Trade means Browns' wait for franchise quarterback continues

Schefter: Browns were never going to draft QB at No. 2 (2:00)

Adam Schefter, Louis Riddick and Mark Schlereth analyze how the Browns' trading away the No. 2 overall pick to the Eagles affects them. (2:00)

Here we go again.

Another year, no quarterback.

Unless you believe someone else's reclamation project is the solution.

The Cleveland Browns' trade on Wednesday of the second pick in the NFL draft netted them extra picks, including Philadelphia's first-round pick in this draft and 2017, and its second-round pick in 2018.

That's a good amount of picks.

But you can have dozens of picks and if you don't have a quarterback you still won't win. The most important position in football is treated like an afterthought by regime after regime in Cleveland, just like the possibility of drafting big-time impact players high.

Yet the spin will come about how valuable picks are and how it's a process in building a team and patience is required and the owner is committed to continuity.

Meanwhile, the Browns spin their wheels at the most important position.

The Browns preferred to trade down, which is true to analytics. Clearly they didn't think that highly of either Jared Goff or Carson Wentz.

But this is the formula that a team can build "around the quarterback."

If the Browns have proved nothing since 1999, it's that that formula does not work.

The biggest winner from this trade? Robert Griffin III. Suddenly -- and almost shockingly -- the Browns seem to have more faith in Griffin than any team in the league. They signed him when nobody else was competing for him and they paid him while bidding against nobody else.

Suddenly a guy who went from the second overall pick to third team and not playing a down can be the answer in Cleveland.

Yes, Griffin could revive himself. Word is he has dived headfirst into the team and the program, and he does have those skills. But in Cleveland, April optimism is as common as leaves in the fall. At some point, folks will realize that November and December results matter a lot more than offseason optimism.

It's just a continual carnival.

With a chance for a true fresh start with a new coach and a new regime, the Browns turn to someone else's problem. Perhaps the Browns will draft a quarterback with the eighth overall pick. If they do, that would point to Paxton Lynch. It also would be a huge reach; bigger than taking Goff or Wentz second.

Thing is, the more you talked to people in the league -- including people who know quarterbacks -- the more they said Wentz is the guy worth the shot. Philadelphia will be taking that shot now.

Perhaps the Browns have someone in mind at No. 32. Jon Gruden said Connor Cook would be the best quarterback in the draft and perhaps the Browns can get him there. But these trades no doubt ensure that the competition for the second-tier quarterbacks will increase.

Or perhaps the team is turning to a read-option, moving-pocket offense and it favors a college guy who knows that system. The best fit there would be Dak Prescott of Mississippi State.

The upside of the trade? The Browns get plenty of picks to play around with, the new regime a chance to make a stamp with this first draft that includes the eighth overall pick and an extra third-round choice (the teams swapped fourth-round picks). If they use the picks wisely, they can add talent.

But they'll be doing it with a reclamation project and a lower-round pick at quarterback -- assuming they still take one.

The Browns simply seem like a team stuck in reverse.

Pass up Julio Jones in 2011 and trade down to get a defensive tackle.

Trade down three times in 2009 and get a center. A very talented center, but a center.

Trade down from the fourth pick in 2014 and get a cornerback who has done nothing, then take a quarterback who may be out of the league after two seasons.

Every team in the league knows that no amount of picks fills in for a franchise quarterback. The Browns have the potential for one sitting in their lap. So they trade down and will wind up with a linebacker or a defensive lineman or an offensive lineman.

Yes, the Browns have needs, and yes, more picks can fill needs.

But the NFL is a league of quarterbacks and playmakers. The Browns have a huge question mark at quarterback and a dearth of playmakers.

Ask yourself: When was the last time the Browns made a move that made the rest of the league sit up and take notice?

Then ask yourself: When will this team no longer be about offseason optimism and when will it be about in-season success?