The Cleveland Browns are officially done stockpiling draft picks. They're now using those future assets to acquire players who will help them immediately. As a result, they now have a shiny new receiver, a new cornerback, and ... wait for it ... a new quarterback.
Less than an hour after traded for Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, who reported that the Bills will receive the 65th overall pick in this year's draft. The trade was first reported by ESPN Adam Schefter while the compensation was first reported by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.on Friday, the Browns
For the Bills, that draft pick is ammunition they'll need as they try to work their way up the draft order to select their new franchise quarterback. As it stands, they now own two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and two third-round picks. They might have a hard time drafting a top quarterback at No. 21 or No. 22, but they can use those assortment of picks to trade up and take a quarterback in a top-heavy class, which is what La Canfora expects them to do.
Bills likely land a final draft pick as ammo to move wherever they feel like they must to get a QB early in 1st round. That's the mission— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 9, 2018
Meanwhile, the Browns just added a quarterback with a career interception rate of 1.4. In 2017, Taylor completed 62.6 percent of his passes for 2,799 yards, 14 touchdowns, four picks, and an 89.2 passer rating while also adding 427 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. As the Bills' starter from 2015-17, he averaged close to 3,000 passing yards, 17 touchdowns, a little more than five interceptions, 525 rushing yards, and nearly five rushing touchdowns per season. He's the best quarterback Cleveland has had in forever.
Gone are the days when the Browns' offense looked pathetic. This looks like an offense that can win some actual regular-season football games:
- QB: Tyrod Taylor
- RB: Duke Johnson (or maybe Saquon Barkley)
- WR: Josh Gordon
- WR: Corey Coleman
- WR: Jarvis Landry
- TE: David Njoku
Adding Taylor shouldn't restrict the Browns from taking a quarterback in the draft, but it does give them stability and flexibility. New general manager John Dorsey's plan likely involves starting Taylor in 2018 while grooming a quarterback behind him. The Browns still hold the first and fourth overall picks in this year's draft, and acquiring Taylor gives them some flexibility.
Maybe they'll still use the first pick on a quarterback. Maybe they'll now feel free to use that pick on the best player available -- defensive end Bradley Chubb or running back Saquon Barkley -- and then take the best-remaining quarterback at No. 4. Maybe they'll trade away one of their two top-five picks to gain back some of the draft capital they just parted ways with on Friday. Maybe they'll use both of those top-five picks on Chubb and Barkley, and build around Taylor.
According to simulations run by SportsLine's Stephen Oh, the additions of Taylor and Landry turn the Browns from a three-win team into a 6.7-win team in 2018 and improve their playoff odds by roughly 15 percent if they also draft Barkley. Oh explains:
The massive reduction in interceptions that they should see with Taylor combined with a full year of Landry, Gordon, and Barkley really should take an offense projected to score 15 points per game to a respectable 20 points per game. Their defense should also allow two fewer points per game by not getting put in tough spots after turnovers.
The trade's impact extends beyond Cleveland and Buffalo. According to The Buffalo News' Vic Carucci, the Broncos and Cardinals were also interested in Taylor, but both got outbid by the Browns. Meanwhile, the Browns were considered to be in the running for longtime Bengals back quarterback AJ McCarron after It seems unlikely that the Browns will pursue him now, but given how unexpected the events of Friday were, nothing should be ruled out.
Immediately after news of the trade broke,to bring cornerback and former first-round pick Damarious Randall to Cleveland. They're sending last year's second-round pick and starting quarterback, DeShone Kizer, to Green Bay.
So, to sum up the Browns' Friday:
Clearly, the years of stockpiling picks is over. The Browns are making their move now. While Dorsey deserves credit for being aggressive and getting quality players without dispensing with any draft picks in the first two rounds, it's important to remember that the man he replaced, Sashi Brown, is the one who acquired all of those picks.
The reason the Browns can trade for a bunch of veterans is the same reason Sashi Brown got fired: They prioritized future cap space and future draft picks over winning. Now they have lots of cap space and high picks and should be a much better team for Sashi to watch on TV.— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) March 9, 2018
Brown didn't get a chance to complete his process, but Dorsey is seeing it through in his own way that nobody could've seen coming.