The biggest trade of the decade for the Philadelphia Eagles happened prior to the 2016 NFL draft. The Eagles fell in love with one of the prize prospects of the draft class in quarterback, Carson Wentz, and aimed to move up the draft board to acquire him. They successfully did that thanks to the Cleveland Browns willingness to pass on Wentz with the No. 2 overall pick as they accepted the Eagles offer of swapping picks and their 2016 third-round and fourth-round, 2017 first-round, and 2018 second-round selections. Apparently their scouting department wasn’t onboard with passing on Wentz.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that the Browns fired six of their scouts prior to the 2016 NFL draft and that each one favored the quarterback from North Dakota State University over Jared Goff.
The Browns have suffered a rough turn of events since their loss to the Eagles and Wentz in his debut this past Sunday. Reports out of Cleveland prior to the game were that the team didn’t view Wentz as a “top-20 quarterback” which was backed up by the team’s official Paul DePodesta.
The Browns decided to go all in with Robert Griffin III this season, bypassing the opportunity to select Wentz, and well, that decision has looked like the wrong one thus far into the 2016 season. The Browns placed Griffin on the injured reserve designated to return list on Monday after he suffered a shoulder injury versus the Eagles. He’s expected to be out several weeks and it’s not certain he even returns to the field in 2016.
“According to numerous sources with the 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,” La Confora reported.
“It was clear to many in the organization dating back to December, when the Browns held intense draft meetings, that newly-empowered analytics department, soon to be spearheaded by DePodesta, strongly preferred Goff. And new head 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.”
The Browns ultimately released six members of the organization, which included experienced scouts just three weeks before the draft. Many of the men released were former general managers and personnel directors, according to La Confora.
The Browns new leadership of DePodesta and Jackson could’ve already made a crucial mistake in rebuilding a franchise that hasn’t been successful in decades. It’s still too early to tell if indeed they made a mistake, but given Griffin’s injury and Wentz’s debut against the team, they might of done just that.