INDIANAPOLIS – Is the Cleveland Browns' achingly long winter of discontent finally near an end?
That is the hope among Browns fans with the arrival of new General Manager, John Dorsey.
This much was clear Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine when Dorsey arrived to address his plan for the resurrection.
With the first, fourth, 33rd, 35th, 63rd, 65th and 12 picks in all in the draft, and far and away the most available salary cap space in the league with almost $110 million to spend in free agency, Dorsey and the Browns have the best chance of any team in the league to win this offseason.
And to anyone who thinks the Browns are married to taking a quarterback with one of their first round picks, not so fast my friends.
Dorsey arrived in Indianapolis loaded with research and colloquialisms to show he’s prepared for the task.
He started by telling one reporter Thursday, “I know this, I’ve actually prepared for you I’ve done a little research.
“If you go back to 1946 there are 17 teams in the National Football League that actually had two picks in the top five.”
One that comes immediately to mind is the 1965 Chicago Bears, who became the only team in NFL history to draft two Hall Of Famers in the first round of the same draft: Dick Butkus at No. 3 and Gale Sayers at No. 4.
But in a cautionary tale Dorsey may even have been alluding to, over the next nine seasons the Bears would have just two winning seasons, 9-5 when Sayers scored a then-NFL record 22 touchdowns as a rookie in 1965 and 7-6-1 in 1967. The Bears would go 48-74-4 overall before both men had their careers cut short by knee injuries, Sayers in 1971 and Butkus in 1973.
That could very well be why Dorsey was quick to announce he was open for business saying, “There’s a lot of things I can do at No. 1 and not just get a quarterback.
“You know my door is wide open and if somebody wants to come up and talk to me about a trade I’m willing to trade.”
Dorsey added, “Well you know any good GM wants to see what’s out there, field phone calls from his peers so why wouldn’t I?
“That’s why I say guys just give me a call and see what’s up.”
Another thing Dorsey harped on was his commitment to including his entire scouting and coaching staffs in his decision-making process.
“I’ve always said God created two ears and one mouth for a reason and I think my responsibility is to listen," Dorsey said. “We have some experienced evaluators of the quarterback position so it’s my responsibility to this organization to listen to everybody and at the end of the day we’re going to do what’s best for the Cleveland Browns.”
The strongest of those voices would likely be head coach Hue Jackson, who made clear this week he’s not married to a quarterback in the first round either.
“We truly believe that Myles Garrett is a special player and he’s going to be a great player for the organization, for Cleveland, so if there’s another player like that and we think he’s better than the quarterback position, then we’ll have to consider that.”
To be sure, no team is going to come to the Combine and announce to the world its draft board or its intentions in free agency or the draft.
And most analysts agree there is no quarterback in this draft they would grade as high pre-draft as a Luck, Winston, Mariota, Goff or Wentz, another reason for Dorsey to tread carefully in the top five of the first round.
With a potentially outstanding offensive line if Joe Thomas returns, highly promising youngsters in Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers and David Njoku and a cache of free agency and draft capital rarely seen in NFL circles, Dorsey and company have a chance to make the Browns competitive in one offseason. And Dorsey came across as a guy who knows it and has a plan to get it done.