Share this article

print logo

Buhleedat or not, Cleveland Browns worth envying at NFL Draft

As long as the Cleveland Browns are in the NFL, and they should be thankful there's no relegation system, Buffalo Bills fans have a reason to feel superior.

Of the world's pathetic sports organizations, the Browns are among the most absolutely pitiful. Since they were resuscitated in 1999, they've had 15 seasons with six or fewer victories.

The Browns won a single game last year. The reward, however, was first dibs in this year's draft to go along with a cache of draft capital their avant-garde front-office had amassed.

Imagine that: a reason to be envious of the Cleveland Browns.

Cleveland on Thursday night made three first-round picks. They selected Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett, a pass-rusher who has drawn comparisons to the Bills' last No. 1 pick, Bruce Smith.

Cleveland then traded its other first-rounder for even more draft assets they spun into another trade to get back into the first round.

The Houston Texans acquired the Browns' No. 12 pick for the No. 25 pick (they took Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers) and next year's first-round choice. The Browns then obtained the Green Bay Packers' No. 29 selection (for Miami tight end David Njoku).

The Browns -- for now -- own 11 picks this year, including five of the first 65. For next year, they hold two first-rounders and three second-rounders.

They had 14 picks last year and a dozen picks in 2015.

Now that's a rebuilding plan.

Cleveland returned to the NFL in 1999 as an expansion team. Houston joined the league in 2002, when the current playoff format was adopted. They were granted the top pick each year just for coming aboard.

So a team has earned the No. 1 selection by finishing with the worst record 16 times since the Browns were revived.

The Los Angeles Rams, who took quarterback Sam Bradford in 2010 and quarterback Jared Goff in 2016, are the only ones not to make the playoffs since. We can't judge the Tampa Bay Buccaneers yet. They hailed quarterback Jameis Winston two years ago.

The other 13 clubs needed an average of 3.3 seasons to reach the postseason after picking first overall.

And maybe you're saying, "Hold on there, slick. The Indianapolis Colts were an aberration when they crashed without an injured Peyton Manning and had the fortune to snag Andrew Luck. Doesn't that throw off the math?"

Not really. Remove the Colts as a freak example, and teams that draft first get to the playoffs an average of 3.5 seasons later.

The Oakland Raiders are an outlier in the other direction.

They failed to make the playoffs for a decade after flubbing their 2007 top pick on quarterback JaMarcus Russell; Ten teams since 1999 have drafted No. 1 and made the postseason in three or fewer seasons.

Above average

The Bills didn't want to draft a quarterback with the 10th overall pick, instead trading it to the Kansas City Chiefs for their 27th and 91st picks and next year's first-rounder.

Buffalo chose LSU cornerback Tre'Davious White in the 27th slot to help fill the void left by Stephon Gilmore and Nickell Robey-Coleman.

You'd have to think Chiefs coach Andy Reid and his protégé, Bills rookie coach Sean McDermott, felt comfortable hammering out a deal. And you wonder how involved General Manager Doug Whaley was.

Anyway, the trade might prove to be a win-win. Reid got quarterback Patrick Mahomes, while Buffalo acquired more draft assets for its rebuild.

Buffalo had an NFL-low six draft choices before obtaining a fifth-rounder Monday, having declined to match the offer sheet running back Mike Gillislee signed with the New England Patriots.


Mahomes' selection bolsters agent Leigh Steinberg's professional comeback.

Steinberg, once among the most powerful men in sports, once could boast representing half of the NFL's starting quarterbacks, including Hall of Famers Troy Aikman, Warren Moon and Steve Young.

Steinberg lost his marriage and business because of alcoholism.

Last year, Paxton Lynch became Steinberg's first quarterback client taken in the first round since Ben Roethlisberger in 2004.

I'll allow it

Remember when some analysts wagged their fingers at LSU running back Leonard Fournette and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey for sitting out their bowl games, putting their careers above their teams?

Remember when we heard that pro scouts would grill Fournette and McCaffrey about being bad teammates? Remember folks wondered if their perceived selfishness would drop them down NFL draft boards?

The Jacksonville Jaguars took Fournette fourth overall, and the Carolina Panthers took McCaffrey eighth overall.

Thanks, Obama

Reporters who dreamed of an easy night with the Bills drafting 10th bemoaned the trade that strained deadlines and hurt newscasters' ability to assemble packages that show who this new guy is.

What an enjoyable time it must have been in 1983.

The legendary first round that featured the greatest QB draft class along with Hall of Famers Eric Dickerson, Bruce Matthews and Darrell Green began at 8:03 a.m. on a Tuesday.

Much love to Buffalo Rumblings editor Chris Trapasso for tweeting a photo of the 1983 draft handout.

We good here?

I dig what the Bills did Thursday night.

They needed to collect more draft assets to make up for all the times they sacrificed picks to trade up over the past five years.

Sure, it felt cool to trade up for Sammy Watkins and Reggie Ragland. But the trades impaired Buffalo's roster-building process.

Buffalo's begging for players. The trade with Kansas City trade gives McDermott a better chance.

Story topics: / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

There are no comments - be the first to comment