A year after the Browns passed up wide receiver Julio Jones in the draft, there's no consensus among fans whether Cleveland should have done so.
In exchange for giving up the pick that became Jones, the Browns got defensive tackle Phil Taylor (Atlanta's 2011 first-round pick), wide receiver Greg Little, (2011 second-round pick), fullback Owen Marecic (2011 fourth-round pick) and quarterback Brandon Weeden (2012 first-round pick). Cleveland also used a 2012 fourth-round pick in that deal as part of the package to trade up one spot for running back Trent Richardson.
Here are some comments from blog readers on this issue:
Jake, from Columbus, Ohio: The Browns did not make the wrong decision in trading away the chance to draft Jones. Phil Taylor has already made a major impact in the NFL.Of the 10 defensive linemen selected in the first round of the 2011 draft, Taylor had the most tackles at 59. While none of the other players drafted with the acquired picks has had great success, I don't believe Jones would be anywhere near his current stats if he was on the Browns.The Browns simply weren't in any position to reject the bounty of picks offered for one player when so many holes remained on both sides of the ball. The Falcons may have been one good receiver away from a Super Bowl run. The Browns were certainly not.
John, from Springfield, Ohio: I think it is too soon to be able to say for sure whether the decision to make the trade and pass on Julio Jones was good or bad. Phil Taylor could still absolutely turn out to be a Pro Bowl player. Little and Josh Gordon are still young and raw and both have the potential to be number ones. As far as Weeden it's way to soon to make any judgement but a couple 300-yard games in his first four starts is a great sign. I will go out on a limb and say Richardson is going to be a standout. I think if just two of these players or Weeden alone turns out to be a star playmaker, then the trade was a good one. If three or four turn out to be great, then it was a fantastic trade. At worst, I don't see them coming out short on the deal by much no matter what so I think it was good move at the time and still is.
Michael, from Cleveland: I do think the Browns made the right choice in not Drafting Julio Jones.The players gained in that trade are good players. I would put the Browns players on the same level as Julio Jones.
John, from Avon, Ohio: The Browns made a very reasonable trade at the time. No one player was going to turn the team around. Julio Jones has Matt Ryan throwing to him, plus Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez keeping defenses occupied. You probably wouldn't even know his name if the Browns had drafted him. The Browns were so weak everywhere. We needed lots of picks, and that's what we got. All of those picks are now starters, so it wasn't a complete bust of a trade.
Jack, from Newark, Ohio: It is pretty simple to see that the Browns lost on this deal. In my opinion, Cleveland's problem at the quarterback spot is directly tied to their problem at wide receiver. Colt McCoy never had a chance to succeed due to the lack of a receiver. They should have drafted Julio to give McCoy another chance, and worst-case scenario is McCoy still plays terrible and they get a early first-round pick and can get a top talent quarterback.
Keith, from Cleveland: Julio Jones is a wonderful receiver for a team that has their primary positions filled. You don't build around wide receivers. Teams that have won Super Bowls have done so by hitting on mid or late round wide receivers. Name a team in the past 10 years that has won a Super Bowl with a top 5 or top 10 pick at wide receiver? Because of that, the Browns did make the right decision.