The Browns should stay at No. 4 in the NFL Draft despite rumors they could explore trading down.
At the moment, the Cleveland Browns find themselves in a very enviable position. With the first and fourth overall selections, the moribund franchise controls the top of this year’s NFL Draft.
Unfortunately, it seems the Browns are doing their best to cede control to another team. ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that Cleveland is exploring trading down from the No. 4 pick. Doing so would net the Browns additional picks, but they need to resist the desire to go with quantity over quality.
What Hue Jackson and company really need to find in this year’s draft are difference-makers. The Browns will almost certainly acquire the top quarterback on their board with the first overall selection. If that happens, they should be in a great position to secure a top prospect at another position when the fourth selection comes around.
Specifically, the Browns need to stick with the fourth pick in hopes of selecting either Penn State running back Saquon Barkley or NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb. Exiting with the top quarterback is an excellent haul. Exiting the Draft with the top quarterback and top pass rusher or running back could be transformative for the franchise.
Perhaps if the Browns didn’t already have a large number of picks I’d feel differently. Cleveland enters the Draft with nine picks at their disposal. In addition to their pair of first-round picks, they’re also in possession of three second-round selections. This is not a team that needs to trade the fourth pick to replenish their arsenal of picks in later rounds.
Browns fans should hope the team is just putting misinformation out there to see if another team will massively overpay for the pick. It’s at least possible that another team might get overly excited if their top quarterback prospect falls to the number four selection. It’s possible Cleveland’s front office is just trying to fish out a silly offer if that scenario unfolds.
Most of all, the Browns just need to keep it simple with this year’s Draft. Drafting a risky quarterback number one and trading the number four pick might seem like fun ideas, but they are huge risks for a team that just needs to get this draft right. Staying put at the number four selection isn’t sexy, but it’s good business for a team in desperate need of difference makers.