Last night, against my better judgment, I watched the Browns’ preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons. The Browns lost — of course! — 24-13, and looked pretty bad in the process. I came away with two conclusions.
First, it’s going to be a very long season. Some of the Browns’ better players didn’t play, but this team has so many holes it’s hard to see how they can be filled. The offensive line is a patchwork, and the defense looks terrible. The Browns got gashed on the run, and Atlanta routinely converted on third down. In the last few years of crappiness, the Browns offense has been pedestrian at best, but the defense has been a porous disaster. I think we’re in for more of the same.
The second conclusion is that Justin Gilbert may be the worst number one pick the Browns have made since coming back into the NFL. That’s saying something, because their record of number one picks is one of dismal failure after dismal failure. After all, Johnny Manziel was a first-round pick, and so was Brady Quinn, and so was Brandon Weeden, and so was Gerard Warren, and so was Trent Richardson . . . and the list of head cases and utter busts goes on. But at least these guys looked like they knew how to play football. Gilbert doesn’t. He seems completely clueless out there as he takes bad angles, whiffs on tackles, and gets burned repeatedly. If the Browns’ defensive backfield talent is so bad that Gilbert actually starts, the Browns D will be historically awful. I’m talking potential record-setting ineptitude.
I don’t mean to pick on one player, but Gilbert is an example of why the Browns are a failed franchise. Other teams make number one picks that immediately have an impact, score touchdowns, rack up sacks, and make the All-Pro team. The Browns somehow make number one picks of players who look like they’ve never seen a football before. Is it any wonder that the team is such a frustrating mess?