Sifting Through the Ashes: A Perspective on the Cleveland Browns

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Cleveland has been routinely referred to as a dumpster fire in the media and for good reason.

The single-season firing of Head Coach Rob Chudzinski and dispersal of his all-star coaching staff, the cleansing of the front office, and imminent departure of the most recent first round quarterback bust Brandon Weeden; all of these contribute to this perception.  While further examples from over a decade of casting off, starting over, and looking up from the cellar of the AFC North exist, there is the possibility that the Browns may be engaging in a very clever game of opossum with the rest of the NFL. The recent comments of newly appointed GM Farmer indicate what most draft pundits already assume: the Browns will draft yet another quarterback with their first round pick,

I’ve studied the quarterbacks and I’ve studied other players, and I’ve already started to formulate the rank and order of each position… I do know what I’d do if I was held down at the moment. It doesn’t mean that can’t change, but I currently have somebody in front.”

Dec 29, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack (55) prepares to snap the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers defense during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 20-7. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

This sort of Jerry Jones-esque talk is almost so brash that it seems contrived.  Perhaps it is.

The Browns have a reasonably good roster and a ton of cap space based on well-crafted contracts.  Alex Mack and TJ Ward are the two significant free agents this year, and they are expected to be re-signed.  Further, Cleveland has five picks in the first three rounds of this year’s very deep draft.  Most critically, their needs are running back, wide receiver, offensive guard, and quarterback.

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