Veteran Browns Scouts Preferred Wentz

Only one full week of the 2016 season is in the books, but Browns fans, eminently familiar with pain and suffering, are already finding more evidence to prove that their team is cursed. Cleveland, of course, passed on the chance to draft Carson Wentz with the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft, instead choosing to trade the selection and to roll with Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown under center. But Wentz excelled in his professional debut against the Browns last week and RGIII found himself on IR again, so it is easy to understand the frustrations coming from the Dawg Pound.

Sep 11, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) passes in the fourth quarter agains the Cleveland Browns at Lincoln Financial Field. Philadelphia defeated Cleveland 29-10. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

But that may not be the worst of it. According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, the Browns parted with several of their more seasoned scouts and evaluators prior to the draft–an usual time for such dismissals–and a number of those men actually preferred Wentz to Jared Goff and considered the North Dakota State product to be the more promising prospect. Of course, chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta, along with head coach Hue Jackson and OC Pep Hamilton, preferred Goff, and at the time the pro-Wentz scouts were dismissed, the club was already shopping its second-overall pick to other teams, since it became clear that the Rams were going to use the No. 1 overall pick on Goff.

It is not uncommon, of course, for there to be disagreement among a team’s talent evaluators, and the fact that some Cleveland scouts preferred Wentz would not ordinarily be newsworthy. But the fact that a pro-Wentz group that included former general managers and personnel directors was let go at such a strange time–even if they were going to be dismissed anyway during the team’s efforts to downsize later on in 2016–is only going to add fuel to the fire of the organization’s detractors.

If the Browns again find themselves near the top of the draft board in 2017, La Canfora believes they will almost have to take a quarterback, with Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson currently heading the list of signal-callers expected to be available.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

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