It’s no secret that the Cleveland Browns have been pretty bad for a while now. While Cleveland has seen a select few bright spots, the “Factory of Sadness” has mainly produced just that. Sadness. However, a shift seems to have taken place recently. With the hiring of Hue Jackson and Gregg Williams, a good coaching base seems to be in place. Additionally, many Browns fans seem to be optimistic about the next two drafts. This is reasonable, considering the Browns have acquired eleven picks in each. But as fans and analysts both know, the NFL Draft is one of the trickiest things to figure out in sports. If the Cleveland Browns hit on their picks this year, they could quickly turn the team around. But if not, it could set them back years. Simply put, the 2017 NFL Draft will be a turning point for the Browns.
2017 NFL Draft Is A Turning Point for Cleveland Browns
Let’s take this scenario first: what if the Browns hit on their draft picks this year? Well, the answer is relatively simple in that case. First off, the Browns might have a chance to get into playoff contention by 2018. Additionally, they will likely have a solid quarterback, something the Browns have lacked since 1999. Finally, the Browns will have righted the ship and Hue Jackson will be a hero.
While getting into a playoff spot in two years might seem like a pipe dream, it may very well be achievable. If the Browns can really hit on playmakers in this draft, especially on defense, they’ll be in good shape. Almost everything relies on this draft for the Browns, and if they hit, they are going to hit big. Turning around the franchise big.
Imagine this: consensus number one pick Myles Garrett becomes the next Jadeveon Clowney or J.J. Watt. Additionally, someone like Deshaun Watson or Mitch Trubisky blossoms into a franchise quarterback. Further down the road, a couple of middle-round picks work out for the Browns. Perhaps players like Obi Melifonwu or Jake Butt. Then and only then would Hue Jackson have the talent he needs to make his schemes work. And nearly immediately, the Browns turn from worst team in the league to a wild card playoff contender. That, Browns fans, is the start of something great.
Now, this is where things start to get interesting, and a little depressing. What if the Browns don’t have a good draft in 2017? Well, other than that being nothing new, it has some serious consequences in Cleveland. If the Browns do not draft well this April, things will begin to spiral once again.
Knock on wood, but what if Myles Garrett is somehow a bust? It’s a story that Browns fans have heard too many times before. If the Browns have another dud in the 2017 NFL Draft, things could get really bad, and quickly. Maybe the Browns front office gets impatient. Maybe they go so far as to fire Hue Jackson and start over once again. There is nothing to do in such a situation except hope that it does not happen. Browns fans can simply hope that this “analytics” approach actually works. If that is not the case, Cleveland football could be in even deeper trouble.
Conclusion: Is There An In Between?
No. One way or another, for better or worse, this year is a turning point for the Browns. There are really only two possibilities; either some form of improvement or complete implosion. This draft is the one that the Browns have put all their eggs in the basket for. Come April 27th and the 2017 NFL Draft, it’s time to see if Hue Jackson, Sashi Brown, and Paul DePodesta actually know what they’re doing. Does Moneyball work as well in football as it does with baseball? Well, it’s a huge risk. But after trying nearly everything else, it must be a risk that the Cleveland Browns and their fans are willing to take. Welcome to the point of no return, Cleveland fans. Let’s just hope that Moneyball really does pay off.