Browns made the right move by trading down


Many will criticize the Browns for trading down from the second pick in the draft, in large part because many will criticize the Browns for anything they do. It’s the bizarro pro football Pavlovian response, conditioned over time by the food being yanked away from the dog every time the bell rings.

This time, though, the Browns have gotten it right. Regardless of what they do with the picks they’ve acquired, they’ve swapped out two selections for five, sliding down six spots in the first round and acquiring a third-round pick and a fourth-round pick this year, a first-round pick next year, and a second-round pick in 2018. (The Browns also gave up a fourth-round selection in 2017.)

Here’s the main reason why they were smart to make the trade: If after doing their due diligence the Browns didn’t feel strongly enough about pulling the trigger on Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, or anyone else, the smart move was to pass the pick in lieu of more picks later.

Every draft pick is a scratch-off lottery ticket. The more times a team rubs a quarter over that weird silver paint (which is surely as non-toxic as it looks), the more chances a team has to get a winner.

The Browns now have a chance to get more winners, while still retaining the ability to pick a player in the top eight. Given that they had decided not to take a quarterback (and given that each of the first two picks will be quarterbacks), it’s essentially a top-six pick.

So, yes, the Browns made a very good move — regardless of what happens with the quarterback they could have had at No. 2. The Browns didn’t simply trade the ability to take Goff or Wentz; they traded the risk that the guy they would have picked will became a bust, landing in exchange multiple other opportunities to roll the dice as they engage in what clearly is a major rebuilding of the roster.

There’s a reason why so many teams who have earned high picks want to trade down but can’t. It’s hard to find teams willing to trade up. The Browns did at No. 2, only six days after the Titans did at No. 1. Given the very real chance that Goff and/or Wentz won’t work out, it wasn’t just the right decision to make. It was the only decision to make.

75 responses to “Browns made the right move by trading down

  1. My favorite part of this trade is not just that they traded down, but they only traded down to #8. Even if they don’t want the #2 pick (because they don’t want Wentz/Goff), the Browns still need premiere talent. This trade gives them both more picks AND one of the best players in the draft (whoever it ends up being). Win-win.

  2. Only way to get better is to build for the future. The best and only consistent way to do this is through the draft; more picks the better. They may not have any track record of making good picks, but the new people in charge are at least starting off in the right direction with this move.

  3. Good for the Browns fans, looks like you got a great deal towards adding a lot of new talent to your team…

    The Eagles are taking all the risks…

  4. at some point they have to take a QB though, all teams who dont are just treading water until they find one.

    The same stuff was said about the Browns when they traded out of 2011 top 10. (perhaps the best top end of a draft in 20 years)

  5. As a Giants’ fan, I fear the Browns’ luck is that Philly’s pick will turn into Tom Brady Jr.

  6. The Titans and Browns both made big picture good decisions within a week of each other? That has to be one of the signs of the apocalypse…

  7. I love having so many forums to read about this deal. Previous blog on this page ridiculed the trade. Other articles say Philly fleeced Cleveland for a future HOF quarterback, heck,even the Dallas writers wondered how they could snooker the Browns. Fact is that the team lacks talent all around and will be bad enough to be in play for next year’s “can’t miss QB prospect”. Getting more picks is the ONLY thing they could do. Would not shock me to see Joe Thomas dealt on draft day for 2017 slots.

  8. .
    In three years we’ll look back and see that Tennessee, behind Jon Robinson’s draft acumen, made out very well in trading the first pick. The Browns, behind Borat and the hobo, not so much.

  9. Since 2007 the Browns have had two picks in the 1st round 4 times:
    2007 – Tim Couch and Courtney Brown (Hurt and Hurt)
    2012 – Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden (Flop and Flop)
    * Got a 1st RD’er for Rich so not all bad
    2014 – Justin Gilbert and Johnny Manziel (Flop and Flop)
    2015 – Danny Shelton and Cameron Erving (TBD)

  10. CLE has had some awful drafting at the QB position They burned 2 lower #1st rnd picks on Brandon Weeden and Johnny Housewrecker

    Looks like they have finally learned their lesson. RG3 and Josh McCown can get them through the year and maybe next year they can get their QB w a high 1st rounder.

    This trade will shore them up w many good players in the meantime.

  11. With the amount of holes that need filled on the Browns roster, this was absolutely the right decision! Chances are good they’ll have two high draft picks for next year too.

