COMMENTARY – Cleveland Browns new general manager John Dorsey isn’t Sashi Brown. Tyrod Taylor isn’t Deshone Kizer. Jarvis Landry is already the best wide receiver on the team’s roster without even taking a snap in practice. The Cleveland Browns may not be world beaters this season and may not make the playoffs for the next couple of years, but the moves the team has made within the last week has shown the organization’s commitment to making change for the better.
With the Combine a thing of the past, NFL free agency about to kick into high gear and the NFL Draft only six weeks away, things in Cleveland are starting to heat up, even if the weather is still a bit frigid in Ohio.
The Cleveland Browns have won one game in the last two years, but appear to be primed for a major leap in the standings. After seeing the Jacksonville Jaguars improve their record by seven games in 2017, it’s not as far-fetched a thought to think this is a team that could be competitive with the right parts added to a fractured lineup, solid moves in free agency, and drafting a franchise quarterback, offensive weapons and help on both the offensive and defensive line.
It’s also possible that they fate of the Browns has already been sealed as one of the league’s worst organizations.
I am going to walk a bit out of my comfort zone and poke the bear a bit. I know Robert Cobb, the man who knows everything Browns, will see my point, as I hope you readers take this as an opinion, not the gospel. The Browns have many players to choose from with the first and fourth picks in the first round of the NFL Draft. While taking a running back first overall seems to be the sentiment amongst the media masses and the faithful who call this team their own, it is not necessarily the right path to take.
Saquon Barkley is the best running back in the draft, possibly the best prospect overall. There are three quarterbacks the Browns must consider. There is an offensive lineman who could help stabilize a weakness on the team. And there is a defensive back who could give the back end a legitimate heavy hitter in coverage. This is no easy task for Dorsey or his staff when making the right choices for the Cleveland Browns. Ideally, any player who can come in and change the dynamic of this organization will be considered the “right” pick.
“The problem with running backs is it is a fact they generally have a much shorter career than quarterbacks. Ki-Jana Carter was the last back taken first overall,” says Jim Keating, who is part of a Cleveland Browns’ draft fan page on Facebook. “He tore up his knee in his first pre-season game and his career was down the tubes. Since Carter, there have been FOURTEEN quarterbacks chosen with the first pick in the draft and NO running backs. Maybe NFL General Managers are on to something.”
The numbers aren’t lost on anyone, especially the fans. They know about losing. They know about the situation at quarterback. They all wish for Bernie Kosar and Brian Sipe and wind up with Brian Hoyer and Brady Quinn. That’s the luck of the Browns. That’s what happens when bad things happen to good organizations.
I think there is a chance the Cleveland Browns could take a franchise quarterback first overall – whether it is Sam Darnold of USC, Josh Rosen of UCLA or even Josh Allen of Wyoming. The fourth pick is where it could get dicey. The Browns could move back up to second and trade with the New York Giants, all but assuring them of a quarterback and Barkley. The team could also grab Alabama Minkah Fitzpatrick or offensive lineman Quentin Nelson. At the top of the second round, the team could grab Derrius Guice or Nick Chubb or land a solid offensive lineman. Choices are the Browns’ best friends right now.
If anything, the suspense of the Cleveland Draft is the most relevant thing to happen in this city since LeBron James came home and brought an NBA title to the “Mistake by the Lake.”
The Browns will probably grab Barkley first overall and see who the Giants grab with the second pick – I suspect it will be Darnold. Allen or Rosen will be hailed as the savior of the franchise and everyone will talk playoffs and winning the AFC North.
This is a franchise that isn’t close to coming that far. Cleveland will hit a home run with one or both of their first-round picks. They may win four games this season. And over the course of the next few years, Dorsey and this franchise will get better. This is just the start of the process. If any of these rookies have an impact on this season, then the Browns are moving in the right direction.
Until then, this is still a 0-16 franchise and has plenty to prove. Let’s just pump the breaks a bit and see what happens before we declare them world beaters just yet.