Maybe the Cleveland Browns’ Grand Tanking Experiment is going to work out just fine. They have a slew of draft picks, which no doubt is the best way to rebuild. They’re going to have the No. 1 draft choice.
But you have to feel for Browns fans, whose team fell to 0-14. The product on the field in 2016 is so bad that one draft (even a great one) is not going to pull the franchise out of its hole. The Browns have jettisoned talent over the past year and are at a big competitive disadvantage against the Bills, who aren’t even a playoff team. That was evidenced in Sunday’s 33-13 Bills rout of the Brownies before a two-thirds full Ralph Wilson Stadium crowd.
The worry, if you’re a Browns fan, is that the 2017 NFL Draft won’t set the foundation for the next decade. Remember the great trade between the Rams and the Redskins, which landed the latter quarterback Robert Griffin III. It was a disaster for the Redskins, because Griffin has proved over and over (and again on Sunday) that he’s not a pocket passer. But it was a disaster for the Rams, too, who didn’t turn all their draft picks into a contender.
And Browns fans aren’t looking forward to the prospect of drafting a “sure-fire,” Andrew Luck-caliber quarterback with the No. 1 pick this year.
No doubt, the Bills (7-7) do not have a clear path to championship contention. They may be headed for a total re-start in January. But Bills fans should not be wishing they had the Browns’ current road map. Which team is in a better position for the future? Maybe the answer is neither. You need to be an optimist to see a light at the end of the tunnel for either team.