BEREA, Ohio — The Browns blew it again. Of course they did — they’re the Browns.
That’s one of many opinions floating around after Cleveland traded the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s N.F.L. draft, a move that likely prevents them from taking a top-rated quarterback with the hope of ending decades of futility. The lack of a star quarterback has hamstrung the franchise, leading to lost games, coaches, front-office members and a generation of fans.
Hue Jackson, Cleveland’s first-year coach, knows the history, but does not care about the criticism.
“We will get this right,” he said. “I promise you.”
Jackson made his guarantee Thursday as the Browns presented their reasons for trading down in the first round. On Wednesday, they gave the No. 2 pick and a fourth-round pick in 2017 to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for the No. 8 selection, a third-round pick (No. 77), a fourth-round pick (No. 100), a first-round pick in 2017 and a second-round pick in 2018.
The blockbuster swap essentially ends an opportunity for the Browns to select either California’s Jared Goff or North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz, considered the best quarterbacks in this year’s class.
Sashi Brown, the team’s vice president for football operations, said the decision was based on having multiple needs.
“We understand that risk in moving back that we may have passed on a quarterback that is going to go on to certainly have a great career in this league,” Brown said. “But we felt like for the other additional picks that we were able to acquire that we were in a much better position to build our roster moving forward.”
The Browns, who have gone through 24 starting quarterbacks since 1999, did their homework on Goff and Wentz. Jackson attended pro day workouts for both quarterbacks, and the team hosted the players for visits. But when it came time to consider making one of them the face of their franchise, the Browns punted. Instead, they head into the draft with 12 picks, tied for the most in the N.F.L.
While Goff and Wentz are the consensus first-tier quarterbacks, Jackson suggested the Browns might think differently.
“Everybody keeps talking about two of the best quarterbacks in the draft,” he said. “No one knows that, right? No one really knows that. We will see how it all unfolds here in two or three years and see if we were right or wrong, but I feel very good about where we are and what we are doing.”
Perhaps the first sign the Browns were not interested in Goff or Wentz was when they signed the free-agent quarterback Robert Griffin III in late March. Now that they’re not picking second, it appears Griffin has the inside track to start this season.
Brown, though, said Griffin isn’t guaranteed anything other than a chance. The other quarterbacks on the roster are Josh McCown, Austin Davis and Connor Shaw; the Browns released Johnny Manziel, one of their first-round draft picks in 2014, two weeks before signing Griffin.
“Robert isn’t even our starting quarterback yet,” Brown said. “He has to earn that spot. In terms of bringing Robert to Cleveland, we are excited about the potential for him to earn that starting job. On its merits of No. 2 versus what we were able to acquire, this was the right choice for building our roster and where we sit now.”
Griffin said the trade did not have any bearing on his future.
“Everybody is here to earn a job,” he said after the Browns concluded a three-day minicamp. “The only person that really doesn’t have to earn it is Joe Thomas, and he’s got nine Pro Bowls to speak to that,” referring to the team’s stalwart left tackle.
Jackson, too, said Griffin’s arrival did not affect the Browns’ predraft thinking.
“I know everybody feels that because he’s here,” he said. “As an organization, we had an opportunity to make a trade. We made it, and that had nothing to do with the quarterback.”