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Looking ahead

April 27, 2013 - Mike McLain
BEREA -- The Browns are clearly pointing to 2014 as the target year to compete for a playoff spot.

Why else do you trade out of the fourth round with the Pittsburgh Steelers for a third-round choice next year if you're concerned about challenging for the playoffs this year?

It's hard to argue with the logic. Get four (for now) picks in the first three rounds in the year you expect to be good and see what happens.

The fact the Browns used the Steelers as a vehicle to get the extra pick is strange. The rivals haven't traded with each other since they swapped quarterbacks Dick Shiner and Bill Nelsen in 1968 -- Shiner to the Steelers and Nelsen to the Browns.

The Browns will end up with six picks in this draft. Only one -- linebacker Barkevious Mingo -- looks like a sure starter. Cornerback Leon McFadden of San Diego State, picked in the third round, has a chance to start. All he has to do is play better than Buster Skrine and Chris Owens -- not exactly a stiff challenge.

General manager Mike Lombardi can justify the trade with Pittsburgh by pointing to the free-agent haul that included linebackers Paul Kruger and Quentin Groves; defensive end Desmond Bryant, Owens, tight ends Gary Barnidge and Kellen Davis and receiver David Nelson. Some of those are first- and second-round quality.

Fans are undoubtedly tired of hearing about wait until next year, but it's expected every time a new regime assumes control. It's scary to think that with owner Jimmy Haslam's legal issues, a new regime could be in place next year.


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