Why the Cleveland Browns missed out at 2018 NFL Draft

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: Denzel Ward of Ohio State poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being picked #4 overall by the Cleveland Browns during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: Denzel Ward of Ohio State poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being picked #4 overall by the Cleveland Browns during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns are inching closer to creating a successful team, but they may have missed the mark at the 2018 NFL Draft.

A lot of people are boarding the hype train of the Cleveland Browns this year. Between stellar free agency signings and two high first-round draft picks, the train station is starting to form a crowd.

Fans may want to hold off a bit longer before boarding this year, however.

After an embarrassing season without a win, the Browns need to produce a resurgent season. After signing a few free agents and making bold draft choices, Cleveland is laying the foundation for a something big.

Although construction can take some time, the Browns haven’t wasted any opportunity to build towards a revival.

On paper, the Browns’ roster looks very impressive. They have potential to have the best team in quite some time. Cleveland utilized their high draft picks to add depth to their lineup, but did they move in the right direction this year?

The Quarterback Carousel

Cleveland has been notorious when it comes to their quarterback problems. Their track record of passing on prominent field general goes back to the last decade. The most recent blunder happened in 2016, when the Browns traded their first-round pick to the Los Angeles Rams.

While Cleveland ended up with Corey Coleman as the fifteenth pick, they passed on Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, who could’ve fixed their quarterback problem.

Trouble seems like an understatement when it comes to Cleveland’s quarterback situation. Last season. DeShone Kizer was thrown to the wolves, going sixteen dreadful weeks without a win.

The previous year was led by Robert Griffin III, whose problematic injuries seem to have ended his career once and for all. Cody Kessler made his attempt at quarterback filling in for RG3, but fell very short of the mark.

The rotating door still hasn’t stopped on Cleveland’s quarterbacks. Names such as Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden, and Josh McCown have all fallen by the wayside at FirstEnergy Stadium. The most infamous of all the quarterbacks was the 2014 first-round pick Johnny Manziel.

Johnny Football had the talent to be successful for the Browns. It was his immaturity and lack of respect for the game that caused his downfall.

That description leads to some concerns for Cleveland’s first pick in the 2018 draft. Is history doomed to repeat itself by selecting Baker Mayfield?

Reviewing The First Round

The Cleveland Browns once again had the bittersweet luxury of making the first selection of the draft. Out of the hundreds of talented college prospects, Cleveland made a bold choice by putting their faith into the controversial Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.

If anyone were to break the quarterback curse in Cleveland, it should be general manager John Dorsey. He was previously the GM for the Kansas City Chiefs for five years. His last year with the Chiefs he helped bring in Patrick Mahomes to the organization, which so far has worked out significantly. The question is whether Dorsey has been able to find his diamond in the rough two times in a row.

There is no doubt that Baker Mayfield has talent. He showcased his abilities by literally planting his flag at Ohio State. Was selecting Mayfield as the very first pick of the draft the correct choice after obtaining Tyrod Taylor?

The Talent Around Tyrod Taylor

No matter who Cleveland chooses as their starting quarterback, they will finally have support. The defense has talent scattered everywhere with Myles Garrett and Jamie Collins up front for QB pressure.

Jabrill Peppers has helped in the secondary as a young safety. The Browns added depth by intelligently selecting Denzel Ward from Ohio State as their fourth overall pick.

For the first time in Tyrod Taylor’s career, he will finally have plenty of talent around him. Cleveland has Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon, Corey Coleman, and David Njoku as offensive weapons.

The Browns currently have more aspiring superstars on their team than Taylor’s entire career in Buffalo. It’s a strange statement to admit considering that Cleveland didn’t win a game last year, but it’s true.

Taylor’s best target before being traded to Cleveland was Sammy Watkins. In hindsight, it appears Watkins may have been overhyped for his abilities. After being traded to the Los Angeles Rams, Watkins was targeted less than Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp.

Granted, the Bills had LeSean McCoy on the roster, but even an aging Shady can’t solve all of Buffalo’s squanders.

Cleveland already has a young and thriving defense. They certainly boosted their offensive capabilities during the offseason. If all that’s needed is a game manager, doesn’t Tyrod Taylor already fit the bill?

The Browns may have selected a quarterback for the future, but they could have already found the answer in Tyrod Taylor before the 2018 NFL Draft even began.

The Running Back Roundabout

All the draft experts claimed that Saquon Barkley was the best choice in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Browns decided to take a hard pass on Barkley and still managed to find themselves a running back. Nick Chubb from Georgia fell to the second round and was considered a steal at his position.

Cleveland selected Chubb as their second-round choice and may have created a big problem by accident by doing so.

After the regular season ended, the Browns made some changes to their running back roster. They released Isaiah Crowell, who in 2016 rushed for 952 yards with seven rushing touchdowns.

Cleveland decided to upgrade to Carlos Hyde from the 49ers, and sign Duke Johnson to a three-year extension. Chubb definitely adds depth to the roster, but do the Browns have room to squeeze him in?

If Cleveland believes Chubb is their future, then releasing Crowell seems like a waste. Carlos Hyde has the potential to be the future running back without drafting someone new. Forcing too much talent feels too much like a cluster, and it’s a problem that Cleveland could have avoided.

It’s the same type of problem that Cincinnati is facing by bringing in Joe Mixon.

Many teams across the NFL are leaning towards the running back by committee. The strategy makes sense in order to preserve their players for a longer career. A running back has the shortest life-span in football from all the wear and tear of the game.

Giving a tailback eight carries a game is definitely the safest route to take, but the downside is it also creates zero momentum.

There’s a reason why players such as Todd Gurley and Le’Veon Bell excel so much at their position. Cleveland could have accidentally created a problem of not knowing which running back to use.

Must Read: Key strengths and weaknesses for Baker Mayfield

Bringing in Carlos Hyde should have been sufficient in the running back category. Nick Chubb may be a better choice in the long-run, but for now, it creates too many cooks in the kitchen.