The trade between the Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Rams has a major impact on the Cleveland Browns draft plans.
A new coach, a new GM, and a new quarterback in Cleveland. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but this was supposed to be the Cleveland Browns best chance to compete since 2007. They were finally going to get their quarterback of the future, and climb out of the basement of the AFC North.
And all that changed Thursday morning.
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The Tennessee Titans, who didn’t need a quarterback, traded the first overall pick (along with a 2016 fourth and a sixth rounder) to the Los Angeles Rams for two firsts, two seconds, and two thirds in total. With the move, the new-look Rams are most certainly going to draft a quarterback, which drastically limits the Browns.
Since returning to the NFL in 1999, the Browns have had 24 quarterbacks line up under center. However, only once have the Browns been able to select the draft’s first signal caller once: Tim Couch in ’99. Since then, Spurgeon Wynn was sixth in 2000, Luke McCown sixth in 2004, Charlie Frye sixth in 2005, Brady Quinn second in 2007, Colt McCoy fourth in 2010, Brandon Weeden fourth in 2012, and Johnny Manziel second in 2014.
This trade hurts the Browns so terribly because it takes away any chance of choice for the team desperate for a quarterback. There are only two passers that could be debated worthy of the second-overall choice: Carson Wentz from North Dakota State and Jared Goff out of Cal. Before the trade, Cleveland was certain to have their choice between the two, since there was zero chance the Titans would draft a QB after taking Marcus Mariota the year before.
But now with the Rams leapfrogging the Browns all the way up from 15th overall, Cleveland is at the Rams mercy. If for whatever reason head coach Hue Jackson and GM Sashi Brown don’t view the quarterback Los Angeles doesn’t take as a viable fit in their system, they’re stuck with the difficult decision to try to fit a square peg into a round hole, or pass on a QB until later, and face a significant drop in talent.
If the Browns decide not to draft a QB, they do still have options available. They could trade the pick to someone else, or have their pick of the top defensive prospects like safety Jalen Ramsey or Joey Bosa, or possibly the top offensive lineman in Laremy Tunsil, but for a city and a team that desperately needs a new face to their franchise, the move by the Rams has to be disheartening.