The NFL is stuck in the past, both culturally and in regards to the game of football itself. While other sports have transitioned to an analytics-friendly approach since the turn of the century and reaped rewards, the NFL has lagged behind. When the Cleveland Browns hired Sashi Brown — someone without a long background in football who trusts in computers — as their general manager, they were universally laughed at for no reason other than going outside of the mainstream.

If any team should have been looking for an unconventional approach, however, it was the Browns. One playoff game since (this version of) the team has existed will drive one to extremes, but a year into the project, things look great.

Sure, the Browns were 1-15 last season, but that was a given. Brown had implemented a full-scale teardown — the football version of Sam Hinkie’s process — and Cleveland is now primed to build the core of a championship team over the next few drafts.

Building this way is at the top of a long list of things other teams should be doing. Why? At a given time, there are between 20 and 24 quarterbacks you can fathom having under center on a title-winning team. Of those, about eight require a historically good defense to take a team far into the playoffs. In short, if you don’t have a top-12 quarterback, you’re probably screwed. This is the basis by which all football transactions are made, regardless of whether a team adheres to analytics or not.

So, if you don’t have one of these quarterbacks with whom you can win a title, how do you get one? The answer, by-and-large, is at the top of the draft. Few top quarterbacks become free agents or are available in trades. Teams fishing for quarterbacks in these areas are usually the same teams that end up giving the Brock Osweilers of the world $72 million (more on that later). The Browns understand this, so they’re hoarding draft picks like gold.