The Cleveland Browns seem to have no idea what to do with the first overall pick.
The Cleveland Browns hold the number 1 pick in the 2017 NFL draft after coming close to this achievement for a while now. This year’s draft has no home run quarterback that is a slam dunk at number one overall. It seems almost too Browns to be possible, never quite getting the top pick to draft the stud QB prospect, but when they finally get the top pick, there isn’t a QB on the board that looks like a future all pro who will be the star for a super bowl winning team. But, the Browns, who actually have spent the highest use of draft picks on quarterbacks based on round and pick by a wide margin in the past 10 years, has never found the signal caller that can lead them week in and week out. And their desire to draft a QB has caused the Browns to overthink the first overall selection way too much, and it is causing some stories that shouldn’t ever happen.
This season, the consensus top pick according to most experts is Myles Garrett. Garrett was a 5 star recruit coming out of high school and lived up to the hype given to him. He has been compared to fellow 5 star, SEC stud, and first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney. In fact, for some experts, their big board reads three SEC defensive linemen in the top 5 with Jonathan Allen and Derek Barnett getting lots of love as well. This year’s defensive end class is loaded as Solomon Thomas has been in the top 5 in numerous mock drafts recently. Any of these guys, with the exception of Barnett wouldn’t come as a total shock and would probably be applauded by fans, except for Thomas who is much better than what the average fan realizes.
While the Browns have been exploring any potential options at number one overall, multiple reports have stated that the team is very interested in drafting Leonard Fournette at number 1 overall. This shouldn’t ever come close to happening, Ezekiel Elliot was a much better prospect than Fournette is and he was drafted 4'th overall by a team with little key areas of improvement. Some scouts believe if the Cowboys did not draft Elliot, he might’ve fallen to nearly outside the top 10. If a prospect with much better skills is going 4'th overall and was by a team with no real gaping needs, it should show you that unless a generational talent comes in at a position, the only real positions where a team should take someone first overall without an extreme outlier would be a Quarterback, Tackle, or Pass Rusher. This case of an extreme outlier when someone selected someone first overall without playing any of the the previously mentioned positions was 1996 when the New York Jets selected Keyshawn Johnson(Jonathan Ogden was the first player selected in one of the three positions and went to the Hall of Fame). With no tackle looking even worth a top 10 pick, that should narrow it down to just quarterback or pass rusher.
While Mitch Trubisky is regarded as the top QB prospect (listed at -200 to be 1'st QB selected aka 67% odds), many scouts are not convinced he will make a great NFL quarterback. And I agree with them, many of the top QB’s recently that have found success have high completion % in college, have a high TD-INT ratio, and start a lot of games. While Trubisky might check the first two boxes, he doesn’t check the final box as he didn’t even make his first career start until his third season at North Carolina. While Deshaun Watson fits all three of these boxes to a degree, his high amount of interceptions last season is a cause for concern. Brad Kaaya, DeShone Kizer, and Patrick Mahomes II all show potential and could be future starting quarterbacks, none of them have any case to be selected anywhere in the top 5.
The Cleveland Browns have a history of trading down in the draft, and this could be an option again this season. If the Browns do not want any quarterback, tackle, defensive linemen, or any other generational type player, trading down could make sense. All it takes is one team to be convinced that Mitch Trubisky is the next big thing like what the Eagles saw in Carson Wentz (jury is still out on if this was a good call). The final reason, which is a strong one against Trubisky is that the class of 2018 for Quarterbacks is loaded, Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen look like great QB prospects, and Josh Allen and Luke Falk are a big year away from becoming a high first round pick. Trading down would be the best option in my opinion if the Browns do not want to select Myles Garrett for whatever reason. This year’s draft has some depth at positions the Browns need, like cornerback. And also no high end caliber prospects at positions the Browns need to upgrade and get younger, like offensive tackle.
At the end of the day the question becomes, as a Browns fan, what would you be satisfied with the Browns doing on draft night with the top overall pick? So let’s rank the options.
- Select Myles Garrett at number 1 overall (Fantastic)
- Trading Down for a solid trade offer that gives similar, if not better value than the trade previously shown made last season with the Eagles. (Good, but could be better)
- Taking Solomon Thomas or Jonathan Allen. (Would be disappointed, but the staff must love what they see in them)
- Selecting Mitch Trubisky (Really losing hope in organization at this point, but would be one of his biggest fans hoping it works out.)
- Selecting Leonard Fournette, or anyone else here for that matter. (Malik Hooker and Jamal Adams are awesome and could easily be pro bowlers, but the Browns can’t take them at 1, see option 2 if they fall in love with either of these guys) (I would consider rooting for a different team)