The Cleveland Browns went nuts on Friday, making three huge trades that will have a major impact on the team for years. Don’t look now, but general manager John Dorsey may have made the Browns a playoff contender in the span of a few hours.
First, Cleveland landed Jarvis Landry from the Miami Dolphins for two mid-round picks. The Browns and Landry are expected to consummate a long-term deal shortly. Then they got Tyrod Taylor from the Buffalo Bills for the 65th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and managed to pry Damarious Randall from the Green Bay Packers as part of a deal involving Deshone Kizer.
Got all that? OK.
So we can assume the plan is for Taylor to start in 2018, and the Browns could draft a young quarterback with one of the five picks they have in the top 64 of this year’s draft. Given everything they can add and the relative weakness of the AFC North, the Browns could be firmly in the playoff mix. Yeah, I just said that.
Cleveland already has a talented defense, with guys like Myles Garrett, Jamie Collins, Jabrill Peppers, Danny Shelton*, Larry Ogunjobi, Emmanuel Ogbah and now Randall. That’s a really solid group, and they use some of those early-round picks being spent on defense into the mix, it could get even better. Oh, and they still have a ton of cap space left to add key players.
Offensively, Taylor is a decent place-holder for a year. Meanwhile, Cleveland could draft Penn State’s Saquon Barkley with the No. 1 pick. Given the presence of Joe Thomas, Joel Bitonio, J.C. Tretter and Kevin Zeitler along the offensive line, and Landry, Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman at wideout, that’s a decent offense.
The pieces are clearly there and more are coming.
Yes, the Browns went 0-16 in 2017, but it’s clear things will be much different in 2018. Cleveland is in a position to make a huge turnaround this year, just like the Jacksonville Jaguars did this past season.
*Shelton was traded to the Patriots on March 10