Browns, NFL Draft

How the Browns will blow it: WFNY Mock NFL Draft Strategies

Wade Payne

The Browns will blow it. No matter the depth of research or amount of thought put into the different mock draft strategies, the fact that the Cleveland Browns have been messing up the NFL Draft for all 17 years of their expansion era will be brought to the forefront. Through different owners, front offices, and coaches, the commonality between them is a complete lack of ability to draft and develop enough talent to be a consistently competitive team. Until they prove otherwise, there will be a segment of the fanbase that believes it will continue.

Rather than combat the incessant cry, let’s embrace it. The brains from Harvard situated in Berea could mess up this draft. There are many different ways that will result in the football team not improving through the 2017 edition of the amatuer player selection process.

What are some of the different ways the Browns could blow it this time?

The Rules

  • No trades unless the strategy is specifically geared around trades.
  • Demonstrate multiple options at each pick within the confines of the strategy.
  • Use a MSM Big Board to demonstrate feasibility of picks.
  • Select picks at the Browns four picks in Round 1 and Round 2.

The Draft Strategy

Sorry, but it’s cheating to have the Browns take players ranked as UDFA with each selection. No team would ever do such with their highest selections- David Veikune wants a word. Moreover, the point is to come up with reasonable potential choices in the 2017 NFL Draft that end with disastrous outcomes.

The end-goal here is for the Browns to not be improved by the draft, so making prudent moves that blow up in their face is fair game. Courtney Brown might have had the most talent in his draft, but the Browns didn’t benefit much from it.

Here we go.

The Picks

No. 1 Trade Down

There is an obvious, consensus best player in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Browns have the No. 1 overall pick, so they should end up with that player. If somehow Myles Garrett is not a member of the team after the draft, then something went horribly wrong. Sure, there are assets that would be acquired for moving down, but the Browns are in a position where they need to create an identity. Having a player such as Garrett could help that end.1

Let’s take things a step further. Imagine the Tennesse Titans see themselves as true contenders for 2017 and are willing to pay a ransom for Garrett to bolster their chances. By moving back to the No. 5 position, the Browns could conceivably miss out on Myles Garrett, the best quarterback,2 Jonathan Allen, and Jamal Adams. Every single elite prospect without red flags will be off the board.

The Browns might fall in love with a great work ethic player like defensive end Derek Barnett from Tennessee but missing out on the actual top talent would be disheartening.

Other players that could be taken and how things could go South

  • Garrett spends his NFL career injured after being relatively healthy in college.
  • A quarterback is picked who busts while Garrett thrives in San Francisco.

No. 12 Traded to New England for Jimmy Garoppolo

Not only would the Browns need to give up a prime asset in a deep draft to grab the backup quarterback from the Patriots, but they would also need to hand a $15 million (or more) per year contract to Jimmy-G because he is a free agent after the 2017 season. There is no chance that the Browns could risk losing him in free agency, and the $25 million per year franchise tag for quarterbacks is a hefty penalty. The contract extension would have to happen.

All for a player with two career starts in three seasons. If Garoppolo becomes a franchise quarterback, then he is worth the price. But, there is no way to know that based on his limited body of work. There is a significant chance he becomes the next Matt Cassel or Matt Flynn that was over-hyped before falling on their face when given a starting job.

For his part, Garoppolo seems excited about the possibility. “That opportunity really hasn’t approached me yet so we’ll see when we get there I guess,” Garoppolo told Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The Browns haven’t had someone in such blissful anticipation since “Its the Browns.. But hey, still pretty cool!”

Other players that could be taken and how things could go South

  • Ryan Ramczyk has issues returning from hip surgery.
  • Malik Hooker has issues returning from hip and hernia surgery.
  • Leonard Fournette’s ankle injuries prove to be a chronic condition.
  • The Browns ignore Teez Tabor’s red flags.

No. 33 Teez Tabor, CB, Florida

The tricky part about having the first selection in the Round 2 is calming your impulses. There will be a few players with obvious Round 1 talent that drop. There will be reasons that they dropped though. Figuring out the players who can overcome the red flags associated with them is where the great drafting teams separate themselves.

Tabor has a ton of red flags. He has clashed with the administration in Florida on several occasions and has gotten himself suspended from games. He could well be an uncontrollable problem child especially if placed on a bottom rung team. If so, it will be yet another wasted pick.

Other players that could be taken and how things could go South

  • The Top 4 quarterbacks selected in the first round, but the Browns reach for one anyway such as Brad Kaaya from the University of Miami.
  • A “fast-riser” from a smaller school such as wide receiver Zay Jones from East Carolina that proves not worthy of the selection.

No. 52 Jake Butt, TE, Michigan

The real issue with this selection would be if the Browns take either of the domestic violence headcases from Oklahoma. Dede Westbrook and Joe Mixon should be off the board in my opinion, but a team will draft talent over character at some point. Given that the Browns openly flaunted having Baylor’s ex-coach Art Briles in Berea on multiple occasions during the 2016 season, there is a way of thinking that they could be the team to take on one of these players.

