Cleveland Browns: Rams at No. 1 may not impact draft plans
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns’ draft plans took a hit from the Los Angeles Rams, but just how much it will hurt won’t be known until draft night.
The draft plans of the Cleveland Browns took a small hit earlier today when the Tennessee Titans fleeced the Los Angeles Rams in a trade for the first overall selection of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Just how much the trade impacts the Browns will not be known until a first minutes after the first round of the draft opens on April 28, but it could be pretty minimal.
To move up to the No. 1 spot the Rams gave up their first-round pick, two second-round picks and a third-round pick this year, plus their first-round pick and third-round pick next season. In return, they receive the Titans’ first-round pick, fourth-round pick and sixth-round pick this year.
This is the seventh time since 1990 that the No. 1 pick has been traded, according to NFL.com, with the last time occurring in 2004 when the San Diego Chargers selected and then traded Eli Manning to the New York Giants. It is also the biggest draft trade, in terms of draft picks, since the Washington Redskins traded with the Rams in 2012 to select Robert Griffin III, who is now with the Browns.
While you can never underestimate the possibility that a team led by Jeff Fisher will mess this up, let’s give the Rams the benefit of the doubt and go with the prevailing believe that they have moved to the top of the draft to select a quarterback.
That’s where they have the opportunity to mess with the Browns.
If Cleveland has its heart set on either Cal quarterback Jared Goff or North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz and the Rams feel the same way, the Browns will once again be left with the short end of the stick when it comes to finding their next franchise quarterback.
Of course, the Browns reportedly like Goff and the Rams may be leaning toward Wentz:
But if the Rams select the quarterback that the Browns don’t want, or covet any other player for that matter, then the Browns are no worse off than when the Titans held the top pick. Cleveland can still wind up with the quarterback they want, or add an impact player to the defense as they will have their pick between Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey, Oregon’s DeForest Buckner and UCLA’s Myles Jack, among others.
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The move also opens up a clearer path if the Browns want to entertain their own trade offers for the No. 2 overall selection. They now know the value of the first pick and have a starting point to build the parameters of a trade. If there is a team that likes Goff and Wentz equally, and the Browns can convince them that the second pick is the only way to land the quarterback that the Rams don’t take, they may be in business.
The biggest loser in today’s trade may be Mississippi offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, who was in play as the top pick if the Titans had remained in the top spot. But now he could easily drop down to six (at the earliest) or later as there should be little interest from the Browns, San Diego Chargers, Dallas Cowboys or Jacksonville Jaguars in his services. And if the Baltimore Ravens don’t select him at No. 6, it is not entirely impossible that Tunsil could fall all the way out of the top 10.
The Browns took a cut when the Rams swung the deal with the Titans. Whether it is just a paper cut or a serious wound remains to be seen.