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Browns GM: Not drafting Deshaun Watson was a ‘difficult’ decision

Texans rookie QB Deshaun Watson looks strong in NFL preseason debut
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns had a real opportunity to draft former Clemson standout Deshaun Watson in the first round of April’s draft. Instead, the team traded the 12th pick to Houston in order to facilitate the Texans picking up Watson.

It’s a decision that will be linked to the Browns’ front office and general manager Sashi Brown for some time. That’s only magnified by the fact that Cleveland ultimately used one of its second-round picks on a fellow quarterback in DeShone Kizer.

Now, a quarter of the way through the season, the winless Browns still have major issues at quarterback. It’s led to the GM himself indicating that passing up on Watson was a difficult decision.

“Those decisions are always difficult,” Brown said, per The Chronicle-Telegram. “When you trade back, there’s a host of players that won’t be available to you.”

Obviously, Brown is talking about a group of players that includes Watson. And through the first quarter of the season, it’s looking like a major bust for Cleveland.

Kizer himself was benched in Week 4 in favor of Kevin Hogan after turning the ball over eight times in his previous nine quarters. It came during a 31-7 loss to the previously winless Cincinnati Bengals.

For his part, Watson put up five touchdowns in the Texans’ 57-14 blowout win over Tennessee.

Though, much like everything relating to the rebuilding Browns right now, we won’t be able to gauge the success of the trade for years down the road. Remember, Cleveland picked up a 2018 first-round pick from Houston in order to help the Texans move up for Watson. Maybe, that will be used on a franchise quarterback. Perhaps, Kizer will prove himself to be of that ilk.

But for now, the trade itself looks like an unmitigated disaster for a downtrodden Browns team that’s won just once in its past 23 games.