Browns shouldn't trade down from No. 4

The Browns shouldn't trade down from the fourth overall pick. In fact, they shouldn't even be thinking it.

But unfortunately, the Browns are talking about it.

"We're most likely going to stay at No. 4 and we know we'll get a really good player there," Browns general manager Tom Heckert told the Cleveland Plain Dealer at the NFL owners meetings. "But there's about five guys we really like, so we would consider trading down -- but probably only to five, six, seven or eight."

He stressed "why not pick up some extra picks if you can get a guy you like a few spots back."

Yes, you can gain more picks by trading down. The problem is, you lose your shot at one of the coveted offensive playmakers in the draft.

If the Browns traded back, they can say goodbye to running back Trent Richardson. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will take him at No. 5 (especially after signing wide receiver Vincent Jackson and cornerback Eric Wright in free agency).

If the Browns fall back more than two spots, they have no shot at wide receiver Justin Blackmon. He'll go to the St. Louis Rams at No. 6.

Moving back helped the Browns build up their defense last season when they traded with the Atlanta Falcons, who wanted wide receiver Julio Jones. But they can't keep falling back every year.

The Browns desperately need a playmaker, and they most likely will have their choice between Blackmon and Richardson. Cleveland needs to stay at No. 4 and make its selection.

Here are a few other items from Heckert, via the Plain Dealer:

  • Even though most think the Browns will take either Blackmon or Richardson, Heckert didn't rule out taking LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne.

  • To file under the "not surprised" category, Heckert said it's likely that two of the first three picks will be offense, "but you never know who will be there at No. 22 and No. 37.''

  • It appears Bengals free-agent running back Cedric Benson is a fall-back option for the Browns. Heckert didn't dismiss the possibility of signing Benson, who has received no interest in free agency. My guess is the Browns would look at Benson if they don't draft a running back.