I do not know what the future holds for the careers of Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, or the buttload of draft picks the Browns received from Philadelphia for the rights to Wentz. I only know that Cleveland could desperately use a quarterback now and going forward, and that the Eagles firmly believe they have their quarterback for a long, long time. How things got to this point could very well be a case study in regrets.
When the Rams moved up to No. 1, it was widely understood that they were keen on Goff. The Browns, at No. 2, certainly needed a franchise quarterback, but decision-makers in the organization were split on whether Wentz was the guy. According to CBS’s Jason La Canfora, a number of veteran scouts were big on Wentz—a large overlap with the six veteran scouts who the Browns fired three weeks before the draft.
According to numerous sources with knowledge of the situation, several of the more seasoned scouts and evaluators the Browns parted with prior to the draft — an unusual time to release such employees — actually preferred Wentz to quarterback Jared Goff and believed him to be the greater pro prospect. It was clear to many in the organization dating back to December, when the Browns held intense draft meetings, that the newly-empowered analytics department, soon to be spearheaded by Paul DePodesta, strongly preferred Goff. And new coach Hue Jackson and his offensive coordinator, Pep Hamilton, were not high on Wentz but prized Goff, sources said, and made that clear to the rest of the organization.
We don’t know how much sway former baseball guy Paul DePodesta, now the Browns’ “chief strategy officer,” had on hiring/firing decisions in the front office. We do know that he, unlike those scouts, didn’t believe Wentz projected as “good enough to be a top 20 quarterback in the NFL.”
So the Browns moved the rights to Wentz in exchange for two firsts, a second, a third, along with a swap of fourths. And again, maybe those picks will turn out to be a bounty, and maybe Wentz won’t achieve the heights teased by his first career start (against the Browns). But there is already some buyer’s remorse developing in Cleveland. And never forget the inviolable rule of the modern NFL: Whether or not the Browns take you determines whether you become a good quarterback, and not the other way around.