Recent history of Browns' first-round trades gives fans headaches

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There's a reason Cleveland Browns followers get heartburn when the possibility of a first-round trade in the NFL draft is rumored.

It's called recent history.

This is the team that traded down instead of taking Julio Jones and traded up to get Johnny Manziel. The team that decided to move away from drafting Carson Wentz and moved up to take Trent Richardson.

When folks start speculating that perhaps the Browns will trade down from the first overall pick in this year's draft, the folks who follow the Browns bury their faces in their hands.

They've been through so much.

Since 2004, the Browns have dealt a top-10 pick six times -- four times to go down, twice to go up.

The results have the Browns picking first overall this year.

2004: Traded up from No. 7 for tight end Kellen Winslow at No. 6 -- In this draft, the Browns met as a front office and coaching staff and decided that with the No. 7 overall pick Winslow or receiver Roy Williams would be the best fits. The offense needed help, and the team liked both players. That didn't stop coach Butch Davis from trying to trade up to the No. 4 pick for safety Sean Taylor, much to the team's surprise. After five picks, Winslow and Williams were both there, meaning the team would get one of its preferred two. But Davis traded up one spot to take Winslow and gave up a second-round pick to do so.

2006: Traded down from No. 12 for linebacker Kamerion Wimbley at No. 13 -- General manager Phil Savage had a choice between lineman Haloti Ngata and Wimbley. His coaching staff preferred the pass-rusher, and Savage felt the Ravens wanted Ngata. So Savage broke with tradition and gave the Ravens the player they wanted; the Browns moved back one spot and got the player they wanted and a sixth-round pick from Baltimore. Ngata had an outstanding career. Wimbley became a victim of the changing regimes and was traded by coach Eric Mangini in 2010 for a third-round pick.

2007: Traded two picks to get back in the first round to take quarterback Brady Quinn -- One of the picks Savage sent to Dallas to get Quinn was the first-round pick in 2008. That and other trades meant the Browns did not have a pick in the draft's first three rounds in '08, which made linebacker Beau Bell the most famous fourth-round pick in team history. Quinn went 3-9 as a starter in Cleveland and was traded for running back Peyton Hillis, who had one good year in Cleveland. Mangini actually traded Wimbley and Quinn -- two first-round picks -- on the same day -- a Browns-like quirk if ever there was one.

2009: Traded down from No. 5 for center Alex Mack at No. 21 -- This was one of the few first-round deals that worked out, as Mack became a Pro Bowl center. But Mangini traded down three times in the first round to get Mack, including giving up the fifth overall pick.

2011: Traded down from No. 6 for nose tackle Phil Taylor at No. 21 -- This pick has become legendary, as the Browns passed on Julio Jones to garner extra picks (first- and fourth-rounders in 2011 and 2012 and a second-rounder in 2011). Jones has grown into one of the NFL's best players in Atlanta. The Browns compounded the bad deal with the players they chose with the picks they acquired. Defensive tackle Phil Taylor was released after four injury-marred seasons. Wide receiver Greg Little and fullback Owen Marecic are no longer in the NFL. Brandon Weeden, taken with the 2012 first-round pick, is a backup with the Texans. The Browns also used a fourth-round pick from the Jones deal to mangle the draft the next year.

2012: Traded up from No. 4 for running back Trent Richardson at No. 3 -- The Browns gave up three picks (including that 2012 fourth-rounder from Atlanta) to move up one spot and take Richardson, who didn't last two years in Cleveland. Weeden was the second of two first-round picks in this draft.

2014: Traded down from No. 4 and then up from No. 9 for cornerback Justin Gilbert at No. 8 -- Instead of keeping the fourth pick and taking either receiver Sammy Watkins or linebacker Khalil Mack, the Browns opted to trade down for Gilbert, who turned into a colossal miss. It's always easy to point to the guy the team could have picked. But in Mack's case, the Browns passed on a guy who played in the MAC at Buffalo and who was unblockable when he played Ohio State his final year in college. Finding him did not take much work.

2014: Traded up from No. 26 for quarterback Johnny Manziel at No. 22 -- This was a double-dip year for draft-trade busts. After trading down to take Gilbert, the Browns traded up to take Manziel. Worse, they used the first-round pick they acquired when they traded Richardson to the Colts in 2013 to move up. The team still has not recovered from the Manziel debacle. It wasted two years trying to see if he could play and now is facing another year with a giant mystery at that position. This pick may have set the Browns back five years.

2016: Traded down from No. 2 for wide receiver Corey Coleman at No. 15 -- The Browns had the second overall pick and could have taken Wentz, but the Browns gave the Eagles their quarterback to move down -- not once, but twice -- to take Coleman. The Eagles are thrilled with Wentz. Coleman has to erase some serious question marks as he enters his second season. He has time, but his coach recently challenged him to grow up.

Overall, the Browns have made nine trades with first-round players or picks since 2004. One worked (Alex Mack), one is incomplete (Coleman). The rest, well ... Khalil Mack and Derek Carr are doing impressive things for the Raiders.

The Browns are not alone in draft-trade fiascos. The Jaguars traded up for Blaine Gabbert. The Bears traded a first-round pick for Rick Mirer. The Chargers moved up to take Ryan Leaf.

But few teams have been as consistent as the Browns in not only misreading their team but also the draft.

The Browns have given up top-10 players three times since 2009. The only time it worked was when they acquired Mack, but even that didn't work long term. Mack is now playing in Atlanta after (a) he got sick of losing, and (b) the Browns botched his first free agency and allowed him to sign a transition-tag deal that let him walk away two years later.

The one constant with the post-1999 Browns has been change. Regime after regime has taken over and decided that the previous regime did not do things properly and the team had to start over.

The result: excessive machinations that lead to overthinking. Instead of just taking the logical pick, the new regimes felt they had to do something different to hasten the rebuild.

Some call it overthinking. Some say it's people trying to prove they are smarter than everyone else. The optimist would say they were honest efforts that didn't work out.

Taken together, they are largely the reason the Browns won one game in 2016 -- and are picking first overall this year.