PHILADELPHIA—Think beyond the possible. As many of you readers know, that’s the motto of Case Western Reserve University.
Cleveland Browns general manager Sashi Brown did not attend CWRU, but he was certainly thinking beyond the possible at the 2017 NFL Draft. With the number one overall pick in the draft, the Browns selected University of Florida starting pitcher Alex Faedo.
The Browns expect Faedo to be their starting quarterback when they open up the 2017 campaign. Though the 6-foot-5-inch right-hander has not publicly released a statement yet, he is expected to sign with the team and forgo his fourth season with the Gators.
“We feel Faedo gives us the best chance to win a championship,” said Brown. “He’s got a strong arm and great vision, two things we look for in a franchise quarterback.”
Many experts felt the Browns were a lock to pick Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett with the first selection. However Brown and chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta had other plans. The surprising choice should not be shocking, as DePodesta has a background in baseball and said he was going to “shake up the organization” when he was hired before the 2016 season.
It was a surreal moment when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stepped up to the podium to announce the pick.
He started very confidently, “With the first overall pick in the 2017 draft, the Cleveland Browns select…”
Then he read the card and did not speak for a few seconds. The crowd outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art waited with bated breath until the commissioner said Faedo’s name.
Then there was an uproar.
Browns fans booed for 10 straight minutes, hurling insult after insult at the team’s front office. The crowd was so unruly that the draft was temporarily halted for the safety of everyone present.
“Draft day is like Christmas,” said long-time Browns fan Chris Taper who was in Philadelphia when the pick was announced. “And them [messing] up this bad is like waking up on Christmas morning and your parents telling you Santa isn’t real after you didn’t receive any presents.”
Just a few hours later, Taper and other Browns fans gathered at a popular Philadelphia bar were singing a different tune.
“I really like the guy,” Taper slurred. “I saw some videos [of him pitching] and he’s darn good. I think it’s time to renew my season tickets.”
Later, to many cheers, Taper yelled, “We’re going to the Super Bowl!”
It was at that point that the bartender decided to kick the unruly Cleveland patrons out, despite the fact that they had been his most prolific customers all day.
Faedo may join a long list of quarterbacks the Browns selected in the first round who turned out to be busts. In 2007, the team picked Brady Quinn, it was Brandon Weeden’s name who was called in 2012 and 2014 brought the infamous Johnny Manziel selection. None of the three signal-callers led the team to the playoffs.
It is still unclear why the Browns drafted a baseball player in the first round. Perhaps they were inspired by former NFL player Tim Tebow, who is trying to start a baseball career with the New York Mets, and inspired many of his former teammates to live a better life.
Whatever the reason, it was business as usual for the Browns with their next selection, as they traded the pick to the New England Patriots for three magic beans and a future first-round draft pick.