When the Browns traded the second pick in the draft to the Eagles for a bundle of choices, many around the NFL (including, Gruden-thumbs extended, this guy) immediately thought of Cleveland’s inability to capitalize on previous windfalls.
But with a revamped front office, they swear it’s going to be different this time.
“We know eyes are on us,” Browns executive vice president Sashi Brown told Peter King of TheMMQB.com. “This is an important draft for us. We’ve got to make up ground in our division. But we’re confident we won’t repeat some of our errors of the past. I think the key for us now is trusting our information and making sound decisions.”
They also have to trust how the information was gathered, which might be why they were willing to let six scouts go a month before the draft begins. The problem with the Browns was never the availability of chances to improve, it was a matter of execution.
There’s a line to be drawn between burning draft picks on players such as Johnny Manziel and Justin Gilbert, who seem to lack the fundamental awareness that being drafted in the first round is the beginning of the journey, rather than the destination.
But with a new front office including former baseball executive Paul DePodesta, the Browns are changing their method, and now have a chance to do something about it.
“We thought if we could piece this together, the higher quality picks were more important, rather than multiple lower picks,” Brown said.
The Browns have six of the first 100 picks this year and extras next year as well (they have a first-rounder next year and a second-rounder in 2018). That gives them the ability to start the latest rebuild with premium picks, and if they don’t throw them away like previous regimes, it’ll be a good start.