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History Sides with Browns in Blockbuster Trade

History does not smile on the Eagles' decision to trade up. Just ask the Chargers about Ryan Leaf.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

History rarely shines on the Cleveland Browns, but the club finally appears to have made a wise move.

The Browns traded the #2 pick to the Philadelphia Eagles on Wednesday, inciting a wave of reaction from pundits, fans, and NFL executives, mostly positive reactions.

After further review, history appears to agree with the Browns' move.

Though Wednesday's trade generated a whirlwind of reactions, the transaction was nothing special. Plenty of teams have traded up to #2 in the past, often with disastrous consequences.

The last such transaction occurred just four years ago. The Redskins traded the No. 6 and No. 39 picks in the 2012 draft, plus first rounders in 2013 and 2014, to select quarterback Robert Griffin III. The Baylor product largely flopped with Washington and is now in line to be the Browns' next starting quarterback.

The other prominent example happened in 1998. The Chargers sacrificed a king's bounty -- two first rounders, one second rounder, WR Eric Metcalf, and DL Patrick Sapp -- to the Cardinals to trade up for quarterback Ryan Leaf. The overhyped Leaf turned out to be one of the biggest busts in NFL Draft history.

Dating back to the start of the NFL Draft in 1936, 14 quarterbacks have been drafted No. 2 overall. Those signal callers have a combined 27 Pro Bowls and only one of them is a Hall of Famer -- Sid Luckman, drafted way back in 1939.

To be fair, Archie Manning (1971) carved out a solid career on an abysmal Saints team. Also, the Jets did select Hall of Famer Joe Namath second overall in the 1965 AFL draft. However, besides these two quarterbacks, most of the names on the list did not lead their teams to Super Bowls.

Historically, six quarterbacks have been the second quarterback to come off the board at No. 2: Marcus Mariota, RG III, Leaf, Rick Mirer, Archie Manning, and Lamar McHan. These players have zero Pro Bowl appearances and zero Super Bowls.

Delving deeper, the Browns have twice traded into the top three: 1970 and 2012. Both were disasters.

The Browns traded Hall of Famer Paul Warfield for the No. 3 pick in 1970, which the club used to select Mike Phipps out of Purdue. Warfield helped the Dolphins win the Super Bowl twice. Phipps led the Browns to a 24-25-1 record in seven seasons, throwing just 58 touchdowns against 101 interceptions, completing just 48.1 percent of his passes as a Brown.

In 2012, the Browns sent the Vikings first, fourth, fifth, and seventh round picks to move up one slot to select running back Trent Richardson. The Browns dealt Richardson in his second season, and the Alabama product soon proved to be a bust with the Colts. He didn't play a down in the NFL in 2015.

As the data above shows, the Browns made a wise move. Surprising, right?

Of course, the Eagles could draft Carson Wentz and the NDSU product could become a star. However, history points to a different fate for Philadelphia and its pick.