AFC North

Cleveland Browns not Likely to Improve Despite High Picks  

Cleveland Browns not Likely to Improve Despite High Picks

Don’t count on two high picks in the 2018 draft affecting the betting odds for the Cleveland Browns to improve on their 0-16 record from last year.

Despite having two of the top four picks in the draft, the Browns are still a deeply troubled team on both sides of the ball and have a long history of drafting talent that does not pan out. This year they are faced with two options: taking RB Saquon Barkley of Penn State with the first pick and one of four standout QB’s (Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield) with the fourth pick, or, since they aren’t necessarily in need of a running back, they may just end up using both picks to secure the two of those top four QBs. One of those QBs would most certainly be Darnold.

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Despite the need for QBs, the chance that Cleveland will take Barkley is fairly high. Barkley had a historically good showing at the NFL Combine, running a 4.40 40 yard dash and 41-inch vertical leap at 233 pounds, helping make the case that he is by far the best player available in the draft, regardless of position. The Browns, who are thin on talent in all positions, might want to think twice about passing a player like him up.

Either way, with the track record the Browns have in the draft nobody should be expecting a big turnaround for them this year. Forget the fact that Tim Couch is widely considered one of the biggest draft busts in league history, the rest of the Browns’ top picks since the turn of the millennium are hardly anything to write home about. Courtney Brown was another enormous bust, and more recently Trent Richardson in 2012 never lived up to expectations.

To be fair, there have been some standouts to date such as Joe Thomas in 2007, Alex Mack in 2009 and Joe Hayden in 2010, but the majority of the draft picks who enter the Browns’ program never pan out in the long run.

That isn’t to say that the pieces aren’t in place for a turnaround, plus the fact that the past is behind them and doesn’t have any bearing on what happens this year.

The Browns made some positive moves just last week, acquiring WR Jarvis Landry and QB Tyrod Taylor in exchange for a couple of later-round picks. The additions of these players help fill some key holes in Cleveland’s lineup, but for a team that had one of the worst seasons in League history just last year, there are still a lot of holes that remain. Nearly every position on their roster is in need of a tune-up.

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So with their draft history being what it is, even the most avid optimist would have to have reservations about betting on the Browns chances to win more than a few games next season. Currently their Vegas odds at winning it all in 2019 stand at 100/1, a number that leaves them plenty of room to improve on.

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