CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns have had plenty of struggles over the last two seasons, but with a new league year on the horizon and the pre-draft evaluation process getting underway in earnest with the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this week, hope is springing eternal once again.
Browns coach Hue Jackson spoke to the media at the NFL Scouting Combine Wednesday and expressed excitement about going through the pre-draft evaluation process with new general manager John Dorsey.
“This is an exciting time for our organization, a lot of positive energy in our building with John Dorsey and our personnel staff being there because we truly believe we have an opportunity to impact our football team, our organization in this draft,” Jackson said.
“Having six of the first 65 picks is going to be a huge opportunity for us moving forward. Our organization is working hard each and every day, excited about this chance and opportunity, and I truly believe we’re going make this opportunity work. That’s what we’ve got to do.”
With a year-ending loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, the Browns went winless in a 16-game season for the first time in franchise history, and their 17th consecutive loss dropped the organization to a league-worst 1-31 since the opening game of 2016.
The Browns have not won on a Sunday afternoon since December 13, 2015, and those 33 straight Sunday losses are an NFL record.
Last season, the Browns set the record for the worst 28-game stretch in NFL history, as they bested the previous mark of 2-26 set by the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the 1976-1977 seasons with a 1-27 mark that got four losses worse over the final month of play in 2017.
“I really don’t want to get into comparing regimes or anything like that, but I’m excited about John being in the building,” Jackson said of the new Browns general manager. “I’m excited about what we do each and every day to try and get this football team better and headed in the right direction.”
By having the Nos. 1 and 4 overall picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Browns are in the quarterback discussion once again, and Jackson pledged that any decision made regarding potential players will be done collectively.
“It’s going to be a collaborative effort through the personnel department, John, through the coaching staff,” Jackson said. “We’ve got a new coordinator in Todd Haley. We’ve got a new quarterbacks coach in Kenny Zampese, so I think we’ll all have input. At the end of the day, I’m sure me and John will sit down and put our heads together on what’s best for our organization.”
Should the Browns elect to choose a quarterback in the top five, Jackson wants a little bit of a different look to the players in the room with him.
Last year, the Browns selected quarterback DeShone Kizer in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft, and then, parted ways with veteran signal-caller Brock Osweiler at the end of training camp. That decision left the Browns with a rookie in Kizer and a pair of second-year quarterbacks, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan, serving as the backups.
None of those quarterbacks have experienced a win as an NFL starter.
“You want a guy who’s been a veteran player, that’s played in the National Football League, that’s had a chance to win,” Jackson said. “You’d like to have a young player that you’re developing, maybe two of those kind of players in your room.”