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Sashi: Not drafting Watson among 'difficult' decisions

In back-to-back years, the rebuilding Browns have passed on a pair of quarterbacks -- Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson -- who look like long-term answers for two other NFL teams.

Cleveland's executive VP of football operations, Sashi Brown, acknowledged Wednesday that bypassing quality players is one cost of the team's desire to collect draft picks and build the roster from scratch with homegrown talent.

"Those decisions are always difficult," Brown said, per The Chronicle-Telegram.

Brown emphasized that he feels no regret about a draft-day process that also saw the team trade down when they could have snagged productive rookie safety Malik Hooker -- now thriving with the Colts -- saying: "When you trade back, there's a host of players that won't be available to you."

The winless Browns generated headlines in 2016 by swapping away the No. 2 overall pick to Philadelphia for a bushel of future selections, paving the way for the Eagles to land Wentz, who has gone on to start 20 straight games and show signs of growth in his second campaign.

This offseason, the Browns agreed to a deal with the Texans that allowed Houston to move up from No. 25 to No. 12 overall in the draft to select Watson. The Texans gave the Browns their 2018 first-round pick in return, but also unearthed what appears to be a fascinating young signal-caller.

The Browns, meanwhile, are taking a long look at second-round passer DeShone Kizer, who has shown glimpses of prototypical pro-level quarterback play, but also struggled mightily inside a Browns offense light on receivers and a reliable ground game.

Cleveland owns a bushel of picks in next year's draft -- nobody else comes close -- but the team-building process will continue to draw suspicion until the Browns, at long last, unearth a quarterback and show traces of might against real-time opponents.

Other items of note from Sashi's meet-and-greet with the press:

  1. Wideout Kenny Britt -- inked to four-year, $32.5 million contract in March -- has drawn fair criticism for a rash of ugly drops this season. After coach Hue Jackson publicly critiqued the 29-year-old wideout, Brown was asked if the signing looms as a disappointment. "I wouldn't say that," Brown said. "We're] relying on him to bring consistency, stability," adding that he "knows [Britt] can perform better [and] [believes he'll turn it around."
  1. Brown shot down rumors of discord between the front office and Jackson's coaching staff following a 1-19 record over two seasons, noting that he's "working well" with Jackson, while adding that both sides understand where they came from and are aiming to go, per The Plain Dealer.
  1. The Browns have come under fire from a frustrated fan base that has lived through an endless night since the team's return to the league in 1999, but Sashi made it clear on Wednesday that the front office isn't about to jump ship on its master plan to turn things around:
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