Jake Butt would be a more classic bungled selection. Butt is going to miss the 2017 season – or most of it – after he suffered a torn ACL in the Orange Bowl on the last day of 2016. Butt also is a player quite similar to Gary Barnidge, who the Browns already have on the roster. He is a fantastic competitor and pass-catcher, but his blocking skills leave quite a bit to be desired. Delayed satisfaction for a replicated player does not a good pick make.

Other players that could be taken and how things could go South

  • Dede Westbrook/Joe Mixon would be public relation disasters and their off-field issues could affect them on the field as well.
  • Cooper Kupp (WR, Eastern Washington) might work out in the NFL but his gaudy FCS statistics do not warrant a pick this high and could backfire on the Browns.
  • Elijah Qualls (DT, Washington) would be another 1-technique when the Browns need a 3-technique tackle.

Selection Review and Last Word

  • No. 1 Trade down, take Derek Barnett, DE, Tenn (at No. 5)
  • No. 12 Traded for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo
  • No. 33 Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
  • No. 52 Jake Butt, TE, Michigan

There are arguments that could be made about how the above selections work out. No one knows for sure which picks will thrive and which will become the next players who cause a fanbase to shake their head slowly while scanning the ground below them. However, the Browns would not be making the most out of the draft taking those players. Notice the Browns have not attempted to fix their offensive line. They have put all of their quarterback eggs in the Garoppolo basket. This type of draft could wind up with the team wasting another year.

How do you think the Browns could mess it up this time?

Other mock draft strategy sessions from WFNY

  1. Yes, we are violating Rule 1 of the mock strategy rules. But, we need to take extreme measures to demonstrate just how much things could get messed up at the draft. []
  2. There is not a consensus between Mitch Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, and DeShone Kizer but one of those quarterbacks should be rated best by the Browns. That player would likely be gone if the Browns trade back to No. 5. []

  • RGB

    It would be so much easier if he wasn’t…

  • tigersbrowns2

    this was fun to read & i guess there is a sliver of a chance it could happen … there’s only one way for the Browns to blow this draft : not taking Garrett at #1 overall … that’s it.

    if they trade out of the #1 spot OR take somebody else at #1 overall , then it’s a fail … if they take Garrett at #1 overall , it doesn’t matter what they they do the rest of the draft.

  • RGB
  • Garry_Owen
  • mgbode
  • mgbode

    With the first selection in the 2017 NFL Draft the Cleveland Browns select…

    Phazahn Odom, tight end, Fordham

    *Goodell under his breath* Are you freaking kidding me?

  • RGB

    Doing those Sashimetric Computalator picks last year was harder than it seemed. lol

  • mgbode

    No doubt. I assume you are saving them for Joe’s Top 5 columns.

  • Garry_Owen

    He’s also a freak athlete. For that reason, I hold out hope that he’ll get it together. (Not a lot of hope, mind you. But some.)

  • Saggy

    I don’t and never will blame him for this. It was a cheap shot.

  • RGB

    I didn’t anticipate doing that again. lol
    I prefer throwing my sleepers out there for you to analyze.

  • Saggy

    I am also FOM, my brother. Recovered.

  • Saggy

    totally. But that was a pretty ugly injury. Hoping for the best for the kid.

  • Saggy

    I told you my perfect scenario: drop to 3, take Allen (or, Garrett could still be there), take top CB at #12, and then also grab a 2018 #1 and #3, plus a 2017 #2 and #4. I’d be in for that.

  • Garry_Owen

    I’m mostly recovered, but there will always be a small part of me that thinks Manziel+Gordon was the jellyhead gamble worth taking.

  • jpftribe

    Let us not forget the pre-internet days of glory. Willis Adams, Steve Holden or my personal favorite, the mad dog in the meat market that couldn’t play LB. The Browns have a long glorious tradition of finding ways to screw up the draft.

  • mgbode

    Touchdown Tommy
    Craig Powell
    Clifford Charlton

    Difference was we were mixing in guys like Steve Everitt, Eric Metcalf, Eric Turner and Antonio Langham too.

  • RGB
  • jpftribe

    Those 88 and 89 drafts are really interesting. After blowing the Charlton pick they hit on just about everything after that. Including trading a 5th round for Bubba Baker and a 6th for Chris Pike.
    Then they land Metcalf at No 1 and blow every pick after that.

  • Jaker

    Anything involving a trade down (yay, value!) or a complete trade out (Cousins, Garoppolo) is an obvious possible disaster. Like putting your beer on the edge of the table, maybe you’ll get to enjoy the nice refreshing born-in-the-Rockies taste, but its likely gunna get knocked over and everyone will at you. So for arguments sake, we keep the picks, and we just screw up the 4 players. Because…

    1- “The Mind Gamer”: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson. Look, I love Watson, and I want him, but I am fully aware of the risk involved with him. He doesn’t deserve a top 20 choice, let alone #1 in a filthy talented draft. He can flame out get injured refuse to play here or a million other things. But the real problem will be passing on Garrett. Taking anyone but him will be overthinking it, something we are poised to do.

