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. []