How analytics should have been used by Cleveland Browns in the 2018 NFL draft
This article describes what might have been. What if an analytics guy had been running the 2018 draft for the Browns? John Dorsey was a brilliant personnel guy but was not a good cap manager and had no idea how to trade draft picks. The 2018 NFL draft was an opportunity for the Browns to completely destroy the NFL, but it was missed.
Recall the Browns had the first and fourth pick in the draft.
I’m going to guess that the Browns draft card had quarterbacks ranked as follows: Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Lamar Jackson. Also, note that it was a very talent-rich draft and plenty of draft picks were worth taking in the first round that year.
Okay, so here we go. Browns draft Baker, Giants draft Saquon Barkley, the generational running back, Jets trade up for Sam Darnold, and the Browns draft not Denzel Ward, but instead take Josh Allen. Oh yes. We are going to do draft and trade. Holy cow!
There’s one less quarterback on the market than the rest of the NFL thought. Everybody makes offers to the Browns now. Denver drafts Bradley Chubb, and Indianapolis drafts Quenten Nelson. Buffalo makes a deal with Tampa for their seventh overall pick and hands that over, plus their first-round pick in 2019 for Josh Allen.
With the seventh overall pick, the Browns select Josh Rosen. The pocket passers are gone now. Arizona offers the Browns 15th overall plus a first-round pick in 2019 for Rosen. The Browns accept.
When it is the Browns turn at 15th overall, they draft cornerback Jaire Alexander, the best corner on the board. They probably think about pushing their luck by drafting Lamar Jackson and setting up a competition with Baker Mayfield, but the position players are really solid in this draft.
The net result was that they accumulated two extra first-round picks in 2019. The only reason this was possible is that there were four quarterbacks believed to be can’t-miss prospects, or five if you count Jackson. Jackson, however, was controversial because he was a dual-threat player and behooves the team to design a different offense than the pocket passing style that most teams strive for.
That could have been the revolutionary team-building draft that would have knocked the rest of the NFL on its butt.
Hue could have looked forward to an improving team year-to-year, starting in 2018.
Instead, the Browns burned up every draft pick they had, and traded away their 2019 draft pick for the highest-paid player on the team in Odell Beckham, Jr. Got to have speedy wide receivers! They greatly overspent their cap allowance in 2019 in anticipation of coach Freddie Kitchens’ Super Bowl run, and brought us into a new era with a new general manager and coach.