NFL Media’s Daniel Jeremiah went on The Dan Patrick Show on Wednesday (February 26th) and made it known that he feels via NFL contacts the Cleveland Browns “Under the previous regime they loved Johnny Manziel , and he’s talked to enough people who firmly believe that was a total smokescreen.” Jeremiah further: “Their guy is (Fresno State quarterback) Derek Carr and they’re going to take a different player with the fourth pick and they want to take him with their second one (at No. 26)… I heard that from several different places.” Could this be a sign of a trade down scenario?
Browns Head Coach Mike Pettine when speaking at the NFL Scouting Combine on Saturday (February 22nd) said “We’re not locked in saying we have to take a quarterback early in the draft.” This statement follows up previous statements made by Pettine that could signal his heart may be set on another player…Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins. When asked by the media about Watkins, and the idea of drafting him he replied “Anytime you can add somebody to your team that can score points, that can make explosive plays, that’s what the NFL’s all about…. You have to have players that when they get their hands on the ball are special, and I think he falls into that category.”
Wide receiver Sammy Watkins is regarded a top draft prospect and in order for the Browns to get him they would have to take him at #4 overall, or would they? What if the Browns sent out the smokescreen that they coveted one of the top 3 quarterbacks, and then traded down with team who is set on a top quarterback. One possible scenario is the Browns trading down with the Minnesota Vikings at #8. Currently the Vikings are on the outside looking in and may have to take the best available player or which ever quarterback is still available. This could play into the Browns hands so they could trade back to #8, acquire Watkins, and an additional pick from Minnesota (Likely an additional 3rd or 4th Rounder) and then turn their sights to the quarterback that they coveted all along.
With the addition of the 3rd or 4th round pick from Minnesota the Browns would be in the driver seat to look for Carr with the #26th overall, but if they get happy feet they have the ammunition available to move up from 26th overall and acquire him at an earlier spot. One thing to keep in mind with this scenario is that only one Cleveland Browns representative was present at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, and that was current general manager Ray Farmer. And as Daniel Jeremiah had previously reported, “Carr was clearly the top signal-caller during the week of practices and he played at a high level during the game on Saturday afternoon. He had plenty of arm strength to cut through a heavy wind early in the week and he threw the ball accurately both from the pocket and on the move. I talked to a few teams that interviewed him and they came away very impressed with his maturity and football intelligence.”
All of this information maybe hearsay but I will leave you with this, even Farmer hinted at the combine in a report from the Akron Beacon Journal that their was a possibility of a change at #4 overall. When asked if it’s safe to assume he will draft a quarterback at No. 4 overall he replied, “It could be safe, but we might not go that direction, it may not be what everybody thinks it’s going to be, so there’s an opportunity for some curveballs.”