The Browns have two selections in the first 19 picks in the draft. And with the draft 17 days away, no one knows what the Browns will do. While that’s a good thing on the surface, it underscores the deeper issues that are hampering the franchise.
No one outside the building knows who’s calling the shots. From coach Mike Pettine to G.M. Ray Farmer to team president to Alec Scheiner to owner Jimmy Haslam (and maybe to the homeless guy who lobbied for Johnny Manziel), any, some, or all of them may have a voice. Ultimately, Haslam makes the call; even when he acts like he isn’t, any billionaire boss who makes his preferences known to his employees necessarily is calling the shots, if those employees hope to remain his employees.
Regardless of who’ll be making the decisions on draft day, the Browns are believed to be in play to trade up for quarterback Marcus Mariota, with the primary hot spot being Washington at No. 5. The question becomes what it will take to move seven spots. The Browns can package the 12th and 19th picks, but that may not be enough, given what Washington sacrificed three years ago to move from No. 6 to No. 2 to get Robert Griffin III.
The Browns, in their perpetual quest for a franchise quarterback, tried to get Griffin, too, with former team CEO Mike Holmgren complaining loudly when Washington pulled off the trade.
This year, Washington is a factor again. In theory, the Rams could be as well, if they decide they want to try to move up from No. 10 to get Mariota. And if the Rams are in the bidding for Mariota, it suddenly will become difficult for anyone to close the deal, since it would be very hard for Washington to take a scaled-down package from St. Louis for a five-spot drop after giving St. Louis so much for a four-position climb in 2012.
Regardless, expect the unexpected from the Browns. Largely because no one quite knows what to expect from them anymore.