Saturday, March 23, 2019

Will he or won’t he?

 So the Browns have assigned only 15 players with first-round grades in next month’s college football draft. Because they had a much-better-than-expected record last season, they were scheduled to draft 17th in the opening round.

But since they sent that selection to the New York Giants in the Odell Beckham Jr. blockbuster deal, they now have to wait until midway through the second round to dip into the college lottery.

Meaning, of course, that even if they had held on to that 17th pick, they probably wouldn’t have used it because all of those 15 would theoretically be gone. A convenient excuse to be only spectators on opening night of the three-day extravaganza.

It’s also an interesting way of rationalizing shipping that pick to the Giants. It’s like saying, “We had the 17th pick and awarded first-round grades to only 15 prospects, so why not deal it because it would have been second-round talent, anyway?”

Logic suggests there is no way the Browns will participate in the opening round, watching instead as the top players fall, giving the club’s fans, who are no doubt sick and tired of watching their cub drafting so high on an annual basis, the night off.

Unless, that is, General Manager John Dorsey, whose star has now risen to celestial heights, somehow finds a way to move up to grab one of those 15 prospects who falls unexpectedly into his crosshairs.

It won’t take much. The rhythm of a draft is such that it can be upset by just one major surprise in the top five. One shocker can create a domino effect and knock everyone else down.

The only problem there is Dorsey, who loves to deal, does not own enough trade capital with his personnel. After unloading Kevin Zeitler and Jabrill Peppers to the Giants, he has little to work with beyond the growing array of core players he won’t deal.

The only weapon he can wield is next year’s first-round pick. The likelihood of that eventuating, however, ranks somewhere between “no way” and “is he crazy?” Or does it?

Dorsey’s expected non-participation the first night is the price he has paid to mold the Cleveland offense into one of the strongest and scariest in the National Football League. In other words, it was well worth it.

No sense is pushing the envelope unless someone he has totally fallen in love with tumbles and pushes him to search for a trade partner. Considering his reputation as a risk taker, though, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him swing into action.

It potentially gives the expression “stay tuned” an entirely different meaning

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