The Cleveland Browns will answer the phone should it ring with offers for the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Before you go running to the nearest bridge to jump off of, hear Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown out.
“We’re going to responsibly listen to any opportunities that are out there,” Brown said Wednesday at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. “I think we have to do that. It’s not a design of ours. We would have to wait and see what might come, and what player might be available there as we get through this process.”
Brown would not be doing his job as the top personnel executive if he didn’t and there isn’t a team in the league that isn’t willing to at least answer the phone.
Nothing Brown said Wednesday indicated that he was shopping the pick, and there’s a big difference between a willingness to listen and actively trying to make a trade for the top spot.
The pick that the Browns are most likely to move in a deal would be No. 12, acquired from Philadelphia in the Carson Wentz trade last March.
Brown could easily spin that pick into additional picks or even the quarterback they would like to build the team around – see Jimmy Garoppolo, regardless of what might be coming out of the Patriots camp right now.
The Browns, who selected 14 players a year ago, enter this year’s draft with 11 more picks including 5 of the top 65. That is some serious ammunition, and flexibility at Brown’s disposal as he continues to look for ways to rebuild a team that bottomed out in 2016 with the worst season in team history at 1-15.
“I think it provides us a lot of flexibility in terms of how we build the roster and could be patching together to move up to get a player we covet and target,” Brown said. “Could be again acquiring a player from another roster. So it gives you a lot of flexibility as you move forward. Kind of our worst case scenario, we have a bag of young talented players that we frankly need to build our foundation and move on toward winning.”
A lot can happen between now and April 27th when the Browns go on the clock, but relax when it comes to fears about trading down again.
There’s nothing wrong with listening.