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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Browns Blow It Again

There is a common factor with successful teams throughout all the major sports leagues. Obviously, the actual sport and what kinds of players you need to have success are different, but from an organization standpoint, one thing is always the same: culture. Go throughout any professional sports league, and when you find prestigious teams with long a long history of success, the first thing someone will tell you is that that team has a great culture. 
This can be a difficult thing to explain. A culture can mean many things—locker room dynamic, quality of coaching staff, role of ownership, or even just talent evaluation. These things some together to define how players feel as a part of the team, and how opponents feel when suiting up against you. A quality culture can be seen in something as minuscule as how you perform in the draft. 
Take the 2018 National Football League (NFL) Draft for example. One of the most heralded organizations in all of professional sports are the New England Patriots. They took an offensive lineman in the first round, despite an extremely touted young quarterback, Lamar Jackson, being available. New England understood that a talented young quarterback is a luxury, while a left tackle to replace Nate Solder is a necessity. They made the smart pick, despite pressure to make the fun pick. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the Cleveland Browns.
It is not exactly a state secret that the Cleveland Browns have been a losing organization for roughly 20 years. However, organizations rarely get the opportunity Cleveland just had to turn their fortunes around in one night. In this year’s NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns had the first and fourth overall picks in the draft, allowing them to have two of the top five players. Everyone knew that Cleveland needed a quarterback, and they were expected to take the consensus best player in the draft, Sam Darnold. It was also imperative that the Browns grab another elite player for their front seven on defense, and the easy pick was Bradley Chubb.
The safe bet would be to take those players. Darnold is close to a sure thing, posting terrific numbers at USC consistently, with a great build and height. However, Cleveland went a down the board a bit and took Baker Mayfield first overall, an undersized quarterback who many scouts have questions regarding his off-field behavior. Again, one would think Cleveland would take Chubb, widely believed to be the best defensive player in the draft. However, they went down the board and took Denzel Ward, a defensive back who only started to impress scouts at the draft combine and his pro day.
This is where my point about “culture” comes full circle. A team with a culture of winning would be able to recognize a good thing. Teams like the New England Patriots, New York Giants, and Pittsburgh Steelers have ability to assess risk in a player. Darnold and Chubb had very little question marks. You know what they will be, and there isn’t much risk involved. Cleveland, a team desperate for wins, took a quarterback with personality risks, as well as sizable question marks. They also took a defensive back who wasn’t a high first round pick on anyone’s draft board until March. While the Browns had another great chance to rebuild their franchise, it has turned into another giant question mark, as they still can’t find a way to make the smart pick, even when it’s the easy pick.