By Lewis Gould
It’s the day after the Eagles mortgaged their future by trading five picks to the Cleveland Browns for the chance to draft at No. 2 next week one of two quarterbacks who have not set the scouting world on fire.
Carson Wentz and Jared Goff are not Troy Aikman, Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota.
The Eagles — who already have $34 million of owner Jeffrey Lurie’s money guaranteed for Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel — traded up for a quarterback who will be no sure thing in a league where the hit-miss ratio is around 50-50 on first-round passers.
Just because Chip Kelly’s gone (and maybe chuckling now in San Francisco) doesn’t mean the days of bizarre management moves are over at One Novacare Way.
The Browns, with the buck now stopping with Sashi Brown, can relate. The first weeks of this latest new setup — Brown, executive vice president of football operations, is flanked by new coach Hue Jackson and Paul DePodesta, the chief strategy officer and analytics whiz bringing his acclaimed Moneyball philosophies to the NFL from MLB — included a few head-scratching moves with the lineup of vets walking as free agents.
Yet to their credit, the Browns were happy to oblige to the Eagles’ new vision. And now Cleveland can try to rock with that cache of draft picks — which the analytics will tell you are worth a lot more, and at a rookie-scale cheap price, if you can hit on them.
No doubt, they have much work to do. But it’s about time that the Browns showed a winning hand. Their 12 picks matches San Francisco’s tally for most in the upcoming draft.
Yes, the NFL is a copycat league with a new trend at work.
Last week, the Tennessee Titans traded the No.1 pick overall for a haul from the St. Louis Rams to allow new GM Jon Robinson to rebuild with six of the top 76 picks next week, while also securing a first-round pick next year.
Now the Browns have done just as well for themselves, and perhaps will ultimately even trump Tennessee’s move, depending on the value of the future picks.
The Browns can still draft a rookie quarterback after Round 1, with Connor Cook,Christian Hackenberg and Cardale Jones offering potential as projects.
If the Browns are still in need for a young quarterback next year, well so be it. I hear the crop of rookie passers in 2017 will be better than this one.
And now the Browns have some extra ammo if they need to trade into a position to get one.