Ex-Browns Coach Reveals Former GM Prevented Team From Drafting Deshaun Watson

David Kaestle
Deshaun Watson could have been a member of the Cleveland Browns.
Deshaun Watson could have been a member of the Cleveland Browns. / Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images
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The list of bad decisions the Cleveland Browns have made at the NFL Draft over the last two decades seems endless. However, there is one specific instance, from just a few years ago, that probably ranks No. 1 overall, as it prevented them from having one of the best drafts in history.

Heading into the 2017 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns held the No. 1 and No. 12 picks in the draft. Everyone within the organization was unanimously in favor of drafting Myles Garrett first overall. That's exactly what they did, and it has proven to be a fruitful decision.

Their next pick is where things apparently get murky.

In an interview with The Athletic, ex-Browns QB coach David Lee revealed that he and head coach Hue Jackson were dead set on drafting either Deshaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes at No. 12 overall. However, Sashi Brown, the GM at the time, wanted to end up accumulating picks and taking Mitchell Trubisky rather than draft Mahomes or Watson.

Trubisky ended up going No. 2 overall to the Chicago Bears and has been a complete disaster. Mahomes, who went at No. 10, already has an NFL MVP, Super Bowl title, and a Super Bowl MVP.

But that No. 12 pick? The Browns elected to trade it to the Houston Texans and they happily drafted Watson, who has now turned into one of the brightest young stars in the NFL.

Meanwhile, the Browns selected QB DeShone Kizer in the second round. He went winless as the team's starter and is now out of the league entirely. To be fair, though, that Watson trade did net Cleveland the No. 4 overall selection in 2018, which the Browns used on Denzel Ward. Ward has already made the Pro Bowl and looks to be one of the best young corners in the game.

Still, this is just yet another terrible decision from an organization that has made a lot of them over the last decade. But on the bright side, this team looks poised to put all that baggage behind them with a strong year in 2020.


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David Kaestle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, David also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username davekaestle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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