Strange draft territory
It’s been a very long time since the Browns entered the annual National Football League college draft without a first-round choice.
It sure looks as though that’s where they are headed as the NFL’s three-day extravaganza kicks off Thursday night in Nashville
The blockbuster deal with the New York Giants a few weeks ago cost them their first-rounder this year (No. 17), the club softening the blow of losing the first rounder by rationalizing the trade, suggesting wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is their first-rounder.
Fans will have to wait until pick #49 in the middle of the second round to welcome the newest member of the club unless General Manager John Dorsey somehow finagles his way back into the first round, which is not out of the realm of possibility given the GM’s fondness for trading.
It will severely test the stamina of Browns Nation to wait tediously through the entire first round, knowing they don’t have a pick, waiting anxiously to see if Dorsey successfully wields his magic wand.
Fans undoubtedly will see several possibilities to jump back in as the lottery unfolds and wonder why Dorsey is not pulling a trigger. The second-guessing is likely to run rampant throughout the night.
If Dorsey is unable to convince a rival general manager to do business, the thrill of celebrating the arrival of the newest Brown will have to wait until the second round Friday night.
If that’s the case, it will be the lowest the Browns have made their initial selection since 2008, when they swapped pick No. 22 and two others in subsequent rounds and wound up picking 104th.
That fourth-round selection was the very forgettable Beau Bell, a linebacker who lasted one season, managed to get into five games and made three tackles. That comprised his entire NFL career.
It has been two decades since the NFL graciously allowed Cleveland to become a member in good standing once again after an undeserved and unwarranted three-year absence.
In that span, the Browns have drafted in the top 10 on 15 occasions and owned a top 15 spot before a trade another two times, a legacy as to just how awful this franchise has been.
Dorsey turned that around about as quickly (13 months) as any NFL general manager in recent memory. His roster magic solidified previous problem areas,, making his job that much easier this season.
With few exceptions, he will target specific areas of need, looking to strengthen the situations at linebacker and the offensive line, as well as the bench and bottom half of the roster.
As the prevarication clouds hover over 76 Lou Groza Blvd in the next 48 hours, all kinds of untruths will be unearthed and dissected. And of course, they are not to be believed.
For what it’s worth, the guess here is the Browns will stay put at 49, running back Duke Johnson Jr. will be dealt for a low-round draft choice and Dorsey will consider mortgaging the future by dangling next year’s No. 1 pick in order to move up, but finally resist.
As he should.