After 16 painful weeks, numerous dropped passes, a couple blocked kicks and some bad calls, we have finally reached the final game of the NFL's 2011 regular season. Once again, there will be no playoffs for the Cleveland Browns, as we will watch not one, maybe not two, but possibly all three of our division rivals battle it out in the playoffs for the right to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
After a 4-11 record, thoughts have inevitably turned to the draft and to how incoming players would improve this team. At this point, some fans believe that it is better to lose than to win in order to have a higher draft pick. Actually, many people are hoping to be in the best possible position to trade up to the No. 1 pick and draft quarterback prospect extraordinaire Andrew Luck. What many people don't realize is that the Browns are in a better position than anyone else to do this regardless of how Week 17 turns out.
The Browns and the Bengals are the only two teams with two first round picks in this draft. The Bengals just drafted QB Andy Dalton in the second round of 2011 and are on the verge of making the playoffs with him leading the way, so it is highly unlikely that they will trade up.
It is also true that current picks hold more value than future picks, so while every team has this year and next year's first rounder to offer to whoever ends up at No. 1 overall, the Browns' two in 2012 have more value. This is also significant because it in a way, it gives the Browns a "discount" in that they wouldn't have to give up as many picks to trade up. Say a team, for example, offers 2012's first round pick, 2013's first round pick and 2012's second-round pick, the Browns would probably only need to offer the two 2012 first rounders to match this offer.
This principle is not only applicable to the No. 1 pick and Andrew Luck, either. If there is anyone available before the Browns pick who you feel has the potential to make this team a perennial contender, and if the front office agrees, then the front office has enough firepower to make them Cleveland Browns whether we draft fourth or eighth with our original pick.
With all that said, forget about draft position this weekend, forget about that college star you want to see in brown and orange next year, forget about the idea of wanting to lose and root for the Browns to beat the Steelers! When it comes to the draft, it won't matter much.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate any feedback, positive or negative.
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