This quote comes from a July 2016 interview by ESPN Cleveland Browns analyst Tony Grossi with Browns Chief Stratgey Office Paul DePodesta
“Even though you have a desperate need for one, you have to resist the temptation of taking that guy just because you have a need if you don’t believe he’s one of those 20 guys at the end of the day. I think that’s the hardest part, just maintaining your discipline because you have the need. That’s what we did this year.”
DePodesta’s quote was referring to Carson Wentz, the second overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. The Browns originally had that pick but made the decision to sign Robert Griffin III and trade down with the Philadelphia Eagles so they could draft the quarterback from North Dakota State.
Now some eighteen months later, the Browns have gone through five starting quarterbacks and have compiled a 1-22 record. The Eagles have found their franchise quarterback and are off to a 6-1 start this season with Wentz who is arguably the front runner for the MVP award.
Passing on Carson Wentz defines this current regime and will ultimately be the reason why they’ll be let go at the end of the season or sooner.
There’s no excuse this organization can make as to why they passed on him.
I understand that DePodesta, Sashi Brown and Hue Jackson were starting a complete tear down of the roster and a “multi-year” rebuild but without finding the franchise quarterback, the rebuild means nothing but a complete failure.
Have they made some good moves? Absolutely, they’ve added and retained talent at some positions through free agency and the draft.
But like every regime since the franchise’s return in 1999, they’ve swung and missed at the quarterback position.
Signing Robert Griffin III was the first mistake, then it was passing on Wentz. Having Cody Kessler rated higher than Dak Prescott was the next one regardless of Prescott’s issues in the pre-draft process.
Failing to acquire a veteran quarterback to help bridge DeShone Kizer was another strike against the organization. They had the perfect one in Josh McCown but they decided to release him.
They single handily helped the Houston Texans by taking Brock Osweiler off their hands to acquire an extra second round pick and they allowed Houston to move up to the 12th overall pick to draft Deshaun Watson who is off to a great start as a rookie.
Stockpiling draft picks looks great on paper but when you keep letting other quarterbacks go to other teams and they have great success, it makes the people you put in place to run the football team look really stupid when it comes to evaluating.
So far throughout the Browns/Eagles trade, the team has received:
- WR Corey Coleman
- OL Shon Coleman
- QB Cody Kessler
- S Derrick Kindred
- OL Spencer Drango
- WR Ricardo Louis
- WR Jordan Payton
- S Jabrill Peppers
- QB DeShone Kizer
They still have a first round pick from Houston and a second round pick from Philadelphia in next year’s draft left to complete the trade.
Looking at that list of players, I see three starters (both Colemans and Peppers) and a bunch of backups.
As it pertains to the quarterback draft picks, Kessler is a backup at best and Kizer is an unknown and it doesn’t help that Hue Jackson keeps benching him when he struggles. I understand Jackson is trying to win to save his job but he is ruining Kizer’s confidence.
If the current group somehow gets another year, I can’t trust them heading into the 2018 Draft especially if they have the first overall pick again. Right now it looks like there’ll be two quarterbacks in the discussion with Sam Darnold of USC and Josh Rosen of UCLA.
While the criticism of the quarterback class isn’t good at the moment, I’m sure it’ll improve as the season progresses and as we proceed into draft season as it does every year.