Think back to the 2011 draft when the Browns traded down. By surrendering the opportunity to draft WR Julio Jones at No. 6, they gained three picks in 2011 (Nos. 27, 59, 124) and two more in 2012 (Nos. 22, 118).
If I'm a Browns fan, I'm excited about the team restocking the shelves with those five picks. We can even quantify this bonanza by using the league's draft value table.
Running the numbers, we get:
-1600 + 680 + 310 + 48 + 780 + 58 = +276
Not a great gain in numerical value, but hey, that's potentially five players instead of one. If the Browns parlay that into three quality starters, it's a great deal.
But they can't turn around and start squandering picks. Not if they want to reap the benefits.
So let's look at what the Browns have done since. I don't care if the transactions directly involve the Atlanta-obtained selections or not. This is about where they net-out through all their draft machinations.
In the 2012 draft this past April, the brain trust of Holmgren and Heckert moved up one spot to No. 3 by trading away four picks (Nos. 4, 118, 139, 211). That was to make absolutely sure that they could select RB Trent Richardson, even though the risk was infinitesimal. He was going to be there anyway, so in effect they gave up three picks for no reason.
Running the numbers again:
-58 + -36.5 + -7 = -101.5
Nope, I'm not counting the values of picks Nos. 3 and 4 because the Browns were going to select Richardson anyway. The more important arithmetic, though, is that they threw away four warm bodies to get one.
You see where this is going, and there's more. Now with the supplemental draft just completed, we see that the Browns obtained WR Josh Gordon for a... 2nd round pick! For crying out loud, that means they give up their 2nd rounder in 2013, which should likely fall in the top 40. Based on the apparent consensus on Gordon, he's maybe a mid-level third rounder. So let's guesstimate and say that the Browns, in effect, gave up a No. 38 selection for a No. 79.
Taking liberties, we run the numbers again:
-520 + 195 = -325
And the grand total:
276 - 101.5 - 325 = -150.5
Yep, with Josh Gordon it all comes full circle. Give up a blue chipper at wide receiver and end up with a knucklehead at wide receiver. He's the extra warm body they net-out with thanks to all their draft trade contortions. And he can bookend the other knucklehead at wide receiver they took in the 2nd round last year (Greg Little).
Yeah, they now have a blue chip running back, but they could have had a blue chipper at wide receiver. Are they really better off? So much for that bonanza of draft picks.
I feel for the Browns fans. They remind me too much of us.