Tuesday, April 19, 2016

What in the world will they do?

The possibilities on what the Browns will do deliciously abound as we head down the homestretch toward the National Football League’s annual college draft.

And since the Los Angeles Rams have sort of removed the mystery of whom they are going to take with the first overall selection a week from Thursday night without actually revealing it, the spotlight falls squarely on the Browns.

What in the world are they going to do with the second overall pick? Keep it and take the quarterback the Rams pass on?

Shock everyone and grab one of the four outstanding defensive players available, then take one of the quarterback leftovers with the first choice at the top of the second round?

Stun even more fans and experts by taking Ohio State running back Zeke Elliott, heretofore believed to be chosen several picks later? (The Browns sure could use a strong runner.)

Trade down and stockpile even more picks than the 10 they now own as the new regime launches the franchise’s latest effort to climb out of the NFL dunghill?

The possibilities do, indeed, abound deliciously.

It wouldn’t surprise that daily arguments regarding the direction of the club erupt with the tried-and-true football people on one side and the analytical wonks on the other.

For all we know, there very well might be two factions pulling in opposite directions, which often produces poor results. Then again, there is nothing wrong with dialogue as long as it remains healthy

But an uncertainty of trust definitely hangs over those who will be in charge inside the Cleveland war room. The lack of experience is, at best, troubling.

Top boss Sashi Brown has never conducted a draft. He has been an ancillary part in the past as the chief contract negotiator. He’ll make the final calls. Yikes!

Paul DePodesta, a career baseball man, is dipping his hands into NFL draft waters for the first time. Unless he is an unusually quick learner to the whys and wherefores of the NFL, he can be considered nothing more than a neophyte at this stage. A reserved yikes!

After the draft weekend ends, we should have a better understanding what the club’s chief strategy officer really does, what the new title actually means and how it impacts the roster.

New head coach Hue Jackson, although not in charge, is expected to have a large say-so in the proceedings, but he, too, is as close to a being a first-timer in that room as just about everyone else. Too offensive minded. More balance needed there.

Owner Jimmy Haslam, the veteran in the room, hopefully will be nothing more than a spectator what with his previous dalliances in the lottery. Enough said.

Andrew Berry, the club’s new vice president of player personnel, is expected to have a loud and influential voice in the room. But this is his first appearance in that capacity as he joins fellow Harvard alums Brown and DePodesta.

If nothing else, this Crimson troika will emerge a week from Saturday evening with a much greater understanding on how the wheels turn in the NFL. The knowledge they glean will be valuable down the line.

What we won’t know for at least a couple of years is how much of an impact their efforts this year will have on the roster and its subsequent performance.


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