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Did the Browns Trade Away A Draft Pick? Or Their Future?

The Cleveland Browns made national news on Wednesday when they participated in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles that sent draft picks flying in either direction. 

Some people liked what the Browns did, or, more accurately, didn't like what the Eagles did. But a lot of pundits looked at a Browns team that desperately needs a franchise quarterback and they scratched their heads as to why the team traded away their chance to do just that.

That viewpoint does make sense.

A lot of Browns fans loved the move because the draft is about the only thing they have to look forward to every year. More picks! More picks equal more players for a roster that annually leaves a lot to be desired.

That viewpoint also makes a lot of sense.

Some Browns fans wonder what the point in draft picks are. The team never gets it right, no matter who is picking. There's no reason to hope that this new team will do any better than the old teams.

I understand that viewpoint, too.

So which one is the right one?

Let's look at them separately.

THE BROWNS PASSED ON THE CHANCE TO GET A FRANCHISE QUARTERBACK

Definitely this is true. The team that has been in the abyss of quarterbacks just passed on picking one of two guys who everyone seems to be really high on. I'm not saying that this is exactly my point of view, but I will say that I agree with this statement.

The Browns are not going to be a serious team until they have that quarterback. And they need to take all the chances they can in getting one. That's really the best reason for getting Robert Griffin III. And as bad as the decisions were, that's what they were doing with Colt McCoy, Brandon Weeden, and Johnny Manziel

Maybe the Browns are not passing on the chance. Maybe they like someone like Connor Cook.

But let's say they are passing on the chance. This means that they will be trying again next year or the year after. But to have a real shot at such a guy, the Browns are going to have to be picking in the Top 3. And to do that without trading up, the team is going to have to be awful. Which, okay, they seem to have mastered being awful. But they are going to have to be really awful.

The Browns only won 3 games last year. 3! And it still wasn't good/bad enough to get the first overall pick! Let's say they come out in 2016 and only win 5 games. In this year's draft, 5 wins is good enough for picks 5-7. A high pick, yes. High enough to get an Andrew Luck? Not even close.

So for those fans who are in the next group, know that if you are right, this team has just made it harder for themselves, short of giving up a lot of picks in the future.

THE BROWNS ARE GETTING MORE DRAFT PICKS TO BUILD THEIR ROSTER

Definitely this is true, too. The team is a mess. They have a lot of holes. Heck, holes isn't even the right word. They have chasms! Wide receiver is awful. Lineback is awful. Maybe one pass rusher. Offensive line is thin. Defensive backs are anorexic. Every other area has question marks. I think it's fair to say that the Browns don't have one position of strength,

They need talent. A lot of talent. In a lot of spots. Having a franchise quarterback is all well and good, but if the rest of the team can't perform well, the team is not going to win just because they have a stud under center.

Of course, the Browns already had a lot of picks to go after some of those guys. And no matter how many picks they have now or had before, it still won't be enough, even if they hit on every pick. So maybe the concern about finishing with a record that is too "good" to get a franchise quarterback is moot.

Of course, sitting at number 8, the Browns could trade down even further and get even more picks. Not the haul they got from Philadelphia, obviously, but more picks mean more chances to get it right and to improve the team moving forward.

Of course, none of that will matter if...

THE BROWNS GET THEIR PICKS WRONG JUST LIKE THEY ALWAYS DO

Amen to that. Good god, I know it's harder than fans give the process credit for, but how can they be so bad at drafting? Even a guy like Trent Richardson, who seemed like a no-brainer, turned out to be a bust. He's not even in the NFL anymore! The only caveat is that at least the Browns weren't the only team dumb enough to spend a first-round pick on him. (Indianapolis) 

Of course, that didn't matter either as that Indy pick became Johnny Manziel. Another wasted pick. 

Besides the picks I already mentioned, there is Justin Gilbert and Barkevious Mingo. I'm not going through this list because we all know it.

Of course, if the Browns really are going to blow another draft, where they pick is irrelevant. So while I understand this point of view, I'm scratching it from evaluating this trade with Philadelphia.

So that brings us to the one question everyone is asking: Should the Browns have traded down?

I say no.

The Browns are the kings of trading down and because of the third point I declared was not valid for this discussion, they have done nothing with those extra picks. But I'm not saying it based on that.

The Browns need more than bodies filling out their roster; they need game-changers. They need studs. Blue-chip players, whatever you want to call them. And they need that quarterback. They really need that quarterback.

Maybe they have him in Griffin. They don't in Josh McCown, Connor Shaw nor Austin Davis. Maybe, as stated earlier, they will get him in Cook or maybe Paxton Lynch.

And that's where I can't kill the Browns for making this trade. Maybe they have their eye on someone else. Maybe they're going to come away with the extra picks and the franchise QB. I don't know. And even if they had stayed put and picked one of the two guys...this is Cleveland! Who's to say that any of this will work?! The team can turn any sunny day into monsoon season.

Of course, there's the possibility that the team could trade down further, and, what nobody really mentions, they could trade up.

I just want them to get it right. But to be honest, I won't be able to tell until they start playing. Did Mike Pettine turn out to be a bust as the head coach? Yes. Is that the only reason this team failed? No.

So hiring a Hue Jackson is a step in the right direction, but that alone won't turn this team around. They're going to need the guys who actually play the game to perform at a high level. And they're going to need a field general to take them to the promise land.

Now we wait to find out exactly what they do.

We're less than a week away from the Cleveland Super Bowl: The NFL Draft. Lots at stake, lots at play.

Let's hope this one time they finally get it right.
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