John Dorsey‘s December 2017 arrival as the new GM of the Cleveland Browns was understandably celebrated. Those around the NFL raved about his ability to build a successful football team. As for long-suffering Browns fans, they were just happy he was actually qualified to do the job.
This, of course, represented a significant upgrade for Cleveland. As you’ll recall, the team had just wrapped up two years of having its roster assembled by a former lawyer.
Little did we know Dorsey was going to bring far more to the table than a respectable resume. In fact, in a just over a year’s time, Dorsey has exceeded even the highest expectations anyone may have had for him. As a result, there’s little doubt the Browns are in great hands under his watch.
For perspective on all the positives Dorsey has provided, just consider what the Browns had been enduring before hiring him.
The team had just fired Sashi Brown, an attorney who knew how to pile up assets but wasn’t quite sure how to use them. Before him, Cleveland was turned into a clown-show thanks to the laughably terrible job done by former GM Ray Farmer. Between his getting caught texting complaints to the coaching staff mid-game and drafting two of the most colossal busts in NFL history, it’s truly amazing how much damage Farmer conducted in just two years.
We could go farther down this rabbit hole – Phil Savage cursing out fans, Mike Holmgren just showing up to cash checks – but it’s too painful. You get the point, it’s been rough.
However, it also helps illustrate just how well Dorsey has been doing since he arrived in Cleveland last December. Almost every move he’s made resulted in the Browns coming out on the winning end.
We’ve already raved enough about his work in this past April’s draft. In the span of a few minutes, Dorsey netted the Browns their franchise quarterback (Baker Mayfield) and shutdown corner (Denzel Ward).
While the praise he receives for the draft is merited, what shouldn’t be ignored is how well he’s done with trades this year. Sure, he made his first wave by acquiring Pro Bowl wideout Jarvis Landry for just a fourth and seventh round pick. However, this was just the tip of the iceberg.
He dealt failed quarterback DeShone Kizer off to the Green Bay Packers, receiving safety Damarious Randall in return. While Kizer has yet to make a meaningful appearance in Green Bay, Randall has helped transform the Browns defense. He’s tied for sixth in the league with four interceptions, and his presence has helped fellow safety Jabrill Peppers put forth a career year himself.
Dorsey also moved nose tackle Danny Shelton and a fifth-round pick to the New England Patriots, acquiring a 2019 third-round pick in return. Last week represented the third straight game Shelton watched as a healthy scratch.
He traded Carlos Hyde to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a fifth-round pick. Hyde has 129 rushing yards in six games with the Jags. Meanwhile, Browns rookie Nick Chubb has the fifth highest average yards per carry in the league.
Another one of Dorsey’s trades came back into the picture today, as it was announced troubled wideout Josh Gordon has been suspended again. Three months ago, Dorsey dealt Gordon to New England for a 2019 fifth-round pick. The move was questioned at the time. Now, it’s astounding he was able to get anything at all.
We may have found each of the aforementioned deals questionable at the time (well, not the Kizer one). Looking back, they all appear to be home runs.
It’s tough to believe even the most optimistic Browns fan could’ve predicted Dorsey seeing this much success in just a year’s time. Almost every move he’s made has set this team up for success.
For proof, look no further than the on-field product.
Did anyone honestly watch the Browns go 0-16 last year, then assume they’d still be in the playoff hunt with a month to spare in the following season? Even if Cleveland’s faint postseason hopes fall through this year, people around the league have been unable to deny the fact this is a team on the rise.
Again, everything mentioned above has occurred in just one year. Previous Browns GMs were given more time than this, and still didn’t even come close to hitting as many home runs as Dorsey.
If he can do this much in a year’s time, imagine what the future holds for the Browns under his watch. Based on the evidence we have, we can expect a lot of positives.