Draft brings opportunity, and Browns bring ammo
The "Draft Day" movie brought football back to the conversation and took those who saw it inside the Cleveland Browns actual draft room.
Mixed movie reviews and parallels — or lack thereof — to what’s gone on in that room over the last 15 years aside, the real Browns have quite an opportunity in front of them.
The 2014 NFL Draft is finally almost here, and these Browns hold pick Nos. 4 and 26 in the first round. The opportunity to shape a real future is here.
The Browns hold three of the first 35 picks, meaning they can wheel and deal if the opportunity is right and new general manager Ray Farmer so chooses. The team could move up, move down, do both or stand pat. The fourth pick in the May 8 first round is the one everybody’s been talking about, but the third pick in the second round can be just as coveted and potentially just as valuable. Maybe 26 and 35 could be packaged to add a second top-20 pick. Maybe one or both could be used to move back, adding future assets or even current players.
The Browns have said nothing so far. That will change, but only slightly, when Farmer holds his first pre-draft press conference late Monday morning. He’s been giving half-answers like an old pro since getting the job in February and has played the secret-keeping part of the game very well. Farmer’s pre-draft press conference can’t possibly be as condescending and generally worthless as the one Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi held last year was, but it’s a safe bet he’ll talk much more in circles and cliches than he will in any details.
The time to play the real game is coming. It always seems like the next draft is the most important to the ever-changing Browns, and that very well could be the case this year. It’s hard to tell where this team is headed in 2014, let alone over the next two or three years. It is clear, though, that there are holes to fill and decisions to make to help the Browns get out of the perpetual basement.
This year, they’re undoubtedly one of the teams to watch in this draft and one of its power players. They have ammo and flexibility. If done right, the peculiar uncertainty surrounding the top of this year’s draft — most years, at least the first pick and often the top three are clear by the time the final month of buildup arrives — can help the Browns posture and position themselves. If Farmer feels packaging picks at any time in the first two rounds to move up and target a certain player is right, he can do it. The Browns have picks.
Five of the first 83. Six of the first 106.
Three of the first 35 is the number that really jumps out, though. The truth is that if Farmer and new coach Mike Pettine want to do their current jobs for more than a draft or two, the Browns have to take a jump.
Now seems like a pretty good time to do it.