Cleveland Browns: Is trading up in the 2019 NFL Draft the perfect plan?
The Cleveland Browns are in one of the lowest draft positions they have been in for years, but does trading up make the most sense?
Heading into the 2019 off-season, the Cleveland Browns are in one of the best positions they have been in since returning to Cleveland in 1999.
They have found their franchise quarterback, have plenty of young talent on both sides of the ball, and have an experienced coaching staff surrounding a young head coach that the players trust. Most of those factors helped the Browns complete one of their most successful seasons in recent memory in 2018.
However, the success that they had last season put them in an odd position for the Browns organization: having a draft selection in the low teens.
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For most of the last 20 drafts, the Browns have usually been selecting in the top-five or top-ten of the draft, giving them the chance to select the top talent in class. Them actually selecting the best talent with those top picks is a conversation for another day.
The days of the Browns missing on most of their selections seem to be in the past, as general manager John Dorsey has done an excellent job of drafting during his time as a general manager. Besides two questionable picks last year – Austin Corbett and Chad Thomas – Dorsey nailed most of his 2018 NFL Draft selections.
Although the Browns do not have a top selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, Dorsey will have another chance to make another big impact through the draft. Cleveland will have an extra selection in the third round, two extra selections in the fifth round, and one extra selection in the seventh round.
But instead of using all of those picks to bring 11 rookies to Cleveland in May, Dorsey should consider investing those extra selections to move up in the first round of the draft. It will likely take more than a few middle-round selections to move up a good amount in the first round, but Cleveland has the ammunition to pull it off.
Unlike most years, the Browns do not have a lot of major holes to fill across the roster. Instead, they have two or three positions that could use a starting talent while the rest of the positions would need depth.
So instead of waiting and hoping that someone falls into their lap at 17th overall or hope that their “guy” makes it to 17, the Browns should attempt to move up for somebody that they may consider an elite talent.
It is hard to say what Dorsey is looking for in the draft, but the assumption is that he will be targeting a defensive player in the first round. Interior defensive linemen are one of the strengths of this draft class, and the Browns are in need of a running-mate next to Larry Ogunjobi. By trading up, the Browns would have a better chance to select someone like Ed Oliver, Rashan Gary, or Jeffery Simmons.
Dorsey could still get a good defensive tackle at 17, but if he can move up five or six spots to get one of the best defensive tackles, then he should seriously consider moving up. Even if it is not a defensive tackle and it’s a player they have high on their board, they should move up if they feel that player will not make it to them.
Even if they are not targeting a defensive tackle in the first round, moving up could help them land another potential shutdown cornerback Greedy Williams, a jack of all trades linebacker in Devin White, or their next left tackle for years to come in Jonah Williams. There are several options if the Browns move up in the draft.
Dorsey has shown an aggressiveness when it comes to moving up in drafts. For example, Dorsey traded up in the 2017 NFL Draft from the 27th overall selection to the 10th overall selection to select Patrick Mahomes. Although quarterbacks are valued higher than any other position, Dorsey made an aggressive decision to select his guy.
And if the main concern is the Browns still need more talent on the roster so they should not get rid of any picks, they can address some of those needs in free agency. Cleveland is one of the teams with the most cap space this off-season, so they can add a lot of pieces in free agency if they feel that it is necessary.
It may be because people are not used to the Browns selecting so low in the draft, but trading up and adding one more top-tier rookie to this roster could be exactly what the Browns need. There is a lot of good talent at the top of this draft, and the Browns need to consider every avenue to get one of those players.
Dorsey may feel that he can get his guy at 17, but they have the firepower needed to move up in the draft. As stated earlier, it is impossible to know what Dorsey is thinking, but adding another elite talent to this roster could help push this team into the playoffs for years to come.