Coming off another losing season and the second ever 0-16 campaign, the Cleveland Browns are once again moving in a new direction with another new general manager in John Dorsey. Dorsey now has the responsibility of trying to turn over a Browns franchise that has only one win over the past two years.
The Browns have a whopping twelve draft picks in this upcoming draft, including two in the first round and three second round picks. The wasting and misuse of draft picks have set the Browns back multiple times and once a new general manager and head coach come in, history seems to repeat itself. John Dorsey has been known for making good picks in the draft and has been credited with making the Packers one of the best drafting teams in football with his help in choosing players such as Clay Matthews, Greg Jennings and perhaps the greatest quarterback of all time, Aaron Rodgers. During his tenure in Kansas City, he was able to select players such as Travis Kelce, Marcus Peters(now with the Rams), Tyreek Hill, Patrick Mahomes, and Kareem Hunt. With this all being said, the future seems bright right?
Yes, a general manager with a good track record with previous teams is exciting and comforting but not every pick he has made has been perfect. Not every pick is going to pan out and not every player will positively impact your franchises locker room, regardless to if the player is great on the field. The Browns realize that and trying to build a team strictly through the draft may be the wrong way of approaching things. Seeing all the potential player available through trades and Cleveland not being a attractive destination for free agents, the Browns decided to make a splash.
On March 9th, the Browns took the football community by storm by making a few trades that help establish they are keen on trying to turn this ship around. The Browns acquired star wide receiver Jarvis Landry from the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a 2018 3rd round pick and a 2019 7th round pick. Landry had a solid year in Miami with veteran quarterback Jay Cutler compiling over 100 receptions and finishing a few yards shy of a thousand. Some may wonder how it is possible to have over 100 receptions and not reach 1,000 yards, but Landry is a reliable pass catcher and has the speed to stretch the field. Like Josh Gordan, Landry is a red zone monster and will help Corey Coleman become a more productive receiver. Landry will be a Brown for at least the 2018 season.
The Browns sent their starting quarterback from this past season Deshone Kizer to the Green Bay Packers in exchange for cornerback Demarious Randall. The Browns recieve a solid cornerback to pair alongside Jason McCourty and Jamar Taylor. The Packers recieve Kizer, who was thrown into action when he really was not ready to be a starter in the NFL and had his confidence shattered by Hue Jackson. Kizer going to Green Bay allows him to learn under future hall of famer Aaron Rodgers and will allow him to develop and meet his high potential in an organization known for above average quarterbacks.
These two moves make sense for the Browns as they not only address a need on offense and defense, but bring in two players that are proven and quality starters in the NFL. The Browns are finally realizing that being aggressive through trades may have help boost them in the right direction and using their cap currency smartly in a way to bring in quality talent is the way to build a solid foundation.
However, the Browns made one more trade that day that might have made the Browns go from a franchise ready to redeem themselves and move forward as smart organization, back to Cleveland being Cleveland.
The Browns decided that they would give away a third round pick to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for Tyrod Taylor. Now you may question to why giving away a third round pick for a quarterback who just lead the Bills back to the playoffs for the first time since 1999 is such a bad thing, and why I am knocking the move when I stated before that Cleveland trading away some of their draft picks to build a foundation for their franchise is not a bad thing. There are multiple reasons for what is wrong with this move.
Tyrod Taylor is a decent game manager. He has the ability to move the ball through the air and on the ground and has a solid arm( nothing special, but it could gets the job done). During his three seasons in Buffalo, he had not eclipsed over 3,050 yards passing and did not have 3,000 passing yards this past season in the fifteen games he played. Taylor is nothing more than a game manager and though he does have the ability to contribute to wins, he is not the reason why your team is winning games. To say trading a third round pick for Tyrod Taylor is reasonable is a stretch, counting on the fact that Buffalo has tried to go in a different direction for years, and even benched him in the middle of a playoff race for a third day draft pick in Nathan Peterman. This adding to the reasoning to why would Buffalo want to move on from a guy that led the team to the playoffs? In 2006, Rex Grossman was the quarterback of the NFC champion Chicago Bears. Was Rex Grossman the reason why the Bears made it to the Super Bowl? Was Rex Grossman the guy to bring the Bears to the next level? The answer is no. The Bears did not win because of him and just like Tyrod Taylor, that Bears team lost in the playoffs because of him.
It is safe to believe that at either pick one or pick four, the Browns are going to selected a quarterback, and with this draft not having a standout number one guy at the quarterback position and the failed Deshone Kizer experience this past season, the Browns look to be interested in starting the season with that rookie second or third on the depth chart behind a bridge quarterback. Is Tyrod Taylor the kind of guy you want your rookie and hopeful quarterback for the next decade to learn from?
If the Browns wanted to acquire a veteran quarterback to play in front of and help in the development of a younger quarterback, making this sort of trade for Alex Smith makes more sense, especially with John Dorsey’s familiarity with Smith, being the guy who traded for Smith during his tenure in Kansas City. Hate on Alex Smith all you want, but Smith is a better quarterback with a better track record than Taylor. Even signing a quarterback such as Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Bradford or even Case Keenum would be a better idea, counting on the fact the Browns would not lose any draft picks and all have higher upside than Taylor. There was even a high possibility of Taylor being released due to Buffalo not wanting to pay Tyrod his roster bonus, that Cleveland is now responsible for paying for.
Looking back at Kizer’s tenure in Cleveland, he was never really starting material coming into this season and should have spent this season holding a clipboard. Kizer’s failures however, could also be attributed to the system he was in and the lack of quality players in the organization. Lets say the Browns decide that whoever they draft to play quarterback is named the starter from week one and is given every opportunity to go out there and try and develop on the fly and win games for the organization. The Browns just gave up a high third round pick for a backup. Even going back to the scenario that Taylor is the starter from day one and he does play decent and gets wins as the starter, do you really want to win with a bridge quarterback and not only lose draft position in the 2019 draft, but waste your rookie quarterbacks season not knowing what he could do at the NFL level. It would be better for a rookie to win you two to five games and be able to assess your player and add yet another high draft pick to help add to your franchise, or in the best scenario, find out that your rookie is the real deal and leads you to a winning record and a potential playoff birth(that is a major stretch but nothing is impossible). If a team is going to draft a quarterback with a high first round pick, it is expected that that player is potentially ready to start the season week one. The Browns need to pick a quarterback in the first round with either picks one or four. Tyrod Taylor is not the excuse not to.
Tyrod Taylor’s ceiling in Cleveland is a one to two year bridge starter depending on how he preforms and is evaluated by Hue Jackson. He is not their quarterback of the future, and will not be that anywhere in this league. The Browns could invest this season and maybe next year in Tyrod Taylor but at the end of the day, it will be nothing more than a big waste of time. This trade makes no sense in any way, shape or form and though the Browns seem keen on being aggressive on changing their culture and go from losing 16 games, to winning games in the future, making a move like this makes me feel as if the Browns have no interest in being nothing more than the typical Browns of the past.