There are so, so, so many ways to build a professional sports franchise. You know, teams buy players in free agency, they sign developing players before their peak at a discount, they trade for “system fit” players whom they believe will excel within their scheme, and then they draft them. In football, building through the NFL’s rookie draft isn’t just a strategy, it’s an ethos.
But doing it successfully is seldom easy, takes sometimes as much luck as player evaluation and process skills, and it’s rarely a quick path to success. That’s why the Sashi Brown-led teardown of the Cleveland Browns was received with so many mixed feelings over the last two seasons. Two seasons, by the way, where the Browns set records for shattering an already battered fan base’s emotional stability.


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