The Cleveland Browns have been the laughing stock of the NFL for some seasons now. They haven’t had any luck with most aspects of the game, the draft hasn’t gone their way, they finished last season without a single win and all of the Johnny Manziel drama. However, they find themselves in a similar situation that the Jags were in this time last year, they can start the rebuild of a threatening side. Have they started that and how does the future look for the Browns?
Last week was when the Browns made their first steps to a big re-build, they made a total of four trades and still managed to keep their huge draft picks. The first trade they made was probably the biggest, in terms of the player they got. They went and got a fantastic wide receiver, who has three Pro Bowls to his name, in Jarvis Landry. What did they send over to the Dolphins for him? Two pointless draft picks, a fourth-round 2018 draft pick and a seventh-round draft pick in 2019. That is a great trade for the Browns, especially considering Landry’s talents and the two picks they had to give the Dolphins.
The second trade they made was the biggest, in terms of the future of the team and its meaning to the first draft pick. They went and got Bills Quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who can be the competent starting quarterback that Cleveland have struggled to get for years. All they sent over to Buffalo was the 65th 2018 draft pick, which is another cheap trade, considering the Browns and their damaged history with QBs. I’ll come to the effects this trade has on the draft later on.
The third trade, on the same day as the first two, was probably the least important for the Browns, however, it was a confusing one from the Packers. The Browns sent their failed QB DeShone Kizer to the Packers for a talented, young cornerback in Damarious Randall. I honestly don’t see what Green Bay see in Kizer. Surely, they can’t see him as Rodgers’ heir, the guy went 0-16 this season. Randall hasn’t shown a lot, but he is still young and definitely has potential to be a key cornerback for the Browns.
The fourth and final trade, that really isn’t that impactful as of yet, happened on Saturday. It was reported that the Browns were sending defensive tackle Danny Shelton and a 2018 fourth-round draft pick to the Patriots for a 2019 third-round draft pick. This is actually quite smart by the Browns, they now have a decent draft pick to trade after next season which is what they always love to have, a war chest of draft picks to trade for good players.
Now onto what the trades mean for the future of Cleveland. The trade for Jarvis was a fantastic choice, as it was fairly cheap for how good Jarvis is, and it gives the Browns a reliable choice for their new QB Tyrod. Taylor is a solid starting QB, who can be effective and with Jarvis in the side, he will have a reliable target to aim for.
However, the Tyrod trade effects the draft massively. Everyone has been saying, up until the combine, that the Browns will take a QB at number 1 and it was quite difficult to argue against that. That was until Saquon Barkley stepped up and put on one hell of a show at the combine. He is probably one of the best running backs to come through in recent years and the Browns would be stupid in not picking him at number 1.
If the Browns do not pick Barkley at number 1, they will not get him at number 4 as it is clear that the Colts will take him at 3 and you don’t know who may trade up before the draft. If they take Barkley at number 1, then they can still go out and get a quality QB at number 4. They will have a choice between Darnold, Allen, Mayfield, and Rosen, depending on what happens. Giants may take a QB and, if Barkley is picked at number 1, then the Colts go and get Bradley Chubb. That’s leaves three of the four QBs for Browns to pick from at number 4.
Imagine a Browns side with Taylor and Darnold as their two QBs, Barkley as their main RB and Jarvis as their star WR. I’m not saying that they will go and make the playoffs straight away, they won’t, but they will have the foundations of a great team in years to come. They will be a formidable side in years to come and, even though the Jags did what they did in basically a year, the Browns will replicate that in a few years, if they make the correct defensive additions.
People are also forgetting they have the 2nd biggest cap space in the league, meaning they can go and choose a few top free agents and add them to their roster. Suh is expected to be released by the Dolphins, Peterson’s expected to leave Arizona. Imagine having the choice of Barkley and Peterson as your running backs.
In my opinion, the future is looking bright over in Cleveland. However, it will only work if they go and pick Barkley as their number 1. They need to make this draft their draft. They had the chance last time out and traded away a pick that ended up to be Wentz’s place. If they pick Barkley at number 1 and a QB at number 4, who will be Darnold in my opinion, then the Browns are looking scary for the coming years.