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September 18, 2013 - Mike McLain
CLEVELAND -- The Browns sent shockwaves throughout the NFL with the announcement that they've traded running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for the Colts' first-round pick in the 2014 draft.
The Browns now own two picks in the first, third and fourth rounds and one pick in the second round.
This is a bold move by the management team of CEO Joe Banner and General Manager Michael Lombardi and goes hand-in-hand with the decision to start Brian Hoyer at quarterback Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. Lombardi is a big fan of Hoyer's. Lombardi obviously doesn't share the same opinion of Brandon Weeden, who is out with a sprained right thumb.
The Browns are essentially saying forget about 2013. With seven picks in the first four rounds next year, the Browns need to hit plenty of home runs with those picks.
That's the problem. The Browns have botched the draft on a consistent basis since their return to the NFL in 1999. It's great to have all the picks, but that won't mean much if management can't bring in impact players.
It's assumed that Richardson became expendable because of his recent history of injuries -- two knee surgeries in a little more than a year and a rib injury that hindered him most of last season. It didn't help that he was rarely on the field on third downs because of a weakness in picking up blitzes.
It's hard to give a grade on the trade at this time. For the wow factor it gets an A-plus. We'll know more in a couple of years when the draft choices start showing up in Berea how it will play out on the field.
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