John Dorsey only traded text messages during the first round of this year’s NFL draft.
Cleveland’s wheeling-dealing general manager, who has overturned his roster with numerous transactions over the past year, didn’t make a move into the first round Thursday night and will start the second day still holding onto his second round pick.
Dorsey’s decision not to package the No. 49 overall pick with any of his other seven selections for a higher spot was somewhat surprising, given his track record.
He’s made 17 trades — including a recent blockbuster for wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. — since taking over the Browns in December 2017, bucking their laughingstock status and making them one of the league’s most intriguing squads.
Dorsey was willing to trade up for the right player, but only for the right price. However, he couldn’t find a partner on Day 1 and stayed on the sideline while six other teams moved up. One of them was the rival Pittsburgh Steelers, who jumped from No. 20 to 10 and took Michigan linebacker Devin Bush.
In his six previous drafts as a GM in Cleveland and Kansas City, Dorsey made 18 trades involving picks. So far, he’s only been an interested spectator.
This was the first time since 2008 that the Browns didn’t have a first-round selection, and that fact alone underscored their ascension.
The outsider’s role was a new one in Cleveland, where fans have grown accustomed to early picks, and so many bad ones.
After selecting first overall in each of the past two drafts, the prize — or punishment — for going 1-31 in two seasons under former coach Hue Jackson, the Browns came in as one of four teams without a first-round pick.
They willingly gave it up when Dorsey stunned the league last month by trading the No. 17 pick to the New York Giants as part of the deal for Beckham, whose arrival has sparked wild expectations in Cleveland. The Giants used that selection on Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence.