John Dorsey as a talent evaluator
Like many Cleveland Browns fans, this fan has a high opinion of John Dorsey and what he accomplished in Cleveland. If I am ever fortunate enough to meet him in person, I will certainly shake his hand (using rubber COVID-resistant globes, of course) and thank him for his work. I hope you will, too.
Dorsey’s major accomplishments included bringing players like Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, Denzel Ward, Jarvis Landy, Odell Beckham, Jr., and Sheldon Richardson to Cleveland. In addition to the obvious, he led the front office in acquiring the services of several players at all levels, including undrafted free agents and young veterans cut by other teams.
Dorsey knows talent, plain and simple. This fan would set the over-under at 10 for the number of Dorsey UDFA’s and recycled veterans who are going to play in the NFL this year. Half of them will play for the Browns, while the remainder will be cut and will have to find a home with another NFL team.
In Kansas City, he got fired partly because ownership thought he spent too much for quarterbacks Alex Smith, Nick Foles, Pat Mahomes. Imagine the gall of trading up for Pat Mahomes, when the team already had Alex Smith. Well, after Dorsey left, Alex Smith led the NFL in quarterback rating and total passing yards, while the same year Nick Foles went on to win a Super Bowl with the Eagles by outdueling Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. As for Mahomes, he was not quite the wasted pick that they had feared.
In Cleveland, his main problem was hiring the wrong coach. There is an unwritten rule in the NFL (except here I am writing it) that you only get to hire one Freddie Kitchens per career.
He also got in trouble for cap management. GMs are supposed to save cap dollars and accumulate draft picks during a rebuilding process and then spend extra and trade draft picks on a Super Bowl run. But if you spend as if the team is a contender, and also start trading away draft picks, but the goes 6-10, you are going to get in trouble.
Another issue is the drafting and management of troubled players. In Green Bay, Dorsey was with the Packers during the Brett Favre era and was an advocate for Aaron Rodgers. Hence strong free-spirited personalities were the norm.
Perhaps for that reason, Dorsey downplayed the risks of acquiring players like Antonio Callaway, Mychal Kendricks, Greg Robinson, Desmond Harrison, Kareem Hunt, and others. Yet the team has not shown any particular aptitude for assisting the recovery of players like this. Hence the pattern is to invest in upside, and then bail immediately when trouble occurs. Not good.
Not that players need to be saints to play in Cleveland, but history teaches that our team doesn’t have much ability to help players like this. Johnny Manziel, Justin Gilbert, and Josh Gordon should be reminders that it is not easy to overcome substance and other issues and play football. So stop drafting these guys, or at least wait till the sixth round before taking chances.
So there is ample explanation for why John Dorsey was not retained as the Browns general manager. But there is no requirement to dislike him, either. He showed that he is a true football warrior and worthy of great respect.