The 0-4 Browns might regret not drafting Deshaun Watson

The story of the first four games of last season might have been Philadelphia Eagles rookie quarterback Carson Wentz. The Eagles got him in a trade with the Cleveland Browns.

One of the biggest stories so far this season is Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Texans got him in a trade with the Browns.

The Browns are 0-4 this season. Last season they went 1-15. The common thread through the Browns’ continued failure is they have not been able to find an answer at quarterback.

Regrets? Perhaps, though they couldn’t admit it publicly. The Browns understood the risks of passing on Wentz and then Watson. When general manager Sashi Brown spoke to the media on Wednesday he said anytime you trade down, you miss out on players you’d like to have.

“Those decisions are always difficult,” Brown told the media, according to Scott Petrak of The Chronicle-Telegram.

Passing on Wentz and Watson – or deciding to pass on Mitch Trubisky for Myles Garrett or not maneuvering to get Patrick Mahomes or any other decision at quarterback – is an example of why there’s skepticism with the Browns’ rebuilding efforts (maybe the Browns shouldn’t have skipped pro days for Watson and Trubisky). Without question the Browns’ current front office has shown they understand the value in trading down and have done well to stockpile picks in those trades.

But at some point they have to turn some of those picks into players.

It’s early in the rebuild, relatively speaking. DeShone Kizer looks like a good prospect at quarterback and good value in the second round. Kizer is not in as good of a situation as Watson is, and it’s not surprising he’s not having the same immediate success. Still, when Browns fans watch Watson playing like he might be the NFL’s next star, it has to hurt. As the Browns were getting blown out at home by the 0-3 Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday, Watson was tying an NFL rookie quarterback record with five total touchdowns.

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The Browns have turned precious few picks over the past two years into clear stars, though it’s still early. Defenders like Joe Schobert, Emmanuel Ogbah and Jabrill Peppers are contributing, receiver Corey Coleman has looked good when healthy (which is rare), tight ends David Njoku and Seth DeValve have been OK, Kizer has clear talent, but yet, there really isn’t a young can’t-miss star like Kareem Hunt, Dak Prescott, Joey Bosa or Ezekiel Elliott yet from either draft class. Or a Watson or a Wentz.

Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer loses control of the ball under pressure against the Bengals in Week 4. (AP)

The Browns’ 0-4 start has been a tough blow. Nobody expected Cleveland to be a playoff contender this season, but some progress would have been nice. There are no tangible signs the Browns are getting better. There’s blind hope that players like Garrett, Peppers, Kizer and Coleman start a turnaround, but that’s because we assume high draft picks will improve. That isn’t matched by results yet. Maybe the Browns get the first pick next year, find a star quarterback (or Kizer proves to be that star quarterback) and everyone else around him improves and forms a nice, young core. Cleveland needs something positive to rally behind.

The Browns play the Jets on Sunday. The Jets were expected to be the worst team in football this season, but so far the Browns have that title. If the Browns can’t beat the Jets at home, it’s hard to find a win on their schedule.

It would be even worse for Browns fans if their team loses while Watson and Wentz play well on Sunday. That might become a common occurrence over the next few years.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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