Trading Up is a Bad Idea
Many Browns fans seem to be growing in excitement at the prospect of trading up to get Manziel in the first round of the draft this year. This is a bad idea, and it has nothing to do with Manziel’s ability or lack thereof, to succeed in the NFL. Even if Manziel turns out to be the greatest NFL quarterback of all time, in terms of draft strategy it would still be a bad idea.
I know what you are thinking. “If he wins a championship, then who cares what we had to trade to get him? You’re dumb, bro” That is true, if he brings a ring to Cleveland, then I’m all for it. The problem is, you have absolutely no idea if Manziel, or any player at any position will help win a championship. Sure scouts take a semi-scientific look at a player’s physical, mental, and emotional attributes, and sometimes they get it right.
When all that poking and prodding and evaluating is done, and all the picks are in, there are still way more future busts than there are future Pro Bowlers. In fact of the current 32 starters, only 8 of them were drafted in the top 4 overall picks in their draft year. Now compare that to the number of quarterbacks in the last decade who were selected in the top 4 and were total busts, or are about to be busts.
Those are long odds. Trading multiple picks, especially multiple first round picks to go from number 4 to number 1 (regardless of the player) is just poor math. You are basically going all in on just one guy, when statistically, and historically speaking, that guy probably will not accomplish much.
The Draft is a Lot Like the Lottery
This is even more accurate when drafting a QB. Sure there is some science to it, but there are too many variables. Rarely do you get a guy who is going to be an absolute sure thing or an absolute sure bust.
When you are trying to win the lottery you want more lottery tickets, not fewer. Trading multiple picks to move up to get 1 guy is a lot like trading multiple lottery numbers because you are quite certain you know what the winning Powerball number will be.
Great teams, teams that are well run and generally successful on the field, always seem to find themselves trading down. The Patriots for example, have a system, they go out and get the best guy available for that system or they trade down and get multiple selections thus getting more shots at winning the lottery. Sure many of those picks are still busts, but they have increased their odds of drafting yet another future Pro Bowl player.
Déjà vu All Over Again
Many browns fans seem to be certain that trading up for Manziel (or any QB) is the smart move. I understand the desire to finally fix the profound lack of stability at the quarterback position for the last 15 years. Yet the organization has tried this before and it has led to some amazingly awful moves by front office personnel whose names we still curse to this day. Remember when the Browns traded up to get Brady Quinn? Remember when the Browns took Weeden, McCoy, or even Tim Couch because they were the best quarterback available?
The organization has done this before, it has ended terribly and we as fans grew very bitter at how poorly run this team seems to be. Now many of us turn around and are champing at the bit to trade up to take Manziel (or any QB for that matter). This is not an argument for or against any one player either currently on the Browns’ roster or that may be in the future.
Great Teams Don’t Chase Talent
Simply put, wanting to get a QB just for the sake of finally having a good QB at the expense of logic and reason is precisely the kind of impatience that has led the Browns organization into one contractual quagmire after another. Admittedly, patience is hard when your favorite team finishes 4-12 every single year. Patience and sound, long-term strategy are essential in building a winning team not impulse and recklessness.
If there is a QB on the board at #4 and the Front Office is quite confident in his abilities, then go for it. If a QB is on the board at #4 but does not seem promising, then do not draft that player just because he is a quarterback or because he is the best quarterback available and you really want a QB. Jamarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf, and Akili Smith were also the best quarterbacks available when they were selected.