American sports are set up to all but guarantee that a franchise as putrid as the Cleveland Browns cannot remain putrid for eternity. All those losing seasons just add up to higher first-round draft picks, which should eventually add up to winning seasons. It take some real work to waste free tickets to success, or at least mediocrity, as often and as spectacularly as the Browns do.
The Browns have traded 2016 first-round pick Corey Coleman, who was selected No. 15 overall, to the Buffalo Bills for a future seventh-round pick. Coleman, a wide receiver, will finish his Browns career with 718 yards and five touchdowns in 19 games. He’s one of the players the Browns ended up with after trading away the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft, where the Eagles snagged Carson Wentz.
Whether you believe Coleman to be a bust or just a young player that the Browns are cutting loose far too early is beside the point, which is that the Browns have taken yet another first-round pick and gotten absolute dick out of it. This team has made nine first-round picks between 2011 and 2016, and with Coleman gone not a single one of those players is still on the roster. Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden, Barkevious Mingo, Justin Gilbert, Johnny Manziel, Danny Shelton, Cameron Erving, and now Coleman were all cut loose within three seasons. The last Browns’ first-rounder to last more than three years in Cleveland was Phil Taylor, a defensive tackle drafted in 2011 who played in 42 games in four seasons as a Brown.
Does this mean that Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers, David Njoku, Baker Mayfield, and Denzel Ward are all destined to become spectacular failures who will never come close to leading the Browns out of misery? No, it means each of those guys is doomed to fall into a well and never be heard from again.