5 Creative Moves the Cleveland Browns Could Pull on Draft Day
Creativity is key when trying to put together a winning NFL draft. The general managers who stand pat with their spots in the draft and do not move around to get the guys they love always fall behind. The Cleveland Browns should take a page out of the New England Patriots’ playbook and be aggressive this year.
In the past, being aggressive has come back to bite the Browns. They traded up for running back Trent Richardson just two years ago, and he was such a colossal bust that he isn’t even with the team anymore.
All the way back in 2007, the Browns traded up in the first round to snag quarterback Brady Quinn. It turned out that he was not much more than a pretty face in the NFL. So obviously, being aggressive does not come without its risks.
Trading up or down to get the players you absolutely want while still maximizing the value of your picks is an art. Browns fans are hoping general manger Ray Farmer is more of a Vincent Van Gogh than a James Franco when it comes to his artistry.
Here are five moves that the Browns could try to pull off on draft day.
Trade Up to Get the QB They Love
It is no secret that the most important position in football is quarterback. Drafting the right guy can change the way a franchise is perceived for the next decade. Look at Peyton Manning in Indianapolis.
So if the quarterback is the most important position, then a general manager must do everything he can to get the one he loves, that is, unless he doesn’t love any of them at all.
Ray Farmer has kept his feelings about the quarterbacks top secret, and no one really knows what is going through his mind. If he does love one and thinks he can be his franchise guy, then he has to find a way to get him.
This could take some maneuvering. The Browns currently have the fourth overall pick and are guaranteed an impact player, at least in theory. So trading up should only happen if they are smitten over a quarterback and can see a scenario where he does not make it to No. 4. That’s when you have to be aggressive.
According to the NFL draft-pick value chart on WalterFootball.com, it would cost them their fourth, 26th and 35th picks to get up to No. 1. If Farmer unloads that haul, then he better be certain the guy he takes is a Super Bowl-caliber leader.
Trade Down from No. 4 If Their QB Is Gone
While it is not a certainty, it stands to reason the Browns are looking for a quarterback early in the draft. As ESPN’s Trey Wingo and many others have pointed out, the roster suggests that is the case:
A sure sign Cleveland is going QB at #4 in the draft? Have 2 QBs on their roster: Brian Hoyer..who tore his ACL in October, And Alex Tanney— trey wingo (@wingoz) April 21, 2014
While that might be true, what if their guy is gone when its time to make the fourth pick? Then they should seriously consider trading down.
I do not advocate trading down far, but if more than one quarterback is taken in the top three picks, then that means there will be a slew of players whom other teams would overpay to get their hands on—that is, of course, assuming the Browns don’t want those players worse.
Moving down one to five picks could still allow them to get an impact player at a position of need and possibly snag another high second-round pick.
This is why the 2014 draft is so interesting. Without an idea of whom Ray Farmer actually likes, he is a dangerous wild card in the draft.
Trading Up from No. 26 to Get a Tumbling QB or Other Impact Player
The Browns’ 26th pick, which they acquired from Indianapolis in the Trent Richardson trade, is valuable where it is. It is a first-round selection, and many great players have been chosen in that spot.
Remember, this is the spot where future-Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis was selected. This was also where Alan Faneca and Joe DeLamielleure were chosen.
It also has significant value because it is an easy spot from which to trade up in the first round.
Let’s say one of the top quarterbacks starts to tumble down the first round. Maybe the Browns did not have him graded as good enough for the fourth pick, but they certainly had him graded higher than anyone they can get at No. 26. That is the perfect storm for a trade-up scenario.
To trade up from No. 26 to No. 16 in the first round, it would only take 300 points. That is approximately a late second-round or early third-round pick. There is no reason not to pull the trigger on that deal if it could secure you a quarterback you like.
It is also a perfect scenario to get a wide receiver or cornerback who would not make it to your pick. Those are impact positions where game-changers are needed. The Browns should be aggressive with this selection.
Trade Up from No. 35 to Get Back into the 1st Round
The 35th pick in the draft is still very valuable. You should be selecting starters and impact players at the top of the second round still.
It is also a great jumping-off point to get back into the first round, especially when you have four total picks through the third and fourth rounds.
If the Browns packaged their second-round pick and both their third-round picks, they could potentially get back into the late teens of the first round. They could use their second-round pick and their fourth-round picks to get into the tale end of the first.
The possibilities are endless when you factor in future picks as well. This is the place where the Browns can be the most aggressive. They could potentially come away with three first-round picks in this draft.
Remember, the Brown have 10 picks and do not have 10 roster spots to give them. It would be in their best interest to use some of them to move around in the draft.
Trade with the Cowboys for Kyle Orton
Did you just spit your coffee all over your computer after reading that headline? Well, before you take to Twitter and bash my intelligence, hear me out.
The Browns have to get two more quarterbacks in camp, and one of them has to be a veteran. Brian Hoyer and Alex Tanney, who are the only two currently on the roster, are still learning the NFL game themselves.
CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora speculated that the Browns would pursue Rex Grossman (h/t FanSided's Josh Hill). While this is still entirely possible, how about Kyle Orton, who could actually play some football still and not just hold a clipboard?
Steven Mullenax from The Landry Hat speculated that Orton could be traded on draft day. The Dallas Cowboys signed former Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden, and it looks like there is no room left for Orton.
If that is the case, then the Browns should be willing to spend a late-, and I mean late-, round pick on him. He is just 31 years old and could be a mentor to Hoyer and whomever else the Browns bring in. He would also be a stable insurance policy if the rookie cannot start and Hoyer doesn’t recover form his knee surgery as fast as thought.