For just the second time in NFL history, a team has gone 0-16.
The winless Cleveland Browns – 1-31 the past two seasons – have “earned” the opportunity to pick first overall in the NFL draft (April 26-28 in Arlington, Texas) for the second consecutive season. The Browns are also the last team to have done so, when they picked back-to-back in 1999 and 2000. That was when the once proud franchise took Tim Couch and Courtney Brown. Yikes. But hey, good for you Hue Jackson!
#Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said he TOLD new GM John Dorsey that Hue Jackson would return as head coach, that there was no debate. Says, "I don't think Hue has lost (his) magic."
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) December 31, 2017
Despite the Pittsburgh Steelers sitting an assortment of their best players in Week 17 – including Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown – the Browns still had a chance to win. In the waning moments, rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer escaped pressure on a fourth down, finding an open Corey Coleman around the Pittsburgh 10-yard line. But in typical Browns fashion, Coleman dropped what should have been an easy first down, ensuring the Steelers’ 28-24 win.
Speaking of Kizer, the 2017 second-round draft choice struggled immensely. It certainly didn’t help losing perennial All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas to a season-ending injury in October, but Kizer’s woes go way beyond Thomas – who spoke with Yahoo Sports about the young quarterback before the season – protecting his blind side. In 15 starts, Kizer finished with twice as many interceptions (22) as touchdown passes (11), while accumulating the single worst passer rating in the league. Not only were his 22 picks the most in the league, but so too were his eight red zone turnovers.
Moving forward, new GM John Dorsey (Sashi Brown was fired earlier this month) will have to decide whether or not Kizer is the long-term answer under center. Should Dorsey take a quarterback with the first pick, it would be the fifth time that Cleveland has taken one in the first three rounds since 2010. UCLA junior Josh Rosen seems to be the favorite, although Wyoming’s Josh Allen — who has announced he will turn pro — and USC’s Sam Darnold also in the discussion, should he do the same.
Based on @numberFire's weekly pre-game win probability projections, the Browns had roughly a 0.26% chance of going winless this year. And they did. Say what you want about that roster — there's a reason teams don't go 0-16 very often. It's hard to. pic.twitter.com/1w5BJSjMly
— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) December 31, 2017
Following the Browns will be the dreadful New York Giants – who could also go quarterback – and then the Indianapolis Colts at No. 3. However, because the Browns traded with Houston during the 2017 draft –in the deal that ultimately allowed the Texans to land Deshaun Watson – Cleveland secures the fourth pick as well.
Rounding out the top five will be the Denver Broncos, who also presumably need a quarterback. The remainder of the first round will be determined following the NFL playoffs, which kick off with wild-card weekend.
New York Giants
Cleveland Browns (via the Houston Texans)
New York Jets
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
San Francisco 49ers* coin flip
Oakland Raiders* coin flip
Green Bay Packers* coin flip
Washington Redskins* coin flip
Los Angeles Chargers
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Follow Jordan Schultz on Twitter @Schultz_Report
Jordan Schultz is an NFL, NBA and NCAAB insider/analyst for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at Jordan.Schultz@Oath.com.
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