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Rival Report 5/4: Did "Moneyball" strategy work for Cleveland Browns?

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Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The first draft of the Browns "Moneyball" era is in the books, to mixed reviews.

Just like with any draft there are some people who will love a teams draft while another person is going to say "Eh." to it. We won't really know how it works out until a few years from now because that's just how it works when evaluating a draft, but that doesn't mean there are no opinions worth listening to directly after it.

Moneyball is a term created during the revival of the Oakland Athletics so most of the Raiders fans in the area are familiar with the concept. However, for those of you not familiar with Moneyball, it is the use of advanced analytics to try and get the most production for the least amount of money. It's concept is based on having multiple players create the production that one star (who is paid a lot) is able to create.

One of the architects of this system is Paul DePodesta who now is in charge of the Cleveland Browns team building with the title of Chief Strategy Officer. This is why people are talking so much about Moneyball in the NFL when it has been more known for Major League Baseball.

Now here comes the Cleveland Browns though with no qualms with wholeheartedly embracing this concept to build their team into a competitor instead of "A Factory of Sadness". They managed to maneuver the draft to a ridiculous level, accumulating 14 draft picks which ties the most ever in the 7 round era of the NFL Draft.

It is up to former Oakland Raiders coach Hue Jackson to put those 14 draft picks to use in his football system. To replicate the success of the Oakland A's (and one could argue the New England Patriots too) you need to have a system in place that allows this to happen. That is why Hue Jackson and his offensive genius is a great fit to test out this model in Cleveland.

Hue's first season in Cleveland comes with 14 rookies, and if you hear Hue Jackson talk about it he couldn't be happier. He is confident he found a QB that works for him in the 3rd round (Cody Kessler, USC), a playmaking wide receiver in the first round (Casey Coleman, Clemson), along with 2 pass rushers in the first 3 rounds as well (2nd round pick Emmanuel Ogbah, OK ST and 3rd round pick Carl Nassib, Penn ST).

Then the Browns proceeded to add 4 more receivers, 2 linebackers, 2 defensive backs, and 2 offensive linemen. This is where you really see the Moneyball concepts with loading up on specific positions with the thought being the more picks you have at a position, the more likely it is that you will hit on one or more of the picks.

Personally, I think the Browns killed this draft. It was fun watching them constantly moving around and it seems to me like they got plenty of bang for their buck. Some major outlets agree, while some others don't. Now it's the wait and see period afterwards to see how it all goes down on the field in the upcoming years. Tell me how you feel about their draft in the comments section!

Pro Football Focus Awards Cleveland Browns With the Highest 2016 NFL Draft Grade - Dawgs By Nature
Connecting the dots of the Browns favoring analytics, it shouldn't be a surprise that PFF gave them the highest grade in the draft (along with the Jacksonville Jaguars) with an A grade, as graded by Steve Palazzolo.

Cleveland Browns First Moneyball Draft Doesn't Look Great - Breitbart
Cleveland Browns First Moneyball Draft Doesn't Look Great

The Browns were the NFL Draft's real winners - SBNation.com
It was the perfect marriage of Moneyball and football smarts. Now, the only question is whether it will pay off on the field.

The Plan Behind the Cleveland Browns Draft | The MMQB with Peter King
The Cleveland Browns’ latest plan was on full display as they hoarded picks on draft weekend. And when it was over, the ‘football guy’ and the ‘Moneyball guy’ were both smiling

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