You may not have known who Phil Taylor was, but the Cleveland Browns decidedly did. After making a five for one swap with the Falcons for the Browns’ sixth pick, the Browns spent their third rounder to move up a few spots to get Phil Taylor. That says a lot. Instead of waiting for things to fall into place and just taking a chance that there was someone left that Tom Heckert and company wanted, they proactively got to a spot and grabbed a specific guy. As I said at the beginning, whether or not you know who Phil Taylor is, you always have to feel good about the confidence of moving up to get a guy. Well, unless you are spending a second rounder to move up one spot to take Kellen Winslow. Ahem. Butch Davis.
After the Browns traded their third rounder this year, their blockbuster with Atlanta now looks more like a four for one deal. Just the same, the Browns know as well as their fans that they are more than one player away. The Falcons, on the other hand, truly feel they are just Julio Jones away from the promised land. I know for a lot of you this triggers fears that the Browns are in full-on rebuild mode and still won’t compete for a few years. I don’t think that is necessarily the case.
I don’t think the Browns are confident enough to print playoff tickets or anything like that, but this trade in particular doesn’t signify that the Browns won’t be able to compete this season. Even the best teams should do a deal like what the Browns did yesterday. Certainly it was a very New-Englandian maneuver. The only way to build and sustain a competitive team for the long haul is to load it up with young players who can ease onto the active roster over time at a fraction of the cost of a veteran free agent. If Tom Heckert makes good on these picks, then the Browns should take huge strides toward youth and depth over the next two drafts.
Speaking of which, what will the Browns do today with their two second rounders? Obviously you still have to think defensive line, cornerback, wide receiver and potentially even offensive tackle. That is unless Mike Holmgren pushes his weight around again to select a QB, right? Just kidding. Kind of. Maybe. Honestly, I wouldn’t even be surprised to see the Browns take a decent running back prospect. I’ll stop there with the speculation. We’ll have a roundtable at noon on that very topic.
So the Browns get nearly 700 pounds of defensive tackle in the middle of their line. Ahtyba Rubin is 24 years old and Phil Taylor is 23. If Taylor works out and both stay healthy, you can pencil them in for at least the next five years stopping runners and clearing lanes for pass-rushers. This is the day to dream about everything working out exactly to plan. So imagine a Roethlisberger or Flacco sandwich with Phil Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin as the bread.
Isn’t that a lot of fun?