We are getting closer and closer to the NFL draft and it is officially time to believe everything and nothing. The Browns will draft Ryan Tannehill. The Browns will draft Matt Kalil. The Browns will trade the pick to Miami or Philadelphia. The Browns have to draft an offensive player. Well, on second thought they could draft Morris Claiborne. The fact remains that the Browns have done a pretty spectacular job of keeping everyone guessing. I’m sure there’s still some ongoing debate even among the Browns decision-makers because even they don’t know exactly where everything is going to fall into place in a couple of weeks.
Fan perception is going to make this draft feel more successful to fans than previous drafts. Last year a lot of fans were excited about the trade with Atlanta because the Browns needed more picks this year to accelerate the rebuild. What fans didn’t know about was the Browns’ eventual selection Phil Taylor. This year because the Browns have the 22nd pick and 37th pick, Browns fans’ research and knowledge into guys all over the top 50 is much broader, I think. This knowledge of the players will have fewer fans scratching their heads as names are called for the Browns, regardless of which names end up being called. That’s a good thing, I think, because the Browns could use the good P.R.
What will the Browns do? The answer is that I have no idea. I can make logical cases for any number of strategies being good ones.
The Browns could draft a few guys this year, but focus on accumulating picks for next season. The Browns obviously wanted Robert Griffin III and failed to get him. That doesn’t mean they can definitively solve their problems with Tannehill or Weeden. If the Browns truly feel McCoy is their best bet this season, then they’ll want to accumulate picks for next year to take a run at one of the premier QBs coming out next season. That is, of course, assuming the Browns don’t have the number one pick themselves in 2013… (No. I don’t expect them to, but anything is possible.)
The Browns could keep the fourth and 22nd picks and then use 37 and future picks to get back into the first round this year. The Browns have a lot of picks and they can’t trade their compensatory ones, so it is reasonable to think they might keep both first rounders and try to trade back into the first round to add a third player in the top 32 this season. NFL rosters are only so big and the Browns have a lot of young depth that spent last year playing special teams and hanging around on the practice squad. Continuity year over year is good with prospects, so you have to think the Browns will attempt to package picks to make this draft a little more top-heavy.
None of this is unreasonable, by the way. The Browns can accomplish their goals in a variety of ways. The only option that I truly believe is completely impossible and totally off the board is that the Browns will just sit back and pick the way their picks are laid out now. I can’t imagine a scenario where they aren’t moving around and trying to make things happen to guarantee they get the guys they want.
So believe it all. Believe none of it. The choice is yours. I’m having a lot of fun and looking forward to seeing what Tom Heckert and his staff can accomplish. We’ve been waiting since this time last year for this draft since the Browns made that blockbuster deal. Now’s the time to really dig in and enjoy the ride.