Draft day trades aren’t the Cleveland Browns problem; drafting at all is

Cleveland Browns 2019 NFL Draft
Cleveland Browns 2019 NFL Draft /

Move or don’t move, the Cleveland Browns have had next to no success in the NFL Draft and little of it has to do with the fact they traded some picks

So many people are adamant against the Cleveland Browns trading their draft picks in the first round to either move back or move up. For some reason fans think the team should just stay put, citing times the team moved down and how it turned out. Firstly, the Browns weren’t moving down to try draft Julio Jones or Carson Wentz. They didn’t want them. So why stay in that spot? Secondly, the team has stayed pat many times and still walked away with nothing to show for it.

If you want to argue the Browns were bad at talent evaluating, fine, but that has nothing to do with trades. Trades, on their own, are not a bad thing. It’s the people in charge who determine if these trades work out or not. For the Browns, they’ve had bad management, so they’ve had bad results.

Fans need to realize though that the Browns aren’t some continuous monolith that has never changed. Since 1999 the team has had three owners, 10 general managers/vice presidents, and more head coaches than there are Rockettes. You can’t hate the team in 2020 for the decisions made in 1999. You can’t even hate the team in 2020 for the decisions made in 2019. The turnover is super high here.

So every time a fan goes “BUT THE BROWNS PASSED UP ON…” tell them to shut up. This is not the same management, this is not the same owner, this is not the same head coach, this is not the same philosophy. Yes, the greatest predictor of future events are past events, but that’s not applicable here because we don’t know what Andrew Berry is about yet. Recent hire Kevin Stefanski is coming in with a pretty simple success plan. One that has worked whenever it’s executed: establish the run, then throw deep. It’s like that line from Remember the Titans when coach Herman Boone (Denzel Washington) explains his offense.

"I run 6 plays, split veer. Like novocaine. Just give it time, it always works."

That’s more or less Stefanski’s offense. Run the ball down the throat to make the safeties cheat, then play action for touchdowns. If they don’t cheat, you’ll score anyway, because nothing is funnier to watch than a 180 pound defensive back trying to change direction mid-play to tackle a 240 pound monster of a running back who’s been running one direction the whole time.

So as far as the team’s success goes, this is all new, uncharted territory. Competent-appearing management?  A head coach with a gameplan that’s historically proven to work? What? How is this real-life…

As for the notion that the Browns bungle trades, well, no they don’t. In the Browns history since 1999, the team has only drafted four Pro Bowlers from their original position in the draft. Braylon Edwards, Joe Thomas, Joe Haden, and Myles Garrett.

The team has drafted almost as many from draft day trades. The team traded for Kellen Winslow Jr., Alex Mack, and Denzel Ward; while also getting Jabril Peppers, and everyone’s favorite tight end apparently (though I don’t know why) David Njoku. Sure, Peppers and Njoku aren’t Pro Bowlers, and Njoku would be lucky to make the team next year, but fans are super high on them as well.

Unless you’re super high on Carson Wentz (which why would you be, he’s a systems quarterback, hello Nick Foles), then really the only bad trade the team made was getting away from Julio Jones. The statute of limitations has expired on that complaint too, so move on.

Don’t be so quick to bemoan the Browns for trading up or down in the NFL Draft. The team’s entire draft history since 1999 has been bad. There are just as many examples of successful trades as there are bad ones. So pump the breaks and relax. Everything’s gonna be ok. Or it’s not but it’s not going to be because the team traded a pick.

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