The Cleveland Browns need a quarterback, but that should not lead them to make a one-sided trade on draft day out of desperation to fix the problem.
We are now inside of a month before the 2017 NFL Draft, a three-day event that the Cleveland Browns are poised to own.
The Browns currently hold the No. 1 overall selection, five of the first 65 selections and 11 picks overall. This will also be the fourth time since 2012 that Cleveland will hold a pair of selections in the first round.
Draft time also means a proliferation of mock drafts, such as this one from R.J. White at CBS Sports. In it, White has the Browns using the No. 1 overall pick on Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett:
"Garrett is seen as the best prospect in this class, and for good reason. Pass rushers like this don’t come along often. Despite being the focal point of offensive game-planning in 2016 and dealing with injuries, he still finished with 15 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. He’ll give the Browns a true difference-maker rushing the passer, something they’ve long been lacking."
So far, so good. The Browns need impact players, especially on defense, and Garrett has become as close to a consensus as the draft’s top pick as any player.
It’s the second of Cleveland’s two first-round picks, however, where things start to go off the rails as White has the Browns selecting North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky:
"I covered how the Browns could wind up with this pick above, and why staying at No. 12 and hoping Trubisky makes it there probably isn’t wise. Trubisky comps are all over the map, from Andy Dalton to Matthew Stafford to even Aaron Rodgers. With just a handful of games on tape for the one-year starter, it’s safe to say we just don’t know what he is yet. But if the Browns fall in love, they have the draft-day ammunition to make a move and land him."
It is not so much that the Browns turn to Trubisky to solve their longterm quarterback issues, but rather the means that White uses to Trubisky to Cleveland.
In this particular scenario, White has the Browns sending the 12th, 33rd and 108th picks in this year’s draft plus their 2018 first-round pick and a third-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers to move up to the No. 2 slot so they can select a player with 13 career starts.
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We’ll take a moment to let Browns fans bang their heads against the table before we resume.
There is no debating that the Browns need to fix their quarterback situation. While they improved the position simply by releasing Robert Griffin III, the current trio of Brock Osweiler, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan is not going to cause any defensive coordinators to lose sleep.
But the idea that the Browns would give up that much for Trubisky – or any of the available quarterbacks – borders on the ridiculous.
It is likely that the Browns will move around during the draft as it is unrealistic to expect them to add 11 more rookies to the roster in 2017. But jumping from No. 12 to No. 2 seems like a bigger jump than necessary – especially given the suggested price.
The 49ers need a quarterback just as much as the Browns, but seem content to roll with Brian Hoyer for a year while they wait to sign Kirk Cousins in free agency.
The Chicago Bears, selecting at No. 3, need a quarterback just as much as the Browns, but look to be happy paying Mike Glennon $15 million a year, so they will likely pass on a quarterback as well.
Once the Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 4) and Tennessee Titans (No. 5) get on the clock things could get interesting as neither team needs a quarterback, which could open up the possibility for the Browns to be active at a far cheaper price.
If there is one thing about the Browns, however, it is that they seem to have an endless capacity to surprise people (generally not in a good way). So while it seems more likely that they will let the draft come to them, when it comes to quarterbacks anything is possible.