CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James loves watching Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz play, and he did not mince words when asked about the Cleveland Browns passing on the second-year signal-caller in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Addressing the media after Cavaliers shootaround prior to Monday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia, James trolled the Browns for their decision to pass on Wentz.
“They pass on a lot of people,” James said with a smile.
The Browns traded the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to the Eagles on April 20, 2016.
By trading the pick to Philadelphia, the Browns passed on the chance to select 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, Paul DePodesta, went on the record and said he felt Wentz did not have the potential to be a top-20 NFL quarterback.
DePodesta spent nearly two decades working in Major League Baseball before taking his first job in the National Football League with the Browns in January of 2016.
In 27 career NFL games, Wentz has completed 592 of his 961 attempts (61.6 percent) for 6,439 yards and 44 touchdowns against 19 interceptions. Through the first 11 games of the 2017 season, Wentz has the Eagles off to an NFL-best 10-1 start and in first place in the NFC East Division.
This season, Wentz has completed 213 passes for 2,657 yards and 28 touchdowns against five interceptions. Thirty of Wentz’s passes have gone for 20 or more yards and seven have travelled over 40 yards.
Additionally, Wentz has rushed for 253 yards, 21 first downs and three 20-yard scampers on 55 carries, and is considered a potential MVP candidate.
“I’ve got three guys that I love watching play, Tom Brady, Antonio Brown mixed with Le’Veon Bell -- they’re on the same team, so I get an opportunity to watch the guys at the same time -- and my favorite player right now is Carson Wentz,” James said.
“I just love the way he plays the game. The way he’s able to get to progressions throughout the course of a three-step drop or a five-step drop, and if everything breaks down, his ability to run, get outside the pocket, he can make passes or get yards with his feet. He’s a very smart player, from the outside looking in, obviously, and they’ve got a really good team.
“I’m a Cowboy fan. I’m a Browns fan, but I’m a fan of sports and I know sports.”
The Browns fell to 0-11 for the second straight year with Sunday’s 30-16 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
With their 11th consecutive loss to start 2017, the Browns dropped to 1-26 since the current front-office regime of executive vice president of football operations, Sashi Brown, and DePodesta took power in early January of 2016.
The Browns’ winless streak now stands at 338 days, and they have not won on a Sunday afternoon since December 13, 2015. The 28 straight Sunday losses are an NFL record, and their 4-44 mark in the last 48 outings is the worst in the league in that four-year span.