Browns draft chatter has Cleveland as a team more likely to trade up.
The 2021 NFL Draft draws nearer by the day and there’s been no shortage of predictions as to what the Browns will do.
One thing is certain: The team is going to go with a defensive player. It’s the team’s biggest position of need, although I will say, I saw a writer mock an offensive lineman to the Browns with the 26th pick.
The Browns have also been talked about as a team that could trade down. They been mentioned as an organization that could trade up. We all know from recent history that the analytically inclined Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta loves trading down, so would he do it again?
The Athletic’s Chris Burke believes the Browns are more likely to trade up! He reasoned Cleveland would talk themselves into the idea that they are a player or two away from the promised land, and that mindset would lead to a deal.
For what it’s worth, Burke had Michigan edge rusher Kwity Paye falling to the Browns at No. 26. I’ll be surprised if Paye is still around when the Browns pick.
However, we know the edge position is a spot favored by analytics. Would DePodesta green light a trade up to secure a defensive end? The Browns could always take one at No. 26, but there is no Myles Garrett or Nick Bosa in this draft. By the end of the first round, the talent pool will have significantly thinned out and the Browns will be gambling on traits.
Burke’s point about the Browns being a player away is spot on. The Browns window to finally win the Super Bowl is wide open for the next two seasons. It doesn’t shut after that, but with Baker still on his rookie deal and cap room to boot, the Browns will not find themselves in a better position to truly compete for the title than 2022 and 2023.
Look for the Browns to either stand pat, or trade down. Heck DePodesta and Andrew Berry were in the front office that punted when presented with the opportunity to pick Deshaun Watson. Do you really think they’re going to trade up for a player, such as Paye, if they believe he’s going to say, in the low teens?
It seems unlikely, but who knows what analytics will teach us on draft day.