It was the first analytics draft, and its’ a good reason why Browns’ fans hate analytics.
Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta was bringing the moneyball approach to the NFL, and that meant trying to accelerate the rebuilding process by basically yielding two drafts out of one. The more players picked, the more likely it was that someone would stand out.
So Cleveland went on to take 14 players in the 2016 draft, and only one became a significant contributor (Joe Schobert). You could make the case for Rashard Higgins, as well, but of his four seasons in Cleveland, only one (2018) was one to write home about.
As for the first-round pick, it’s a name you wish you could forget: Corey Coleman. Coleman could’ve been just another first-round pick who didn’t work out. Browns’ history is full of them. But how the Browns got to Coleman is what makes this one of the worst drafts of all time.
Armed with the No. 2 pick and in need of a quarterback, the Browns traded down to No. 8, allowing the Philadelphia Eagles to select Carson Wentz. The North Dakota State product still has his detractors, largely because of injuries. That said, he’s got 97 touchdowns passes against 35 interceptions in his four-year career. He’s 32-24 and a starter and although he didn’t play in the Super Bowl for the Eagles, he’s a big reason they got there.
OK, so the Browns traded down to eight. Take the best player available right? The team had been stripped down to its nuts and bolts. Talent was needed! Nope, the Browns punted, trading down to 15, allowing Tennessee to pick Jack Conklin with the eighth overall pick. The Browns tapped Shon Coleman as their tackle of the future in the third round. It didn’t work out.
Conklin turned out to be a good one. The Browns certainly think so, evidenced by the $42 million contract they just gave the right tackle.
The Browns finally took Coleman, who’s SPARQ scores were said to be through the roof. He totaled just 56 catches and 718 yards before the Browns, in another regime change (John Dorsey) cut bait, trading him to the Buffalo Bills for a seventh-round selection.
The other names from that draft: Emmanuel Ogbah, Cody Kessler, Carl Nassib, Seth DeValve, Spencer Drango, Ricardo Louis, Jordan Payton.