Sometimes, the best moves are the ones that aren’t planned.
The trade to acquire veteran wide receiver Davone Bess might have been one of the best moves the Browns made over the three days of the NFL Draft. Even though he has played five NFL seasons, the Browns count him as part of the draft process.
“We view Bess as part of the draft and we were fortunate being able to trade back a couple spots to acquire him, keep the same number of picks and then as you know we were able to take those picks and trade them for future picks,” CEO Joe Banner said after the draft concluded. “The philosophy really is to treat everything we have, whether it’s a draft pick, an undrafted free agent, cap space, whatever it is as an asset and try to maximize the value we can get for it.
“We took our fourth round pick for example, traded back to pay for part of Bess and then traded that for a future third round pick,” he said. “We feel like, for a fourth round pick that’s about as much value as you can possibly hope to get.
“He’s a good player, still good enough to contribute for a while,” Banner continued. “Again, he’s very high character, all the things that we keep talking about that we’re looking for. Then we were able to trade the pick and have the asset of a third round pick next year. That’s how we’re thinking about those things, what’s the best value that we can get out of each of those assets,
The Browns acquired Bess and a fourth-round pick (111th overall) and a seventh-round pick (217th overall). The fourth-round pick was traded to the Steelers for their third-round pick next season and the seventh-round pick was used to take DE/OLB Armonty Bryant. The Browns gave up their fourth-round pick (104th overall) and fifth-round pick (164th overall acquired in the Colt McCoy trade) in the move.
Bess, 27, has caught 267 passes since 2009, which is the 14th most productive receiver in the NFL in that time span.
Bess (5-10, 190) was asked how to describe himself on a conference call with Browns media.
“I’m a get it done type of guy,” he said. “Whatever my role is I’m going to maximize it 110 percent.”
Bess has averaged over 65 receptions a season the last four years, but he thinks he can do better.
“I hope to bring more production to Cleveland,” he said. “Getting 60-61 catches is good, but I left a lot of catches last year on the field and I hope to have more production (moving forward).”
Rob Chudzinski sees a lot of potential in what Bess brings to the Browns.
“Davone is a proven receiver who has been extremely productive throughout his career,” Chudzinski said. “He possesses outstanding hands and separation skills, while also showing the ability to pick up yards in key situations. Because of his talent and experience, we feel as though he can come in and help us right away.”
Bess has been very productive in the slot, especially on third down.
“I take extreme pride in being productive on third down,” Bess said. “For the coaches putting me in a position to be productive has been important and I have played my role to the best of my ability.”
Mike Lombardi said that Bess became expendable to the Dolphins because they signed Mike Wallace, Brandon Gibson and re-signed Brian Hartline in free agency. Bess’ production was certainly attractive to the Browns.
“I think because he has produced in the league certainly is attractive, and I think he’s got the ability,” Lombardi said. “He’s proven on tape against really good competition. So it wasn’t a question of looking at it any deeper than he could make plays against people that we have to play against and he’s been very productive.”
Bess said he had mixed feelings when he found out he had been traded to the Browns.
“My initial reaction was bittersweet since being in Miami since my rookie year,” Bess said. “The opportunity to go to Cleveland was a great opportunity though, for my career.”
Bess is looked upon as being a veteran who can help the young receivers the Browns have, despite being just 27 years old himself.
“I am really looking forward to joining this group of receivers,” he said. “Obviously, (the Browns) have a lot of young, talented guys. My job is to come in and share my knowledge and help out not only as a receiver but from my experience.
“Looking back, being undrafted (from Hawaii) and then thrown into the fire as a rookie gave me some good experience,” he said. “Opportunity is a big part of this league and I’m thankful to Miami for giving me the chance to play.”