Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Sports

Cleveland Browns' Hue Jackson: Trading this year's No. 2 draft pick to the Eagles wasn't a mistake

BEREA, Ohio — The Browns blew it again — badly. Of course they did. They're the Browns.

That's one of many opinions floating around after Cleveland traded the No. 2 overall pick in this year's draft, a gutsy move that prevents them from taking one of the top-rated quarterbacks and maybe ending decades of futility. The lack of a star quarterback has hamstrung the franchise, leading to lost games, coaches, front office members — and a generation of fans.

New coach Hue Jackson knows the sordid history and doesn't care one bit about it or the criticism.

"We will get this right," he said. "I promise you."

Jackson made his guarantee Thursday as the Browns presented their reasons for trading down in the first round by giving the No. 2 pick to the Eagles in exchange for the No. 8 selection, a third-rounder (No. 77), a fourth-rounder (No. 100), a first-round pick in 2017 and a second-round selection in 2018.

In making the blockbuster swap, the Browns tossed aside an opportunity to select either Cal's Jared Goff or North Dakota State's Carson Wentz, considered the best quarterback in this year's class. The Browns have gone through 24 starting quarterbacks since 1999.

Browns vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said the decision was based on having more than one need.

"As always, there are risks when you are drafting any quarterback, even if you are drafting a quarterback in the first or second slot in the first round, that they pan out or don't," said Brown, who will head into his first draft with 12 picks. "We understand that risk in moving back that we may have passed on a quarterback that is going to go on to certainly have a great career in this league. But we felt like for the other additional picks that we were able to acquire that we were in a much better position to build our roster moving forward."

Perhaps the first sign the Browns were not interested in Goff or Wentz was when they signed free agent quarterback Robert Griffin III. And now that they're not picking second, it appears RG3 has the inside track to start this season. Brown, though, said Griffin isn't guaranteed anything other than a chance.

"Listen, we have Connor (Shaw) and Austin (Davis) and Josh (McCown) here competing along with Robert, and that's what we want to provide, which is competition at that position," Brown said. "We won't be panicked. We feel those guys are going to compete … get into the system, and we'll evaluate it as time bears out."

Report: Bradford UNhappy with Eagles: Sam Bradford, the Eagles' incumbent starter at quarterback, is "mad" that he's about to get some major competition via Philadelphia's No. 2 pick next week, ESPN reported. The Eagles signed Bradford, the No. 1 overall pick by the Rams in 2010, to a two-year, $36 million deal, with $22 million guaranteed, in the offseason.

Broncos: A trade for 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick seemed poised to take place a month ago. Now Denver general manager John Elway says trade talks are "dormant." "(Kaepernick has) been working out, from what I understand, so, that's all I can say about it," Elway told nlf.com. A trade offer remains on the table, he said: "Everything's right there."

Giants: Wide receiver Victor Cruz is expected to be ready to participate fully when the team reports to training camp in late July, general manager Jerry Reese said. The former Pro Bowl player missed last season after suffering a calf injury that ultimately required surgery as he attempted to return to the field following knee surgery. Cruz has not played since October 2014 but is progressing well, and Reese believes he is healthier now than he has been since tearing the patellar tendon in his right knee in a game 18 months ago against the Eagles.

Redskins: Free agent cornerback Josh Norman, let go by the Panthers on Wednesday, will visit Washington today, nfl.com reported.

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