  12. Good move by the Browns. With the #8 pick, they can still take Lynch and have a QB (RGIII is nothing more than a backup now).

  13. Dare I say they did better than the Titans because they only went down to 8 where a blue chip player will still be available. The Titans did well too, but they went down awful far and didn’t get as much as I would have pushed for knowing that you had at least these 2 teams jockeying for the picks and probably more with reports that the 49ers wanted to trade up too.

  14. Results matter. If whichever QB the Eagles get with the 2nd pick in the draft turns into a franchise QB then, yeah, the Browns absolutely screwed up. If that QB doesn’t pan out then the Browns will look great for making the trade….even if they also look like idiots for using the picks on the next Manziels and Richardsons.

  15. Great move! There isn’t anyone this year who is worth a top 5 pick. The Rams and Eagles got hosed! It’s not often Tennessee and Cleveland get anything right.

  16. NOBODY in their right mind will criticize the Browns for making this move. They absolutely FLEECED the Eagles in a trade that rivals what the Rams got from the Redskins in 2012. In a normal draft, Goff and Wentz would be nothing more than 4th pr 5th round project QB’s. This is a case of the Eagles panicking and the Browns reaping the dividends.

  17. Easy to be harsh on DePodesta, but that’s the ignorant view. Using sound statistics, doesn’t matter that he’s a “baseball guy” anymore than “he never played the game”.

  18. The Browns need a lot of help, and the NFL draft is a crap shoot – yes, even in the Top 10 of the First Round

    There’s plenty of players to be found in the later rounds and among the undrafted rookies….

    The more volume you have in the draft the more likely you are to find starters

    Wise move by Cleveland – Damn that sounds funny

    …and don’t count them out from moving back up a bit if there’s a player they value

  19. draculalambert says:
    Apr 20, 2016 7:28 PM

    …with the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft…Cleveland selects:
    Clemson QB Deshaun Watson!

  20. This draft will be remembered on these two huge trades which will surely be scrutinized in the years to follow.

    I commend the Browns front office. Still though, they have to use those picks wisely and that I cannot trust them to do. Just the same theirs a big chance for them to build properly with multiple “early” draft picks over the next few drafts .

    A good front office would nail these drafts, a bad one would make good trades to blow the picks on a corner who can’t acclimate or a quarterback spoiled punk who would rather drink and fight with girlfriends publicly.

    Will they be the clowns or the pounds? Time will tell? I graciously wish them luck either way.

  21. @DrSteveBrule – Couch was drafted in 99. Brown in 2000. Couch wasn’t a bust, but he was put in to play before there was any team around him. Then he got destroyed.

    I wish the Browns would have traded down in the 99 draft. We could have put a true team together.

    2007 was Joe Thomas and Brady Quinn. Statistically, first rounders are impactful 50% of the time. Joe Thomas is great. Brady Quinn not so much.

    I’ll take the extra draft picks especially if the team wasn’t sold on the QBs at the top.

    Crossing fingers…

  22. funny what if they just think the same guy they want at two will still be on the table at 8?? if the QB their most interested in is not not Goff or Wentz this could just be free picks for them.

  23. Given the Browns current rebuild and the way the Eagles are headed, Cleveland could have the #1 and #2 picks next year….

  24. Bingo. The Browns need a QB but that’s not all they need, by a long shot. In fact, taking Zeke Elliott at 8 and holding out for best available QB in Rd 2 (Cook?) may be exactly the way to go and then use the rest of those picks to rebuild a team around those guys.

  25. I agree that it was a smart move. The Browns let a lot of talent go this off season and they need to replace it. They don’t need to make the same mistake Chip Kelly made when he let a lot of talent go in Philadelphia but didn’t replace it.

  26. Hard to say they made a bad choice for a few years. What if Goff or Wentz turn out to be great players? If you have NO qb you have NO chance nowadays. As of now they have NO qb and really where else are they going to find one? Unless they really like one of the so called second tier quarterbacks. Doesn’t matter… if its brown flush it down.

  27. The Browns have finally learned that you don’t draft a QB and then build around him, you build the team first and then add a QB to an already stocked team. Like the Seahawks, Ravens and Cardinals have done. Adding a young QB to a bad team just gets them beat up before they can get good themselves. See Matthew Stafford, Ryan Tannehill, Matt Ryan, Sam Bradford and even RGIII.

