How the Cleveland Browns can beat the draft quarterback market

Joel W. Cade
Dec 3, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) throws the ball in the second half against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the ACC Championship college football game at Camping World Stadium. Clemson Tigers won 42-35. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 3, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) throws the ball in the second half against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the ACC Championship college football game at Camping World Stadium. Clemson Tigers won 42-35. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jan 1, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam (left) talks with executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown and head coach Hue Jackson before the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 1, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam (left) talks with executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown and head coach Hue Jackson before the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

To determine if drafting a quarterback first overall beats the market, we must first ask if the market can be played in reverse. Can a team whose slot is the first overall pick, like the Cleveland Browns, beat the quarterback market by over-drafting a player?

In years past, the quarterback market has been set by a team willing to trade up from a lower pick to a higher pick to draft a quarterback. In this scenario, a quarterback was valued by the team in question to be a franchise quarterback. Thus, the cost to the team to take him was inconsequential.

In 2016 the cost to move up from the 15th pick was 791.4 points, or the 21st overall pick. If the Browns wanted to play the market in reverse, they would need to over-draft a player by less than 800 draft value points to beat the price used to acquire the first overall pick.

Per the Johnson chart and Kiper’s current rankings, if the Browns drafted the highest ranked quarterback, who is Tribusky at 16th overall (1,000 points), with the first overall pick (3,000 points), they would expend an excess of 2,000 draft points or the third overall pick.

In a reverse market, the Browns would have paid 2,000 draft points to draft Trubisky. This is a significant price even compared to what the Rams paid to move up to the first pick in 2016 (791.4).

But could the Browns absorb the 2,000-point draft expense with the capital gained from their trade with the Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans last season? Let’s find out.

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