We’ve got just a few minutes to catch our breath in between the combine and free agency.
We’ve got time for four good questions this week.
Can you give an update on what and who the Wentz Trade has become? -- Big Budu, Brisbane, Australia
First, a refresher on the parameters of the deal:
Cleveland gave Philadelphia:
No. 2 pick in 2016 draft
4th-round pick in 2017 draft
Philadelphia gave Cleveland:
No. 8 pick in 2016 draft
No. 77 pick in 2016 draft
No. 100 pick in 2016 draft
1st-round pick in 2017 draft
2nd-round pick in 2018 draft
The Browns, of course, turned that haul into much more than five players. The only pick they haven’t since traded is Philadelphia’s 2018 second-rounder -- and there’s still time.
While the Browns were on the clock with the No. 8 pick, they flipped it and a sixth-rounder to the Titans for the No. 15 pick, another third-round pick (76) and a 2017 second-rounder. Cleveland packaged the No. 77 pick and a fifth-rounder (141) in a deal with Carolina that netted it picks Nos. 93, 129 and 168. The No. 100 pick went to Oakland for No. 114 and No. 154 in the 2016 draft. And in the 2017 draft, Cleveland flipped Philadelphia’s first-rounder, which turned into the No. 12 pick, to Houston for the No. 25 pick and a 2018 first-rounder, which turned into the No. 4 pick in this year’s draft.
With two big spots in this trade yet to be fulfilled on the Browns’ end, here are the players the Browns ultimately landed from those picks.
WR Corey Coleman
OL Shon Coleman
QB Cody Kessler
WR Ricardo Louis
DB Derrick Kindred
WR Jordan Payton
OL Spencer Drango
DB Jabrill Peppers
QB DeShone Kizer
On the flip side, the Eagles, of course, netted QB Carson Wentz and, after another trade, RB Donnel Pumphrey. The Titans landed OL Jack Conklin and, through another trade, DB LeShaun Sims. Carolina picked DB Daryl Worley and DB Zack Sanchez. Oakland took QB Connor Cook. Houston drafted QB DeShaun Watson.
With so many holes at a lot of positions, what are the chances the Browns take the best player available, not best QB, and give DeShone Kizer one more year to prove something? -- Eli P., Auburn, New York
It’s impossible to calculate odds on a hypothetical like this because the only one who can truly answer it is general manager John Dorsey, who will be leading his first draft with the Browns in April. He’s been adamant about drafting the best player available whenever he’s asked about Cleveland’s plans at No. 1 and No. 4. He did, however, say there are four to five quarterbacks worthy of the discussion to be the No. 1 pick. And coach Hue Jackson, speaking at the combine last week, said it would take a “special player” to avoid the quarterback position at the top of the draft. Many draft experts have written Penn State running back Saquon Barkley and Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson are the best players, when it correlates to how well they play their position, in this year’s draft, but only a small handful expect Cleveland to draft a non-quarterback with the No. 1 pick.
Perhaps these two answers can provide a little insight on Dorsey’s thinking with a little less than seven weeks until the draft.
On where DeShone Kizer stands in the QB mix:
“I have always said the biggest change in players in from Year 1 to Year 2 where they will grow exponentially because they are solely focused on the task at hand. They are familiar with their surroundings. They are familiar with their playbooks. They understand what their weaknesses are they will develop and work upon them. This offseason, I can’t wait to see him come back in OTAs because I think he is going to make exponential strides. That is the competitive nature that you want. You want to be able to have those guys develop and fit into a role and see what it happens.”
On the most important positions linked directly to winning in the NFL:
“We have actually played this scenario more than once. Me personally, now we have actually had a lot of discussion about it, me personally, it has to be quarterback. Everybody knows that. Then, what I would say is it has to be – this is where we begin to differ a tad – it has to be pass rusher, corner, I say left tackle and then receiver.”
I am loving the combo of Minkah Fitzpatrick and Sam Darnold but if we do that, do you think before the draft we should take a chance on trying to sign a top-notch safety in Lamarcus Joyner and then we don’t have to worry about taking a safety and we could take the best available player, say, Saquon Barkley? And in free agency, we could solidify the corner position by signing Kyle Fuller or Malcom Butler? What do you guys think? I’m just loving this offseason way more than last years. -- Derek B., Hilliard
A couple of significant things have happened since Derek submitted his question. The Rams used the franchise tag on Joyner, effectively taking him off the market, and the Bears used the transition tag on Fuller, making it much more difficult for another team to sign him away from Chicago. Even without those two on the market, there are still a number of options available to the Browns when free agency opens Wednesday. Fifteen of NFL.com’s 101 top free agents are defensive backs in a group that includes Butler, Trumaine Johnson, Bashaud Breeland and more. And if the Browns stick with the best player available mindset at No. 4, I don’t believe their free agency activity, however thorough it is, will affect their actions in the draft.
Why don't the Browns go for a QB later in the draft so they can fill other needed positions first? Look at Tom Brady, a sixth-round pick to NFL legend -- Isaiah C., Ithaca, New York
This type of question has been asked in a variety of ways since the beginning of the offseason, so I’ll tackle it in a different way this time. I’ll focus on Brady, where he was picked and the success rate of finding a player in the same stratosphere of his caliber in the late rounds.
Dating back to 2007, here’s a year-by-year breakdown of the quarterbacks drafted in the fourth round or later. It’s long and speaks for itself.
John David Booty