Why The Browns Should Only Draft Four Players In 2021!

Unfortunately, too many people hear the word ‘aggressive’ and confuse it with being wasteful and having a win-now mentality at the expense of the future. If you look at it more widely in terms of aggressively chasing value we see something that is much more in line with this front office between Andrew Berry and Paul DePodesta.

Moving on from Sheldon Richardson because his on-field performance doesn’t match the cost of his deal is aggressively chasing value as they can put that salary cap to better use in 2021 or into future extensions with cap rollover.

This front office is very much about trying to build sustainable success and achieve multiple championships rather than set up a one-year wonder that might or might not end in a Super Bowl.

Today, I wanted to look at what that might mean when looking at trades during the NFL Draft. Based on a piece I wrote last year we saw research that on average 12 of the 32 first-round draft picks will get a second deal with the team that drafts them, meaning the majority of picks are going to be missed. Books like ‘The Drafting Stage’ by Brad Spielberger & Jason Fitzgerald show us the most undervalued place in the NFL is day two. Picks are cheaper to acquire and the talent base is still very good, especially in the second round.

What To Do With Those 9 Picks In 2021?

Many talking heads have said the Browns have more picks than they need this season with nine so what should they do with them? They haven’t got many open spots on the roster for rookies to come in?

I’m going to propose an idea of how they could ruthlessly chase trade value. I fully understand that it takes two teams to trade and just because you want to move the pick, doesn’t mean anyone is willing to offer you anything for it. I’m going to use the standard rule of if you trade a 2021 pick for a 2022 pick then it goes up one round.

Let’s look at the Browns current picks:
Round 1 – 26
Round 2 – 59
Round 3 – 89
Round 3 – 91
Round 4 – 110
Round 4 – 132
Round 5 – 169
Round 6 – 211
Round 7 – 257

How Many Trades?

If we decide that day two picks are the move valuable collection then we can ruthlessly chase them and here is what we would do:
Trade 26 for either ~35 and a future 3rd or my favorite ~45 and a future 2nd
Use our four day two picks, whichever one of these from the trades and the three we own and
trade our day three picks up one round in 2022

There would be nothing stopping you also doing what the Browns did with the Saints last year and move a third round pick slightly later alongside a 7th round and get back two 3rd rounders. Which would be say 91 & 257 for 105 & a 2022 3rd.

This would mean our 2021 draft would become:
Round 2 – 45
2022 2nd Rounder
Round 2 – 59
Round 3 – 89
Round 3 – 105
2022 3rd Rounder
2022 3rd Rounder
2022 3rd Rounder
2022 4th Rounder
2022 5th Rounder

How Would The 2022 Draft Then Look?

Going into the 2022 draft they would then have 13 draft picks, obviously, this is due to them only using 4 picks in 2021.

Round 1 – Original
Round 2 – Original
Round 2 – 2021 Trade Down
Round 3 – Original
Round 3 – 2021 Trade Down
Round 3 – 2021 4th Traded Out
Round 3 – 2021 4th Traded Out
Round 4 – Original
Round 4 – 2021 5th Traded Out
Round 5 – Original
Round 5 – 2021 6th Traded Out
Round 6 – Original
Round 7 – Original

They could then take that first-round pick which would likely be late in the round again after another successful season and trade that for a 2022 2nd and a 2023 2nd. With one of the third-round picks they can package that with the 7th and make that a 2022 3rd and a 2023 3rd. We then take the picks on day three and trade them out into future picks.

This would mean in 2022 the Browns would be using three 2nd rounders and four 3rd rounders, having a whole draft of picks all land on day two means a massive injection of talent to the roster at the time they need to extend many rookies.

Conclusion

So what would a team end up with as a set number of assets if you kept the same system rolling year after year?

Three 2nd Round Picks:
Original
Current Year 1st Rounder Trade Down
Last Years 1st Rounder Trade Down

Five 3rd Round Picks:
Original
Last Years 7th From Saints-style Trade Down
Last Years 4th Rounder Traded Out Of
Two Years Ago 5th Traded Out Of Twice
Three Years Agos 6th Traded Out Of Three Times

The Browns could set something up this season that would turn into eight day-two picks every season. It would yield four in 2021 and seven in 2022 but from 2023 onwards you are looking at a major haul very high in the draft.

Obviously you don’t have to use every pick this way. You might need to go get a QB when Baker retires but if you are sat there with so many decent picks you can easily come up with a package to get someone or higher in the draft. Excessive draft picks give you options and that is incredibly powerful for a Front Office. You would have lots of talent you can’t even keep it all so expect more compensation picks back that could easily make this ten day-two picks every year.

For me, this is how a super-smart analytical front office should aggressively chase value in draft trades. Maybe we will see someone break away from tradition, it would likely be copied by many others but why not chase it and have a super young talented roster which allows them to spend much more money on resigning players due to so many great rookies.

Is this realistically something the Browns front office would do, probably not. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me if a team as smart as Berry & DePodesta haven’t at least discussed the idea of doing it. Where General Managers get such a short career in most cases it would be a risky proposition to go after as you are improving the franchise but are the future assets going to used by you or the person they replace you with?

Any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @JackDuffin. The DMs are open for any salary cap/roster construction questions you have.

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