February is my birth month, but it’s a boring boring sports month. The NFL’s done. The NBA is slogging its way to the All-Star break. Pitchers and catchers report, but there’s not much to say about it after a momentary celebration of what’s to come. College basketball is heating up, but with a tournament like March Madness, it can only get so hot. And here we are pushing that rock up the hill just the same. Let’s push it together, shall we?
Bill Barnwell and reconsidering the possibility of a Browns trade-down
Bill Barnwell is one of the NFL opinions I value most in the media. He never really flies off the handle, and even when I disagree with him, I can see where he’s coming from. In his latest for ESPN, he makes a case for five moves each of the AFC North teams should make. I was totally with him. He suggests franchising Terrelle Pryor, which is fine, although I hope the Browns can get him on a deal that works for both sides. He recommends the Browns use free agency to build the lines of scrimmage and also sign Tyrod Taylor. Taylor is a nice step forward, but doesn’t preclude the Browns from using a high draft pick on a QB. That’s all logic I can easily abide. Then, he suggests trading down from the first overall pick if the Browns get “even a moderate ransom.”
Ugh. I read the headline and that’s all that I could think was, “ugh.” Of course, in the history of the Browns, there’s no great draft strategy that you can point to and say, “See? Just do that!” However, the trade-down scenarios are especially galling to Browns fans. There’s no Julio Jones, or Sammy Watkins on the Browns’ roster. Instead the Browns have the ghosts of Phil Taylor, Justin Gilbert, Brandon Weeden and Johnny Manziel to show for all their wondrous trades. There’s so much pressure to JUST PICK THE BEST FOOTBALL PLAYER AT THE SPOT WE EARNED WITH OUR MISERY AND TEARS.
Alas, I kept reading Barnwell’s logical post. That’s when he smashed me over the head with a kind of painful logic that has you re-think everything you thought you thought about trading down in 2017.
This is when I start talking myself into trading out of the first overall pick. If the Browns can get a ransom, and if they can manage to not screw up the picks with another Justin Gilbert / Johnny Manziel kind of draft, it would be just fine to trade down. Myles Garrett is probably going to be great, but the Browns do need lots of pieces. If they can still end up drafting two first rounders this year, plus a second rounder who is a veritable first with the 33rd pick, I guess I have to be in favor of it.
The draft strategy is to take the best player available and I’m quite positive the Browns don’t have a Myles Garrett in their roster of players, but it isn’t like they don’t have a lot of young names. Emmanuel Ogbah is going to be starting his second year. Same with Carl Nassib. Nate Orchard, Xavier Cooper and Danny Shelton are all starting their third years. Of all players on the defensive front including defensive tackles, defensive ends and linebackers, the Cleveland Browns only have two players in their sixth season, and we’re talking about DeMario Davis and Tank Carder. Again, none of this is to say that the Browns couldn’t use a potential all-time level of pass-rusher, which is obviously the idea if you draft Myles Garrett first overall. It’s just to say that good long-term draft strategy involves spreading out risk and maximizing value.
It’s a bit of a kick to the teeth to consider, but the Browns’ inability to execute a good strategy is no different than their inability to run the West Coast offense or make either the 3-4 or 4-3 work. It’s not the fault of the system, per se. It’s the fault of the people enacting the system. These are the actors we have, and you have to assume they might know what they’re doing, and kicking dirt on a good strategy won’t make them better. So maybe the Browns should consider a trade down?
I can’t believe I’m even saying it, but I think Bill Barnwell might have talked me into it.
I’ve started playing Rocket League!
Look, I’m not good at this game and I enjoy playing it with my son, but I looked it up online and there are people who play this game at a completely different level. This is probably more like the future of sports than anything else I’ve seen. I mean, it won’t look like this, but this is on the right track. People will be able to relate to this kind of scoring and combining it with driving ability.
And on top of it, you might have noticed that there hasn’t been a lot of soccer zen lately. That’s because the clips are usually spiked off the internet by the time this post goes live every week. You know what happens when you take your digital media rights that seriously? I post stuff that isn’t locked down.
You can’t win in the long run by making your product harder for people to access. Don’t do that.