CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns have plenty of assets for the 2018 NFL Draft, enough that they could have parted with one of their five picks in the first two rounds to bolster the quarterback position, but once again, the front office was beaten to the punch.
Through various media outlets, New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has long been tied to the Browns, and particularly, coach Hue Jackson. However, the day before the NFL Trade Deadline, the Browns watched idly as the Patriots dealt Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers for one second-round pick in 2018.
Missing on Garoppolo is bad enough.
Having the assets to make the deal happen is worse.
And it continues a pattern that shows this current front office of Sashi Brown, once general counsel for the team before taking over control of the 53-man roster on January 3, 2016, and Paul DePodesta, a career baseball executive with no relevant NFL experience, are so far behind the curve that all of their draft picks would have to be Pro Bowl-caliber or better to dig out of the hole dug in their 23 months running the Browns.
Since Brown took over as the executive vice president of football operations, the Browns have gone 1-23 with a 14-game losing streak to start the 2016 season, and an 0-8 run through the first half of 2017 after a 33-16 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at Twickenham Stadium in London last Sunday.
Brown and Co. have turned over the roster by more than 80 percent since taking office, and built a team with 46 of the 53 players having three or less years of NFL experience.
Not striking a deal for Garoppolo is the latest issue for the Browns at quarterback.
The Browns traded the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to the Philadelphia Eagles on April 20, 2016.
In return for the No. 2 pick and a fourth-round pick in 2017, the Browns received the Eagles’ first-round picks in the 2016 and 2017 drafts, as well as third (No. 77) and fourth-round (No. 100) selections in 2016 and a 2018 second-round choice.
By trading the pick to Philadelphia, the Browns passed on the chance to select Carson Wentz, a 6-foot-6, 235-pound quarterback who engineered back-to-back runs to the Football Championship Subdivision National Championship at North Dakota State. The Browns’ chief strategy officer, DePodesta went on the record and said that he believed Wentz did not have the potential to be a top-20 NFL quarterback.
In 24 career NFL games, Wentz has completed 540 of his 871 attempts (62 percent) for 5,845 yards and 35 touchdowns against 19 interceptions. Through the first eight games of the 2017 season, Wentz has the Eagles off to an NFL-best 7-1 start and in first place in the NFC East Division.
Wentz has completed 161 passes for 2,063 yards and 19 touchdowns against five interceptions this season, and is considered a potential MVP candidate.
Then, the Browns pulled off the shocker of the first day of the 2017 league year, as they orchestrated a trade with the Houston Texans for quarterback Brock Osweiler, as well as a sixth-round choice in the 2017 NFL Draft and a second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Houston got a 2017 fourth-round pick from the Browns.
Because of guarantees in the contract, the Browns essentially paid $15 million to acquire a second-round pick in the draft because they cut Osweiler before the start of the season.
By doing so, the Browns left themselves without a veteran option at quarterback, and had three players, Kevin Hogan, Cody Kessler and DeShone Kizer, with less than two years of NFL experience and no professional victories on their respective resumes.
In his first seven NFL starts, Kizer completed 111 of his 213 attempts (52.1 percent) for 1,144 yards with three touchdowns against a league-worst 11 interceptions. Additionally, Kizer has taken 15 sacks for 81 lost yards and holds a 51.1 quarterback rating.
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