Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Can Browns fans really trust John Dorsey to get it right?


The Cleveland Browns have spent the past two years building toward the night of April 26, 2018.

Through all the losing, all the arguing, all the trades and, did we mention, all the losing, the organization has had its sights on the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, which will take place at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, in just two weeks.

The Browns have the No. 1 overall selection in the draft and will, in all likelihood, select a quarterback with the draft’s top pick. Get that choice right, and all the arguing, angst and agita will not only (hopefully) end for the next decade, but will have (definitely) been worth it.

Browns fans can only hope that the debate over which quarterback the team will be selected is being debated as fiercely within the halls of team headquarters as it is on Twitter.

Speaking of Browns Twitter, there is a growing movement among some fans that general manager John Dorsey and his rebuilt front office, which includes former Green Bay Packers executives Alonzo Highsmith and Eliot Wolf, have “got this” so there is no reason to worry that the Browns might screw up the pick.

But is that unwavering belief warranted?

Dorsey was part of Green Bay’s front office from 1991 through 2012, and then was the general manager for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2013 through 2016. His time with the Packers overlapped with Highsmith (2000-2017) and Wolf (2004-2016),

Dorsey and Co. didn’t exactly cover themselves with drafting glory when it came to the quarterback position, unless the likes of Ty Detmer, Aaron Brooks, Matt Flynn, Kyle Wachholtz, Aaaron Murray and Kevin Hogan get you moving.

That is not to imply that everything was bad, of course, as Dorsey was with the Packers when the team lucked into a trade for Brett Favre in 1992, as well as when Green Bay was smart enough to stop Aaron Rodgers’ free fall in the 2005 NFL Draft.

Dorsey also traded for quarterback Alex Smith in Kansas City and Smith led the Chiefs to the playoffs four times in his five seasons.

Compare that to what we’ve seen out of Cleveland’s quarterbacks since 1999, and there is reason to be optimistic that Dorsey and company will get this right.

Until we think about Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen, who continues to be linked to the Browns at the top of the draft.

Those whispers maybe nothing more than agents working hard for their clients, or other teams linking the Browns and Allen in the hopes that Dorsey takes the bait and makes the wrong pick.

Because when it comes to Allen, there is so much historical data pointing to him being the absolute wrong pick, that the mere thought of the Browns selecting him should be enough for fans to consider a march on Berea.

Don’t think so? Well, Riley McAtee at The Ringer sums up the problem with Allen pretty succinctly:

Allen doesn’t just fall short of that top tier—he’s the lowest-graded passer in 2018 and owns one of the worst (QBASE) scores, at negative-83, ever handed out to a first-round pick. As far as first-round picks go, only Mark Sanchez (negative-430) graded worse than Allen. First-round picks with scores similar to Allen’s are mostly busts like Patrick Ramsey (negative-78), Kyle Boller (negative-42), and J.P. Losman (negative-25). In a best-case scenario, Allen would be an outlier like Matt Ryan (134) or second-round pick Andy Dalton (132), but, though neither of those passers scored well, they still graded much higher than Allen.


There is no way of knowing for sure just how much impact Dorsey had in the decision to trade for Favre or draft Rodgers in Green Bay, although he clearly had a role. As general manager in Kansas City, he obviously had a strong voice in trading for Smith and in drafting Mahomes.

Smith was obviously a smart play for the Chiefs and Mahomes shows promise. (Although there are some Dorsey backers who would have hated the Mahomes pick if the Browns had made it last season.) Even if he had little say in drafting Rodgers, the fact remains that once he was on Green Bay’s roster, the need to scout and evaluate quarterbacks hit the back burner.

Dorsey has been sold by his friends in the media and the anti-analytics crowd as the man who will finally fix the Browns. Some of that is being a bit oversold by people with an agenda, as the Chiefs seemed to have little problem getting rid of him, and the Packers did not exactly knock themselves out trying to keep Highsmith or Wolf.

The front office does have experience, however, and they know what a good quarterback looks like, which has to be a plus. And that is what Browns fans should be hoping out of Dorsey and the crew come draft night. If they can pull all the information together and simply make the correct call this one time, they won’t have to face questions or worry about the quarterback position for the next decade.

Dorsey still has a bit of work to do before Browns fans should trust him without question. But two weeks from tonight, we’ll all have a pretty good idea of just how far away we are all from reaching that point.

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