The Browns saved their surprises for the final day of the NFL draft.
Coming in with five selections in Rounds 4-7, the Browns traded two picks — one with the rival Pittsburgh Steelers — and used their final two selections in the seventh rounds on two Division II players.
And despite rampant rumors that they would take a quarterback, the Browns only took one offensive player — and he was a lineman from Chadron State.
On a busy Saturday, the Browns also finalized a three-year contract extension with veteran wide receiver Davone Bess, acquired from Miami on Friday.
Before the 2013 season even starts, the Browns were already looking ahead to the 2014 draft.
Cleveland swapped its fourth-round pick (No. 111 overall) to the Steelers for a third-rounder in ‘14, and then dealt their fifth-round selection (No. 139) to Indianapolis for a future fourth-rounder.
Enemies for decades, the Browns and Steelers had not made a trade since 1968.
Apparently, Browns CEO Joe Banner and general manager Michael Lombardi didn’t think there was much value in the later rounds of this year’s draft and began stockpiling for next year. Cleveland came in without a second-round pick — they lost it when they took wide receiver Josh Gordon in last year’s supplemental draft — and ended up picking just two of the top 174 players.
The moves were unexpected for a team that won just five games last season and underwent another major offseason overhaul. This draft also took place amid uncertainty about the future as new owner Jimmy Haslam is under federal investigation for a fraud scheme at Pilot Flying J, his family’s truck-stop chain.
Haslam did not meet with reporters over the weekend. He did address season-ticket holders and sponsors on Thursday night, shortly before the Browns selected LSU linebacker Barkevious Mingo with the No. 6 overall pick. The Browns picked San Diego State cornerback Leon McFadden in the third round.
After making the deal with Pittsburgh, the Steelers used the pick to take Syracuse safety Shamarko Thomas. Cleveland originally had the 104th pick but swapped with Miami as part of the trade to get Bess, who passed his physical on Saturday to finalize the deal.
In the sixth round, the Browns chose Notre Dame safety Jamoris Slaughter, who played just three games last season for the Fighting Irish before rupturing his left Achilles’ heel against Michigan State on Sept. 15.
The Browns used their first seventh-round pick on defensive end Armonty Bryant from East Central Oklahoma. The 6-foot-3, 263-pound Bryant didn’t perform the bench press at the scouting combine following right shoulder surgery.