Browns Draft Philosophies
It’s never too early to talk about the NFL Draft, especially during the doldrums of the offseason. Having said that, let’s focus in on three philosophies that should be employed by the Cleveland Browns during draft weekend in a couple of months. Whether the guys making the decisions actually buy in to these is undetermined; however the team must be better at choosing talent than the guys before them have.
Handcuff the Quarterback Position
This relates to choosing a signal caller early in the draft (i.e. the second pick) and drafting another guy at the same position a few rounds later. This occurred in 2012 for the Washington franchise and it appears to be working (however I have my reservations). Robert Griffin flamed out and Kirk Cousins picked up the pieces and led the team to the playoffs last year for the team.
The philosophy can work for two different reasons. First (and obvious), it gives the team two chances instead of one to secure their franchise quarterback. Secondly, the guy chosen later will have time to develop and could play after sitting and watching a few seasons. Thus, the team would have a short-term and longer-term window for developing their quarterback. Is there a chance that both signal callers could be poor? Of course, but that does not mean a team should avoid this strategy?
Don’t Trade Up – Ever
I can go through the examples of failure in the past (including Johnny Manziel, Terrance West, Justin Gilbert, Brady Quinn, Trent Richardson, and Kellen Winslow – to name a few) but I will refrain from that. When trading up in the draft, not only do you have to take the right guy – but you are also willing to sacrifice additional assets. Since the former rarely occurs, the odds of the Browns trading to a higher selection and not needing extra choices are near zero. The Browns need to keep it simple – take the best guy available and avoid overthinking it.
Draft for Now
This would eliminate the first round pick of Cameron Erving last season, as he was selected as a reserve offensive lineman who could become a starter down the road. That was a poor decision by Ray Farmer and one of the reasons why he’s no longer with the Browns. The team needs to choose guys who can play right now – there can be exceptions (i.e. sixth or seventh round options), but the team cannot draft guys in the first two days of the draft and hope they will sometime be a starter.
Conclusion: I have faith and confidence that Sashi Brown, Paul DePodesta, and Hue Jackson can be a huge improvement over Ray Farmer and company in choosing draft selections. First, they will not look to the future in the first round of draft, the guys will refrain the temptation to trade for earlier picks (I am guessing analytics is against this notion), and they will exhaust as many resources possibly in finding the right quarterback. It appears simple but since 1999, smart moves on draft weekend and the Browns have been like oil and water.