Browns need to stress quality, not quantity

April, 10, 2012
4/10/12
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Trading down from the fourth overall pick is a much-talked about option for the Browns. Some have even suggested Cleveland is leaning toward moving out of that spot to acquire more picks.

Why is Cleveland even thinking about this? The Browns own three of the first 37 picks in the draft. They hold six selections in the first four rounds and eight in the first five. No one has more picks than Cleveland, which has a total of 13.

The theme of the Browns' draft this year should be quality and not quantity. Cleveland shouldn't consider moving down because that means passing on a impact talent like Alabama running back Trent Richardson. The Browns need playmakers and not picks this year.

As Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson points out in his latest Insider piece : "If anything, [the Browns] should be looking to trade up at times, packaging their excess picks to acquire higher-quality prospects. This team is starved for difference-makers."

I understand that the Browns couldn't turn down the Atlanta Falcons' offer last year to go from the top of the first round to the bottom of it. By letting the Falcons have wide receiver Julio Jones, Cleveland got three players from those picks in 2011 (defensive tackle Phil Taylor, wide receiver Greg Little and fullback Owen Marecic) along with picks in the first and fourth rounds this year.

Browns general manager Tom Heckert said at the end of last month that the team would consider trading as far back as No. 8. The breaking point for the Browns really should be No. 6 (the St. Louis Rams have that spot). Assuming a team is jumping up for quarterback Ryan Tannehill or wide receiver Justin Blackmon, Cleveland can come away with a top-tier prospect if it stays in the top six.

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay has five players in his elite tier (quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, offensive tackle Matt Kalil, Richardson and cornerback Morris Claiborne) and believes only seven players in this draft are top-10 quality.

When the Browns are on the clock in 16 days, they will likely get a call about trading back. This year, they should resist the temptation to do so.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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