may have gone with the road grating guard from Alabama as a first choice. They spent all their assets on defense and we are still 4&10!!! The one offensive addition is Davon Bess, Little junior, how has that worked out !!?
            We got better on defense, yet we show no improvement in our record !! How does that happen?? I’m not panicking, just asking questions no one can or won’t answer !! And stating facts that are true.

        • Josh Hart

          Farmer is also there. I for one think this FO has done a great job for the most part with what they were given to work with.

          • Pete Smith

            agreed, but as I have been saying all along, this draft is everything for them. If they can’t deliver a franchise QB, it is not going to mean much.

  • Pridenpoise

    Sorry the Browns are winning next week and the Raiders are getting Carr.

  • John Duquette

    I guess who we gonna draft question is an ongoing saga and justifiability so as there is a draft every year and so much new talent coming available. it is tiring for me to still be talking about Tim Couch 14 years after the fact. .Do we need a quarterback yeah but I believe developmental QB is the long term answer as I believe we already have the short term answer in Brian Hoyer. I know, I know we only saw him for 2 games but very impressive and I hear he is working hard already to ready for next year. If we get a QB with potential we can develop him without throwing him directly into the fire. Need offense line help, safety help, special teams help. After yesterdays performance that fact should be clearly evident.

  • James Hague

    If I was the Browns GM I would certainly give that first round pick in the 20′s up for Captain Kirk. I’d also see if the Patriots are willing to part with Ryan Mallett for draft picks. Franchise QB’s are extremely rare. Nobody know’s this better than we do here in Cleveland. Here you have two seasoned players with big upside as opposed to selecting an unknown commodity in the draft who you have no NFL preseason or regular season tapes to evaluate against NFL competition. No price is too steep to get a guy to play under center for the next decade. I’m assuming that’s why Mike Lombardi has stockpiled picks?

    • Peter Smith

      What does Cousins do that Hoyer cannot do? I advocated picking Cousins the year he came out in the third round. The Browns could have picked him in round 4. What has he done to justify a first round pick?
      Mallett has done even less and I have less interest in him than Cousins. He is the furthest thing from a proven commodty. The only difference between drafting a quarterback and trading for Mallett is terminology. He has thrown as many passes in a regular season game as these college quarterbacks have. Effectively, you’re spending a high pick on a slightly younger Weeden.