Cleveland Browns: 5 mistakes that set up 2019 for failure

Cleveland Browns Freddie Kitchens (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns Freddie Kitchens (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns Jabrill Peppers OBJ trade (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

Trading with New York

The trade with the New York Giants was a giant and monumental waste of assets. Sure, Odell Beckham Jr. wasn’t a complete waste, though he only caught about half the passes thrown to him. With the offense being so predicated on timing, and the need for receivers to get over, it’s not surprising that Beckham had such an off-year. If the injury he had was as severe as we were lead to believe, he may not have been able to perform his job as necessary, making him a liability on a team with actual depth. The Browns didn’t have depth, hence why they relied so heavily on him.

Olivier Vernon, the other player acquired in that trade, was an absolute disaster. Vernon wasn’t just injured for a good chunk of the year but was also highly ineffective when he was on the field. At least Beckham filled a need, as he was the only other passing option to throw to besides Jarvis Landry. Vernon was in a likely similar situation considering the state of the defensive line but he failed to generate even the barest minimum of difference.

Giving up former Browns guard Kevin Zeitler in the trade to the Giants wrecked the offensive line. The timing was off, but more important the team wasn’t cohesive enough for complicated snap counts. The number of penalties made by the offensive line alone throughout the year showed just how necessary an overhaul for the line is this offseason.

The other player the Browns sent over, Jabril Peppers, also hurt. The team had tackling problems, especially in the second half and Peppers was always a stout defender. While he missed a good chunk of time in New York, he was far more effective in 11 games in New York than he did in 16 in Cleveland the year prior. Peppers has a great upside and considering the Browns will be looking for two potential starters at safety, it seems stupid now in hindsight to give up on a great player like Peppers.

Add on the fact the Browns gave up a 1st and 3rd round draft pick to acquire two underachieving, big salaried players hurts even more. The first-round pick was the 17th selection and the Giants picked defensive tackle Dexter Lawerence. The very next pick, the Minnesota Vikings picked center Garrett Bradbury. A versatile interior lineman who started the entire year for the Vikings. Picks 22 and 23 were tackles Andre Dillard (Eagles) and Tytus Howard (Texans). Any three of those men would’ve improved the offensive line tremendously and kept the team from being so porous in its pass protection.

Now the Browns still need another wide receiver, several new defensive linemen, one if not two new safeties and at two if not three offensive linemen. Hey, at least we have an injury-prone Beckham though, right?