BEREA, Ohio — The Browns turned the draft topsy-turvy on Saturday.
Or inside out, as they turned the 2013 NFL Draft into the 2014 NFL Draft.
In separate moves, the Browns traded out of the fourth and fifth rounds for third and fourth round choices next year.
All this led Mike Mayock to drone on on the NFL Network about how the Browns are in yet another rebuilding process to win three or four years from now.
Two things can be said about this:
First, that’s surely a new approach (#sarcasmfont).
Second, if fans aren’t sick of those words, they might be soon.
On days one and two, the Browns made some logical moves, drafting pass rusher Barkevious Mingo and cornerback Leon McFadden and trading for receiver Davone Bess. On day three, they traded out of two rounds — and helped their rival.
Yes, they helped themselves at the same time with future picks, but they also helped the Steelers.
Pittsburgh has not traded a future draft pick since 1973.
In the fourth round, they really, really wanted safety Shamarko Thomas of Syracuse. So they gave up a future pick for the first time in 40 years to specifically draft the guy they wanted.
And the team that gave the pick to Pittsburgh to draft the guy it wanted is a team that will see the Steelers — and the player — twice a year.
It’s possible that the Browns didn’t think highly of Thomas and look forward to facing him.
It’s also possible he’ll be stuck in the Browns’ craw for years.
It’s why teams normally do not trade within the division. And when the trade partner is a rival it carries extra meaning.
The last time the Browns traded with the Steelers was 1968, when the Steelers gave the Browns quarterback Bill Nelsen.
The last time the Browns traded on draft day within the division they moved down a spot, which allowed Baltimore to take Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata and the Browns to take linebacker Kamerion Wimbley. In the never-ending saga of change and new regimes in Cleveland, Wimbley was traded andNgata won a Super Bowl with the team that drafted him.
Browns CEO Joe Banner said he actually prefers to trade within the division. His thinking: He only makes a trade if he gets the better end of the deal, and if he gets the better end of the deal against a division rival he’s one-upped the division rival. Case in point: When the Eagles sent quarterback Donovan McNabb to the Redskins when Banner was with Philadelphia.
Do folks make these kind of moves in franchise mode on Madden?
—By the time the Browns got around to actually … well … taking a player, they took safety Jamoris Slaughter of Notre Dame. He’s a pretty good player, which is a good thing. But he missed 10 games last season after tearing his Achilles tendon on the first play of the second half of the third game. Slaughter said he’s 90 percent and will be ready for training camp, but there’s always concerns about a guy coming off an Achilles tear, especially at a position like safety where first-step quickness matters. The final two players they chose came from East Central Oklahoma and Chadron State. Not the SEC, but teams can find players anywhere. All told, this final day of the draft was … interesting.
—Banner said he considers the draft to include the five players the team selected plus Bess plus receiver Josh Gordon (selected in the supplemental draft) plus the two picks acquired in next year’s draft.
—The best thing that comes out of this draft is that the Browns will give Brandon Weeden another chance to prove himself in a system that will use him more in the shotgun and throwing more downfield. Weeden did not finish his rookie season strong, but he showed enough that a complete re-start at that vital position was not warranted. The staff in place a year ago took him with an eye on this year’s quarterback class, and that class did not have sure things. Weeden will be given the opportunity to prove himself.
—It’s interesting when a team talks about character guys. New receiver Davone Bess is a character guy who has made much of his life after spending 15 months in a juvenile facility after high school. Mingo is lauded as a character guy, and he acts the part. But character only goes as far as players and teams allow. Desmond Bryant was signed as a free agent after his arrest mug shot was made famous when he tried to get into a neighbor’s house after a night or revelry. Armonty Bryant was drafted despite an arrest for trying to sell marijuana in 2012. And Quentin Groves was arrested for solicitation after being touted as a character guy. Indians manager Terry Francona says he likes character guys too, but adds he’s not putting together a Boy Scout Troop. It’s laudable for a team to try to bring in character, but it might be best to stick to talking about their football attributes. Because character shows itself all the time, and one really never knows if it will in fact be shown.