Cleveland Browns: Don’t draft scared
The Cleveland Browns have two of the top four picks in the 2018 NFL Draft. Conventional wisdom says one of them has to be a quarterback. But conventional wisdom is often just a phrase for drafting scared.
Imagine if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had made this announcement from the podium at the 2016 NFL Draft. “With the second pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select Joey Bosa, defensive lineman, Ohio State.” You can substitute the name Ezekiel Elliott if you’d like, or Jalen Ramsey. I challenge any Browns fan to say any of those players wouldn’t make this team better, and not just on paper.
The NFL allows teams to go from worst to first rather quickly, and the draft is a huge reason for that. The worst teams (barring trades) have their pick of the best players.
However, this concept of a quick turnaround only happens if you draft the right players. If you have one of the top five picks in the draft, it’s usually because your team has a lot of needs. Ignoring those needs by reaching for a player or by trading down for more assets can set your team back more than simply taking a quality football player who can help your team now.
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Which brings me back to 2016. Even as a first-round talent, Carson Wentz had comparisons to Blake Bortles. And the Browns clearly did not see Wentz as a top-20 quarterback. Remember when chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta said this:
"“Even though you have a desperate need for one (a quarterback), you have to resist the temptation of taking that guy just because you have a need if you don’t believe he’s one of those 20 guys at the end of the day.” — per NBC Sports"
Teams miss on players all the time. The greater miss, however, was trading away the opportunity to use that pick to select a player that could have helped the Browns. Conventional wisdom says trading down not once, but twice to collect assets is drafting smart. A contrarian point of view views it as drafting scared.
Which brings us to this year and more quarterback speculation. Are any quarterbacks worth being selected in the top five?
NFL Media Analyst, Daniel Jeremiah does not have a quarterback listed among his top five prospects. However, his top five does include Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb and Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. Would any of these players make an 0-16 team better no matter who is playing quarterback?
Next: 7-Round Mock Draft brings Browns a new QB
With two of the top four picks in the upcoming NFL draft, John Dorsey has an opportunity that few general managers will ever have. But he can only turn that into wins on the field if he has the conviction to draft his guys. And if that means that he doesn’t draft a quarterback, so be it. Don’t draft scared.