    Other Options: Trade Down or Taking anyone but Garrett

    12- “The Play It Safe”: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State. Like Watson, Cook is a phenomenal player. But so was Trent Richardson. The Browns have so many needs, that taking a RB in round 1 is the ultimate luxury pick. RB is a position that you can find a 1000 yard rusher (or 950, whatever) with an undrafted pick. Zeke Elliot and Todd Gurley’s rookie seasons may have blinded too many teams about this truth. If they take Cook, they will be ignoring too many spots of need for a minimal upgrade.

    Other Options: Jabrill Peppers (never learns to cover, exposed on D constantly), Ruben Foster (do we really need a 3rd LB? they’ll never play together enough) or OJ Howard (becomes J. Gresham, meh)

    33- Episode III “The Free Faller”: (Insert Injured Player here), (any position), (any school). Like the #1 pick, the biggest way this pick blows up is if he never actually gets on the field. Lets say Malik Hooker is the guy; I’d be all over the pick, even at 12, because he’s a stud. But some things are too good to be true. Kudos to the HBT sticking with Ogbah over Myles Jack and J.Smith last year. Not sure if they will be able to resist again.

    Other Options: Any other injured player or Insert player with character flaws (Teez Tabor)

    54- Episode IV “The Riser”: Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington. The common theme with all my picks is that I like these players, these players are guys I’d like to see in an Orange helmet. They may end up in Cleveland, or somehwere else, and they could be really good here or elsewhere. But the problem is the reason for drafting said player. The bad reason here would be the result of falling in love at the Senior Bowl, and drinking the Kool Aid leading up to the draft. Kupp has great hands, and could end up being a very dependable WR in the NFL. But at what cost? Can we really afford him at 54? Signs point to eating the trash and taking the guy too early.

    Other Options: Zay Jones, Obi Mefawandumetoometoo or any Senior Bowl standout

    So there you have it, the Four Deadly Sins of Browns Drafting: A) Overthinking an easy choice, B) Improper positional weighting, C) Risking without doing homework and D) The Itchy Trigger Finger. It’s not the player we chose, it’s the reason why we take them that we will fail.

    May Paul Brown have mercy on us all

  • mgbode

    I have many favorites. He is on the list, no doubt.

  • Garry_Owen

    It’s probably been done here already, but it would be a fun exercise some day to have everyone declare their favorite Brown (with photo, if able). No multiples. You have to pick and make a declaration.

  • mgbode

    I like it. I’ll put it on the future column list.

  • paulbip

    Garrett is lazy and hype. He will probably be good but not a #1 pick. The real pick is Allen who will be pro bowl by year 3. Thomas is the guy at 12 if still there. At 33 is Mahomes who will start after learning the system for a year.

  • mgbode

    The more I look at teams in Round 1, the more I think Mahomes (along with the other 3) is gone before No. 33

  • scripty

    So, I’m note on Butt not going that high.

    Could WFNY look to see if there’s been players put in IR for entirety of rookie season to go have really good careers?

  • nj0

    Teams in round 1? That’s 29 teams, right?

  • scripty

    While Powell was a bad pick, that was actually a good trade no, as it got the (Ravens) franchise those picks they aced in year 1 in BAL.

  • scripty

    Think it turned out to be Ogden?

  • mgbode

    In other words, “You don’t like Butt and you cannot lie”

  • scripty

    I think the value of a player with that severe an injury is 5th rounder or worse.

  • mgbode

    Depends on the player. ACL recoveries are commonplace in the NFL these days but it does add risk. I saw him as a 2nd rounder BEFORE the injury, so 4th-6th makes sense to me. That is one reason why he would be a bad choice at No. 52 (plus he replicates Barnidge and Browns really need guys now badly).

  • mgbode

    Ray Lewis – took Ogden with their own pick that was helped by the team falling apart after the announcement.

  • scripty

    That’s why I think I need to see the data. I think we’d be able to find a comp of equal value without the present injuries.

  • mgbode

    31 other teams

    I think 2 QBs go top half of the first round. 2 go in the 20s (either to teams there now or teams trading into those slots).

    Teams who might draft one of these 4 guys:


    That means 7 other teams that could take one before we get into some of the crazy scenarios involving Pit or AZ.

  • nj0

    30 non-Browns picks. 31 teams minus the Eagles and Rams. Maybe one or two others?

  • scripty

    I think it’d be logical for at least team to pull a move like the 1 MIN used to obtain Teddy Bridgewater, knowing that CLE could take a QB there at 32.

  • scripty

    Great post. I love the designations. “The Riser” about killed me.

  • RGB

    Frank Gore?

  • mgbode

    Gotcha. Those teams are set at QB, so don’t help us there though.

  • Jaker

    Unfortunately it is way too relatable lol

  • AMV25

    I know I am straying off topic a bit here on how things can go horribly wrong. Felt like picking some brains here. I am a huge fan of upgrading the O line as many of us are. Haven’t heard a lot on Cam Robinson in a bit and virtually nothing on Pat Elflein. What are the odds of say Robinson at 12 and Elflein with the following pick or 2. Obviously if he is around. Feasible? A bit of a stretch? A whole lot of a stretch?? Ultimately I don’t think it matters as we’d screw it up one way or another