Cleveland Browns losses have finally yielded something positive. The Browns clinched the first pick in the 2017 NFL Draft by losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday (Jan. 1). Early in the 27-24 loss, it actually looked like the Browns could pull off a huge upset. The Browns had a 14-0 lead that caught many NFL analysts off-guard and even held a 14-7 lead at halftime. Despite that lead and then leading in overtime as well, the Browns would allow the Steelers to get one final touchdown to clinch yet another loss.
In the final NFL standings for the year, the Browns finished 1-15 and last place in the AFC North. The Browns only managed to score 264 points on the season, while allowing opponents to score 452 points in those same 16 games. That currently ranks as the most points given up by any team in the NFL this year, putting the team at a net loss of 188 points. The San Francisco 49ers still have to play the Seattle Seahawks later on Sunday, with the potential to post worse defensive numbers than the Browns (if they give up more than 13 points).
Going 0-6 in the division certainly didn’t help the Cleveland Browns, but where the other teams finished makes it seem even worse. The second-place Baltimore Ravens were only 8-8 and the Cincinnati Bengals were only 6-9-1 on the season. In a year where the AFC North may have been one of the weaker divisions in the NFL, the Browns still couldn’t manage to secure one divisional victory. It means those teams will also have good potential selections in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
While it may be considered good news that the Browns clinched the first pick in the upcoming draft, there was also some bad news that came during the day. The Philadelphia Eagles pulled out a victory against the Dallas Cowboys, as many of the Cowboys star players were resting for the playoffs. This is important, because the Browns currently own that first-round pick from the Eagles, giving the team two selections early in the pecking order.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, that selection from the Eagles could be the No. 12 overall pick. The pick could have been better if the Eagles had lost this game, but the team played hard and ended up winning against the No. 1 seeded Cowboys. It was very clear early in the game that the Cowboys didn’t care very much about the game, while the Eagles had no reason not to play at full speed. Without an incentive to lose, the Eagles may have played their best game of the season.
There are too many holes on the roster to easily predict who the Cleveland Browns will take with the first pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. Even the analysts cannot agree on which direction the franchise should go in the first round, as there could be a lot of elite defensive talent on the board. Should the team just go for the best quarterback in the class and worry about improving the defense in later rounds? Or are there enough talented quarterbacks in this draft class that simply taking the best available player would be the wisest decision for the franchise?
Having two first-round picks makes life easier for anyone working in the Browns front office. It means the team can immediately fill two needs on the roster, possibly going for two elite defensive players to shore up a unit that was full of holes in the 2016 NFL season. Many NFL mock drafts will come out in the next few weeks that will try to project who the Cleveland Browns are going to target, as well as which players will be available in the 2017 NFL Draft.
[Featured Image by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images]