NFL Draft: Cleveland Browns Should Trade Out of Top Pick

The Cleveland Browns chances of receiving the top pick in the 2017 NFL Draft are  almost certain. However, would it be wise to keep the pick?

Not since 1994 have the Cleveland Browns won a playoff game. Nearly an entire generation of Browns fans have grown up and had their first legal drink while watching their team suffer through another unbearable season.

If the 49ers (2-13) win their final game and/or the Browns (1-14) lose theirs, the first overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft will officially belong to the Cleveland Browns.

Shockingly, 2017 would be the first time the Browns have possessed the first overall pick since 2000 when they took Courtney Brown out of Penn State. Cleveland also held the top pick the year prior, taking the infamous Tim Couch over fringe-Hall of Fame quarterback Donovan McNabb.

Anyone with basic knowledge of the NFL knows the Browns are a horrible team with incompetent executives running the show. They had the opportunity to draft Carson Wentz with the second-overall pick, but did not see him as a franchise quarterback. Philadelphia has proven that otherwise, and the Browns are the laughing-stock of the league once again.

Quarterback is the Browns most pressing need, and has been since Bernie Kosar in the mid-80s. With the 2017 NFL Draft class being weak at quarterback, why waste the top pick on an unworthy talent? While a freakish pass rusher (Myles Garrett, Jonathan Allen) could be taken, their value does not come close to equating what the Browns could get if they trade out of the top pick.

The best thing for Cleveland if they trade out is that they own the Eagles first round pick from the Wentz trade. That pick is currently projected to be late in the top-10, and the Browns could certainly get a very talented player with that pick.

The Rams received three first-round picks and a second from Washington for the second-overall pick, used to draft Robert Griffin III in 2012.

Last year the Tennessee Titans sent the top pick to Los Angeles for two first, two second, and two third-round draft picks. Imagine what a team could do with that type of assets. Tennessee, while granted having a franchise quarterback, nearly made the playoffs this year after winning five games over two years.

Dec 24, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Cody Kessler (6) throws a pass during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Browns won 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Even better, the Browns can evaluate Cody Kessler for a full season and see if Hue Jackson can develop him into a quality starting quarterback. Jackson clearly saw something he liked by drafting Kessler on day two of the draft last year. Give the former USC starter a chance to develop and go through the triumphs and tribulations of an NFL season.

Cleveland has the chance to acquire a wealth of assets by trading this projected top draft pick, and they should take that chance. Honestly, what do they have to lose at this stage of the franchise’s existence?

Let’s say the Browns trade back with (for random example) the Bears with the projected fourth-overall pick. If they can get the fourth pick, Chicago’s 2018 first-round pick, and the Bears 2019 second-round pick, it’s a great situation and a steal for Cleveland.

Dec 3, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Florida Gators running back Lamical Perine (22) is brought down by Alabama Crimson Tide defense during the second quarter of the SEC Championship college football game at Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland then uses the fourth-overall pick on a defensive player, whether it be Tim Williams, Reuben Foster, Jabrill Peppers, whomever. They follow that up with the Eagles pick from last years trade, where they could get an offensive lineman, another linebacker, or a shutdown cornerback.

If the Browns have the worst record in the league once again in 2017 (which is entirely possible) they can draft a star quarterback such as Lamar Jackson with the top pick. Then, they have the Bears pick, which can not be much better than where they currently sit.

With potentially two top-five picks in 2018, Cleveland has an unprecedented opportunity to acquire two Pro Bowl caliber players.

This is the road Cleveland should take, and they’d be foolish not to. Then again, that is why they’re where they have been for 30 years.