After following the team for years, I don't think they really care about having the overall top pick. Not really sure they care about winning at all to be honest.
Agreed. Brown cares about winning in the same way that I care about having chiseled, 8-pack abs. They'd be nice to have. But I'm still going to eat chicken wings. Similarly, while Brown would prefer to win big, sticking to his way of doing things is more important to him.
In reality, I think Brown just wants to do the bare minimum necessary to prevent an actual fan revolt. If necessary, make 2-3 isolated moves to appease the fanbase, because the simpletons in the mob can be satisfied by seeing a head or two roll. But never even bother thinking about bringing the franchise into the 21st Century -- or, hell, even the late 20th Century.
I also think Brown is just vastly unqualified for his role, making it difficult to distinguish between culpability and mere incompetence. Nothing that he has done in his tenure -- of, what, 3+ decades? -- leads me to believe he's anymore qualified than a random person off of the street. Except for record-setting futility, his "accomplishments" seem to be: (1) letting actual experts make a few football-related decisions once in awhile; (2) not bankrupting a team in a league in which it's virtually impossible to fail; and (3) following his lawyers' advice in screwing Hamilton County on the Stadium Deal. Kudos.
Anyways, rant over. Sadly, Mike Brown is Billy Madison, and the Bengals won't be competitive until the Browns no longer own the team. And if that happens, the team will probably move to a different city.