If the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results, it appears the Cleveland Browns are finally ready to break that mold.
In another year at the top of the draft board, the world is expecting them to take a quarterback. The same, rudimentary formula has proven true for so many other bad teams in the NFL. Look at how quickly the San Francisco 49ers turned things around after trading for Jimmy Garoppolo. We have all seen how bad the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts look without Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck.
If the Browns select a rookie quarterback, it would change the fate of their organization as well… but not necessarily for the better. Throwing a rookie signal caller behind center on a team that was historically bad last season is exactly the type of move the old Browns would make.
A smarter, more responsible move: building around the quarterback position by adding Penn State’s electrifying running back Saquon Barkley. He’s a dual-threat offensive weapon who has drawn comparisons to Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro tailback Le’Veon Bell.
If anything, Barkley looks like the kind of talent who can hit the ground running as Alvin Kamara did with the New Orleans Saints last year. There isn’t a quarterback alive who could pull the 0-16 Browns out of the dirt in 2018.
Fans have watched the organization face-plant too many times when going out on a limb to get a quarterback. There are plenty of other veteran options capable of stepping in while the team loads up at other areas on the roster. Kirk Cousins, Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Bradford, Case Keenum and Nick Foles could all be available by the start of the new league year.
The Browns might be the running punchline of the NFL, but they do have offensive talent with wideouts Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman plus tight end David Njoku. Gordon, who played last season for the first time in three years, will have a full training camp under his belt heading into next season. There is also hope that Coleman will take another leap, and a raw prospect like Njoku could finally start to shine.
Throw Barkley into that mix — things would take a dramatic turn for the moribund Brown offense. Any of the veteran quarterbacks mentioned would make good use of that talent. The Browns could then draft the best available players without desperately reaching from a position of need.
John Dorsey’s first draft pick as a general manager will reveal whether fans should expect change or more of the same from an organization that hasn’t made the playoffs in 16 years.
One decision could make all the difference for a fan base that has suffered long enough.