  28. Trading down is a smart move IF you use the extra picks on good players. That’s a huge IF in this case, seeing as how the Browns haven’t drafted a good player since Joe Thomas in 2007. Hopefully the new regime will prove more astute than its dozen predecessors, but we Browns fans have been hoping for some progress for 17 years, and instead, we’ve got a team that’s back at first-year-expansion-team level. It’s starting to feel foolish to be hopeful about this woebegone operation.

  29. This draft is loaded thru the first 200 players…any team that picks up multiple picks is improving their chances for success…conversly, teams that reduce their picks are betting their future on one or two players…very good move Cleveland.

  30. Grabbing a rb Elliot at 8 and a qb at 32 cook might be the plan that makes everyone go hmmmmm maybe its the browns who know what they are doing.

  31. Dr Steve are u smoking on 4/20? Couch was drafted on 1999 and brown 2000! What r u smoking ?

  32. I actually applaud the analytics machine for getting this one right. It removes the Browns from having to get one of these soooooo overrated QB’s and getting egg on their face once again. Getting an extra first rounder next year is a pretty good deal.

  33. to assign a winner and loser to this trade already is stupid. we won’t know for 2-3 years.

    pretty simple. if eagles get franchise qb, they won. if they don’t, browns won.

  34. Combination of salary cap and rookie wage scale makes it so valuable to stockpile draft picks. Fill your team with a bunch of rounds 1-3 guys and have a huge budget for FA. Browns in year one of a three year plan that could turn that franchise around.

  35. Browns FO made the smart choice. The landed the 8th pick, in a good spot to pick a premiere talent player which theres about 15 of.

    Though theres a bit of a drop off the talent pool in this draft is deep, its a good once to have picks in the 2nd-3rd. Not to mention a high future 1st.

    Philly isnt going to have much talent to surround the QB they pick after trading their picks. FA is no way to build a contender either….

  36. The craziest part I’d the “experts” for months said who Tennessee and Cleveland would take and that neither qb was a franchise type. Then we have 2 major trades by teams to move up to grab these guys. Gotta love “experts”

  37. Finally the factory of sadness does something intelligent. I like it. Best of luck to browns fans with what is hopefully a successful rebuild over the next few years.

  38. This trade will only look bad for the Browns if the Eagles QB draft pick is an all pro. Picks or no picks, it’s a QB-driven league.

  39. It doesn’t matter how good Wentz or Goff might be, the fact is any QB who is drafted by the Browns see their careers burn up in flames. The Browns are actually doing these 2 kids a major favor.

    A new QB for Cleveland would basically be expected to singlehandedly revive the entire franchise which no QB on Earth would be able to do. browns have a LOT more work to do before they should drag some poor QB into their locker room. Browns made the right move …

    and to think 2 years ago they coulda had Teddy Bridgewater or Derek Carr and Odell Beckham Jr all in the same draft …

  40. “…it wasn’t just the right decision to make.
    It was the only decision to make. ”
    I don’t buy that. Were the Titans wrong in taking Mariotta in the
    second spot last year? I don’t think so. There are risks and benefits
    to both approaches.
    We won’t know if this was the right decision for a few years.
    As others have mentioned, it will come down to how wisely the Browns
    use their newest Bonanza of draft picks.
    It almost seems unfair to watch the Browns continually getting rewarded
    with so many draft windfalls, for sucking so badly, so often.
    Despite their penchant for squandering their opportunities, it can’t be denied
    that they have enjoyed a staggering competitive advantage over the last decade,
    over their divisional opponents, when it comes to the draft and draft value.

    Law of averages states that they are bound to get it right at some point.
    Maybe this is their year.

  41. Perhaps this is the start of the Browns becoming “respectable”. Take Elliot or Hargreaves at 8, the best available WR in round 2, and the best available QB at the top of the 3rd (Dak Prescott?)

  42. Part of me now wants both wentz and Goff to be studs, but the other part of me is agreeing that the Browns made the wise choice. People need to quit positing the previous management teams draft abilities on this group.

  43. I LOVE watching the Eagles hold themselves back. There’s a reason they are the only trophy-less team in the NFC East, unless you count some leather helmet era “championships” which don’t count.

  44. Perhaps the Browns draft OT Stanley and trade Joe Thomas for more picks and free up cap space.

  45. Ys they Browns acquired picks which is good. But as usual with the Browns its amaeteur hour. They had all the leverage over Philly and could have jammed them up for more. What was the rush, the Draft is a week away, u had time on your side Sashi. The longer u wait the more Philly, who’s as incompetent as you are, would have given you more.

