Here’s something we haven’t been able to say in a long time: The Cleveland Browns are in position to build a very talented young football team.
That’s true in part because of the players the Browns have drafted, most notably Johnny Manziel and Justin Gilbert in the first round. But it’s also true because the Browns used some of their 2014 picks to acquire extra picks next year: The Browns got the Bills’ 2015 first-round pick and 2015 fourth-round pick, which the Bills gave up to move up and draft Sammy Watkins. Cleveland also traded away its seventh-round pick and got Baltimore’s 2015 sixth-round pick in return. (The Ravens used that pick on wide receiver Michael Campanaro.)
Other teams traded future draft picks as well, but no other team got anything close to that kind of valuable 2015 picks that the Browns now have. After adding Manziel, Gilbert, tackle Joel Bitonio, linebacker Christian Kirksey, running back Terrance West and cornerback Pierre Desir this year, the Browns are almost assured of adding a lot of talent next year as well.
Of course, these are the Browns we’re talking about. Plenty of people thought they were heading in the right direction when they drafted Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson, too. And Cleveland’s most talented young player, Josh Gordon, is facing a possible drug suspension. So it’s not like it’s a sure thing that the Browns will get turned around.
But more than at any other time in recent history, there are reasons to believe the Browns are pointed in the right direction.