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- The Cleveland Browns traded wide receiver Corey Coleman on Sunday, leaving them without any of their first-round draft picks from 2011 to 2016.
- The Browns had nine straight first-round picks leave the roster before their rookie deals were over.
- The Browns have a nice core to build around from the 2017 and 2018 drafts, but they will need to improve their drafting if they hope to improve upon a stretch that has seen them go 24-88 since 2011.
The Cleveland Browns are hoping to improve upon their 2017 season by winning a game this year.
After upgrades at quarterback, wide receiver, running back, and several other skill positions, the Browns are slated to be one of the more improved teams in the NFL this season. But in order to fully turn around a stretch that has seen them go 1-31 the last two seasons and fail to post an above-.500 season since 2007, the Browns will need to improve at drafting.
An amazing stat was passed around the NFL world on Sunday after the Browns traded third-year wide receiver Corey Coleman to the Buffalo Bills, and it shows just how dismal Cleveland has been at rebuilding through the draft – the Browns haven’t had a first-round pick play out their rookie contract in seven years.
Dating back to 2011, every first-round pick the Browns have made has not been on the team beyond their rookie deal (via Pro Football Talk):
- 2011 – Phil Taylor, DT (21st) – released after four years
- 2012 – Trent Richardson, RB (3rd) – traded after one year
- 2012 – Brandon Weeden, QB (22nd) – released after two years
- 2013 – Barkevious Mingo, LB (6th) – traded after three years
- 2014 – Justin Gilbert, CB (8th) – traded after two years
- 2014 – Johnny Manziel, QB (22nd) – released after two years
- 2015 – Danny Shelton, DT (12th) – traded after three years
- 2015 – Cameron Erving, C (19th) – traded after two years
- 2016 – Corey Coleman, WR (15th) – traded after two years
In the past two years the Browns have had five first-round picks: defensive end Myles Garrett, safety Jabrill Peppers, tight end David Njoku, quarterback Baker Mayfield, and cornerback Denzel Ward. The team will, of course, hope that they work out better than previous draft picks.
In the NFL, it’s often discussed how nailing late-round draft picks can sustain a team – the New England Patriots are a prime example. But in order to get a solid foundation, a team usually needs a handful of solid first-round picks (often the best talent in the draft) to build around.
For years the Browns had failed over and over again to pick up players in the first round that could help them rebuild as a franchise, making their lasting struggles hardly surprising.