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Browns Mailbag: Diving deep into the draft with offseason underway

Posted Jan 5, 2017

Senior Writer Andrew Gribble answers your questions every week

We’ve got months upon months separating us from the 2017 NFL Draft.

There’s no way we can possibly discuss it every week until then, right?

Well...

At the end of the day, how many total picks do the Browns have? It looks like five total. Two first, two second and one third. Maybe a fifth-round pick but I can't tell. -- Hosea J., Westminster

Well, it’s definitely more than five. That’s what I can say with certainty. Projecting the official, final total is a bit more of a challenge, and that’s after you identify all of the picks Cleveland has dealt and received to and from other teams over the past two years.

Let’s try to clear it up as much as possible before even discussing compensatory picks. Here’s what the first three rounds look like.

First round - 2

No. 1

No. 12 (via Eagles)

Second round - 2

No. 33

No. 50 (via Titans)

Third round - 1

No. 65

Day 3 is where it can get a little confusing.

Let’s start with what every team has, and that’s one pick in each of the final four rounds. Also tack on the fifth-round pick Cleveland received from New England in an August trade for LB Barkevious Mingo. That gives you five on Day 3 to go with the five on Days 1 and 2 for a sum of 10.

Now, it’s subtraction time.

The Browns surrendered three of their own picks in this draft in various trades over the last year. New England is set to receive a conditional pick from the Browns in exchange for LB Jamie Collins Sr. The Eagles will receive a fourth- or fifth-round pick as part of the blockbuster trade one month before last year’s draft. The 49ers will receive a sixth- or seventh-round pick, a transaction that will finalize the Andy Lee trade of 2015. The Browns also dealt a seventh-round pick they acquired from the Colts in 2015 for DL Billy Winn when they traded Lee to the Panthers in August.

In theory, that brings the Browns back to seven picks. Compensatory picks, though, could elevate that number back to double-digits, but there’s no telling how many exactly the Browns will receive. Last year, Cleveland got a haul of three (one in the fourth round, two in the fifth). Those picks could be used to satisfy the deals with New England and Philadelphia.

So, yeah, get back to us in March and we’ll have the final, official total.

I, for one, think the Browns should be a little more aggressive in the free agency market! I'm not talking like the Redskins of the past but willing to pay for a player! We have many needs. If we can find a player that can help in a big way, maybe to a certain point we should shell out a little more than the norm! But only to a point! Do you agree? -- Rick A., Huntington, West Virginia

I’d say that sums up the Browns’ “appropriately aggressive” mindset for potential free agent signings and trades in the offseason. Cleveland’s cap space has been well-documented and executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown recently confirmed the team rolled over all of it for the upcoming season.

“We want to take aggressive shots to add talent to the roster, whether that is at the trade deadline, free agency or in the draft,” Brown said Monday. “The draft is going to be our primary pipeline of talent to the roster, but it is not going to be an exclusive pipeline. We are going to go out and look at all of the opportunities that are available to us come March.”

Lots of these rookies show great promise, and a lot of draft picks coming. How do you keep from letting go a guy that may have great potential going forward? -- Glen T., Rochester, N.Y.

That’s the tricky balance of paring down a roster to 53. There simply isn’t much room to “stash” a promising player who can’t help you now, and that’s before injuries start plaguing a roster. An example of this kind of hard decision occurred for the Browns in 2015, when a promising converted receiver by the name of Terrelle Pryor Sr. was ultimately released before the start of the season. The Browns were fortunate to get Pryor back on the roster later in the year and saw the fruits of that decision blossom in 2016.

Boddy-Calhoun’s teammates certainly think so. Despite going undrafted and coming to Cleveland via waivers from the Jaguars, Boddy-Calhoun was one of the brightest spots in the Browns’ large rookie class. He had his ups and downs just like every other rookie does, but he had a knack for making plays and proved to have the right mindset for one of the most unforgiving positions in the NFL.

The Browns acquired Callahan for depth in late October. Remember, that was the week when the status of both Cody Kessler and Josh McCown was uncertain, leaving the Browns with the possible, worst-case scenario of Kevin Hogan and no one else at the position. Callahan was waived shortly before Robert Griffin III returned to the active roster. Had the Browns kept Callahan at that point, there would have been four healthy quarterbacks ahead of him on the depth chart.


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