There hasn’t been much hope for the Cleveland Browns over the last 20 years, especially the last two years. However, that has changed in just a 24-hour period.
General manager John Dorsey is doing all he can to help the Browns win at least one game next season, and possibly even more.
The Browns have a plethora of draft picks stocked up and a ton of cap space to use and Dorsey is doing just that.
On Friday, the Browns made headlines by trading for wide receiver Jarvis Landry, quarterback Tyrod Taylor and cornerback Damarious Randall. Then, just when everyone was trying to digest these trades, Dorsey struck again on Saturday by sending defensive tackle and former first-round pick Danny Shelton along with a 2018 fifth round pick to New England for a 2019 third round pick.
Back to Friday.
Cleveland has had a well-documented history of horrible luck at the quarterback position. Well now they have a seasoned veteran in Taylor, who is a duel-threat quarterback and doesn’t turn the ball over. Last season rookie Deshone Kizer threw 22 interceptions, where Taylor threw 16 in three combined seasons in Buffalo.
In Buffalo, who received the 65th overall pick in next month’s NFL Draft, Taylor did not have any weapons to use at his disposal. Now he has two. The first is Josh Gordon, who if he can stay on the field, is one of the elite wide receivers in the game today. Then on the other side of Gordon is Landry, who the Browns dished out a 2018 fourth round pick and a 2019 seventh round pick. That seems like a steal and well, it is.
Landry led the NFL in receptions last season with 112. To put that into perspective for how Landry will instantly help Taylor and the Browns, last season the top-five Cleveland receivers combined for 111 receptions. The combination of Gordon and Landry along with 2015 first-round pick Corey Coleman makes for a dynamic receiving corps.
Not only do the Browns have the offensive weapons, but they also have the coaching for these players. Head coach Hue Jackson is known to be a quarterback guru, despite his 1-31 record over the past two seasons. Mix him with former Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley and this offense could be one of the most fun to watch in football.
Cleveland’s secondary wasn’t the best last season and Dorsey went out and acquired Randall from Green Bay. Randall has been inconsistent in his two years in the league, but has shown signs that he can handle his own. In exchange for Randall, Dorsey shipped out Kizer, who surely wasn’t the answer long-term for Cleveland. Also in the deal, the two teams each exchanged fourth and fifth round picks in this year’s draft.
Sashi Brown, the former GM of the Browns, went with more of a Moneyball approach and that’s how the Browns have so much cap space and draft picks. Dorsey, a former NFL general manager, is doing everything he can with his resources to end the misery in Cleveland.
Jackson now has even more pressure on him after only winning one game in the past two seasons. Before, you could say there wasn’t enough talent for Jackson to work with. That is no longer an excuse and losing football games will not be tolerated.
So in the span of 24-hours, Dorsey has transformed the outlook and optimism for the Browns. Not only did he make these moves, but free agency opens up next week and then the Browns can focus on next month’s draft, where they hold the first and fourth overall picks and four of the top-35 picks.
Taylor is likely a bridge quarterback as the Browns will pick a quarterback with one of their first two selections. With Taylor now on board, the Browns can take Penn State running back Saquon Barkley first overall. Barkley is arguably the top-prospect in this year’s draft class, so it seems that taking him first overall is a no-brainer.
Fans of the Cleveland Browns should feel highly optimistic and encouraged after the trades Dorsey was able to pull off. There is still plenty of work to do, but this team should no longer be the laughing stock of the NFL. The next month-and-a-half should put even more pieces in place for a franchise that has not had much success since coming back to the NFL in 1999.
Cleveland fans, rejoice. Your team is on the rise and will not be the Browns of yesteryear.