    The Browns should have gotten both of Philly’s 3rd rounders this year, and not 1 3rd and 1 4th. Amd then instead of a 2018 2nd round pick, you should have gotten nezt years 2nd rounder and not given up your 4th to Philly, U traded down, u dont make concessions.

    Typical amateur operation in Cleveland

  46. Take the history of 1st picks in the NFL, add the average length of an NFL career and you start to get the idea that finding the greats involves having the largest number of good picks as opposed to rare opportunities to pick 1st or 2nd.

  47. Absolutely. And you roll the dices with RG3 this year and if it doesnt work out they will be again in position to draft a QB in 2017.

    Heck, even if they end up with 6 to 8 wins they will have the “ammo” to move up if they so chose in 2017.

  48. Moneyball says Hackenberg. This might drive Dallas to take Hackenberg, but I think Jerry has plainly shown he is still deluded regarding Romo’s durability, and doesnt think a backup QB/QB for the future is worth a 1st round investment. I think Dallas will go pass rusher.

  49. I hear comments that these stats guys have not proven anything. They have never picked players before and are destined to screw this up.

    However, the past three tenured GMs who have held scouting and drafting roles for too many years to count blew just about every draft pick they made in the past 10 years outside of Haden, Mack, and Joe Thomas.

    The only thing that scares me is that the Cleveland Browns destiny tape is stuck on loop. Which means Carson Wentz will be a future HOF’r.

    (insert sad face emoji)

  50. ricko1112 says:
    “Great move! There isn’t anyone this year who is worth a top 5 pick. The Rams and Eagles got hosed!”

    Hey can I borrow your crystal ball please!??! Pretty please!?!?
    No ONE, NO ONE, knows what ANY pick in this draft will do for years!! It’s ALL a CRAPSHOOT!
    Pick a guy, hope for the best, that’s what the draft is!

  51. Not a Browns fan, but how average this board is at the top trading down was the best move they could do. The eagles are going to be horrible for the next couple years so this could turn out to be a winner for the Browns. I cant believe I put winner and Browns in the same sentence.

  52. Guess they’re drafting an O lineman at 8 since Mack and Schwartz left…better hope Stanley is still there…that, or they could trade back again to get Conklin or Decker.

    Might as well accumulate even more picks…they need ’em.

  53. I’m a lifelong Stillers fan and I actually feel bad for the Brownies. It would be nice to have a rivalry again. I hope they can figure a few things out here and put a team on the field.

  54. They sure did. Problem is its the Browns making the picks. Guaranteed to be a bunch of whiffs.

  55. ronfromnm says:
    Apr 20, 2016 7:58 PM
    Results matter. If whichever QB the Eagles get with the 2nd pick in the draft turns into a franchise QB then, yeah, the Browns absolutely screwed up. If that QB doesn’t pan out then the Browns will look great for making the trade….even if they also look like idiots for using the picks on the next Manziels and Richardsons.


    This is an over simplification. Just because a quarterback works on one team does not mean he would have been equally successful on another. The Browns roster is filled with holes from top to bottom. Tom Brady would look below average on that roster.

    The Browns need to go full rebuild, and this is where I think the analytics guys are going to shine. They got a former “can’t miss”, top two quarterback for a song, and they can let him take the punishment while the team restocks and puts together an actual competitive roster. They can take the best player available at each pick and have given themselves the needed ammunition to move up in next years draft if they feel like they are prepared to plug in a QB and start winning. If not, they can once again trade back and finish restocking the roster.

    It is rare that you can say this, but I think this was a smart move by the Browns front office.

  56. Main problem is no one stays long enough to really build something. Every two or three years, the clean house and start over. This year they had a fire sale, and got rid of any remaining talent. And I haven’t seen anyone who really knows how to draft and coach up a QB. Folks talk a good story, but proof is in the pudding.

    Some coaches blame the players when they don’t succeed, and other teach the players how to succeed. Carroll, Rivera, Ariens, Shanahan, Reid, and Belechick to name some examples.

  57. Apr 20, 2016 7:24 PM – whiteybulgersson says: The money ball guy is probably going to draft a bunch of tooth picks from the Harvard football team because their underlying stats are good and go 2-14.

    Well, Whitey Jr., just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. You think the Browns should have kept trying the old way?

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