But a move back into the first round is always possible. Never count out John Dorsey.
The Browns’ general manager even has fun with the idea. Every time he’s asked about a possible trade-up, he grabs his cellphone and says he’s ready to take a call.
Shortly after the Beckham trade came together March 12, though, Dorsey said any deal probably would wait until the night of the draft.
“If you think the player can help you, you go up and do it,” he said. “Those are the mechanisms that work out. You have to plan for them, but then you have to execute them on the day of the draft.”
The “mechanisms” that led to the acquisition of Beckham included a year of planning and discussion. That deal followed 2018, when Dorsey made 14 trades that led to the Browns obtaining (among others) receiver Jarvis Landry (Beckham’s former teammate at LSU), safety Damarious Randall and a bundle of draft picks. Among the players Dorsey traded: defensive lineman Danny Shelton (a former first-round pick), quarterbacks DeShone Kizer (second round) and Cody Kessler (third), wide receiver Corey Coleman (first), offensive tackle Shon Coleman (third), receiver Josh Gordon, cornerbacks Jason McCourty and Jamar Taylor, and running back Carlos Hyde.
Dorsey also has a history of important draft-day trades.
A year ago he swapped fourth-round picks and gave up a sixth to move up to take wide receiver Antonio Callaway. As a rookie, Callaway had 43 catches and five touchdowns; he figures to be in the Browns’ rotation in 2019.
In 2017 with Kansas City, Dorsey gave up the 27th pick (in the first round), the 91st pick and a 2018 first-round pick to move into the 10th spot, where he drafted quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Mahomes threw 50 touchdown passes last season as Kansas City went 12-4 before losing the AFC Championship Game.
Dorsey also sent three picks to Minnesota to move up in the third round to take running back Kareem Hunt. Hunt led the NFL in rushing as a rookie and was having an excellent season in 2018 before he was released after a video came out showing him kicking and shoving a woman. He was not arrested in connection with the incident, but the NFL suspended him without pay for the first eight games of the 2019 season.
Hunt is now with the Browns on a one-year deal, as Dorsey takes a chance on him getting his life together.
Whether the Browns have enough to move up into the first round is debatable. The Browns have one pick each in Rounds 2 (No. 49), 3 (80), 4 (119), 6 (189) and 7 (221), and three in Round 5 (144, 155, 170).
The second-round pick would be the starting point for a trade. The draft value chart many teams use puts a value of 410 points on the 49th selection. The 25th pick, as an example, is worth 720 points. The gap of 310 points equates to a low second-round pick. Which means moving up from the second round into the first could cost a second-round pick this year and perhaps next year as well.
That’s a high price, though if Dorsey likes a player it could be worth the cost given the high hopes for the Browns this season.
Cleveland has not added a cornerback this offseason; teams always need corners. There is great depth in the draft on the defensive line, and Dorsey spoke highly of Mississippi State’s Jeffery Simmons at the NFL’s annual meetings despite the fact he is recovering from a torn ACL and was seen on film punching a woman while he was in high school.
“I think from your standpoint, what you should do is you should talk to the coaches and the support system at Starkville, Mississippi State, and just see what kind of man that guy really is,” Dorsey said.
Depth at linebacker also is needed.
But the position isn’t as important as the player. When Dorsey sees someone he likes, he usually is aggressive about trying to get him.