The news broke that the Cleveland Browns were completing a trade with the New York Giants for defense end Olivier Vernon.
Seemingly within minutes, the speculation began that general manager John Dorsey was looking to trade defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, because apparently in today’s NFL, depth is bad. (It also helps to ignore that every other true defensive end on the roster not named Myles Garrett or Olivier Vernon is worst than Ogbah.)
But if Dorsey puts those inconvenient truths aside and decides to move Ogbah in a trade, the question becomes how can the Browns benefit from the deal.
Mike Kay at nj.com has a possible answer to that question as he presents a trade scenario where the Browns would send Ogbah to the Philadelphia Eagles in return for defensive back Rasul Douglas.
As Kay points out, the Eagles are lacking youth at the defensive end position and could have depth issues if Chris Long ends up retiring. (The Browns apparently have use for neither depth or youth at the position.)
Ogbah would solve that problem for the Eagles, while Douglas would presumably help fill the hole in the Browns secondary that was created when the team included safety Jabrill Peppers in the trade for wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
According to Kay:
Douglas struggled to get on the field over the past two seasons when the lineup was at full strength. However, he played well when asked to start in place of Ronald Darby during his two stints on injured reserve. Douglas was particularly effective last season, as he led the team with three interceptions and helped provide a boost in the secondary during the team’s playoff push.
Douglas, who has flashed several times over the last two years, could earn a starting role in Cleveland. While the Eagles have refused to move him to safety, the Browns could make the position switch work. Douglas has produced five interceptions over the last two seasons, making plays on the ball at the cornerback position. At safety, the 6-foot-2, 209-pound defensive back could keep his eyes on the ball and snatch it out of the air while facing the quarterback.
Douglas was a third-round selection by the Eagles in the 2017 NFL Draft, and has made 12 starts in his two seasons in Philadelphia. He earned a grade of 72.5 last season from Pro Football Focus, which was better than the ones posted by T.J. Carrie (66.9), Phillip Gaines (67.3) and Terrance Mitchell (64.0) for the Browns last season.
It is not clear if Douglas could make the move to safety, but it does seem clear that the Eagles have soured on him for some reason. Despite numerous injuries in the secondary last year, Philadelphia was reluctant to give Douglas much playing time, to the point that they re-signed Dexter McDougle - a player they waived in 2017 - in October rather than give Douglas more of an opportunity.
As of today, having Ogbah on the roster makes the Browns a better team. Whether or not that remains true in the coming weeks is in the hands of Dorsey.