Cleveland Browns: Staff predictions for the first round
Tom Moore (Picks Patrick Mahomes):
Once the Browns have secured Garrett is when things start to get interesting.
Cleveland has done its homework and explored the various scenarios and packages needed to trade up from No. 12 if there is a quarterback that they want. Or they can sit back and watch as the draft unfolds and wait for their desired pick to come their way at No. 12.
No matter what happens, expect the Browns to take a quarterback with the second of their two first-round picks. Who will it be?
Our heart says Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, who proved repeatedly they he knows how to get the job done when it matters the most. Our head says to stay far away from North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and his 13 career starts, a red flag that fans want to ignore because he is the “hometown hero.”
Instead, let’s roll the dice with Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
With Garrett already on board, the Browns have ensured that the first round is a success, giving them the freedom to take a shot on a quarterback.
Let Mahomes incubate for a year with head coach Hue Jackson and quarterbacks coach David Lee, and then in 2018 it will be time to unleash hell on the NFL.
Damon Kecman (Picks Deshaun Watson after trading up to No. 6 overall):
Surprise! Surprise! The Cleveland Browns trade up in the draft with the New York Jets to secure their quarterback of the future and the quarterback they have had on the very top of their board all along. I haven’t been buying all the smoke that all the beat writers and draft analysts have been blowing about how the Browns are interested in every quarterback not named Deshaun Watson.
The quarterback issue is always a tough one, but if there’s anyone who can lead a franchise out of the depths of darkness, it’s Watson. Watson’s confidence, football IQ, pedigree and poise in big moments are all the intangibles you look for in a franchise quarterback.
DeShone Kizer is inconsistent, Patrick Mahomes is too wild like Johnny and Mitch Trubisky hasn’t seen the field enough to develop his game. Deshaun Watson is far and ahead the best and most NFL-ready quarterback in this class, so don’t be surprised when you watch this happen later tonight.
Kirk Binder (Picks Jonathan Allen):
This pick depends on who is available. Each year a prospect seems to slide, the question is who will it be this season? I’m of the opinion that Jonathan Allen will be that payer. If this is the case the Browns should be all over him. He would fit perfectly on the d-line as a 3-technique tackle beside Danny Shelton.
Shoulder issues aside, he was a dominant player for one of the best defenses in the nation last year. He is also versatile, which would be a plus for Gregg Williams. He could line up in every sub-package and not have to come off the field. A defensive line with ends like Garret and Emmanuel Ogbah, nose tackle Shelton and a 3-tech in Allen would be dominant for years to come and allow the Browns to really attack.
This would only help the beleaguered secondary, which the Browns will focus on as well in the draft. Any QB in the NFL has trouble when the pocket is collapsing and he does not have time to go through his progressions. Opposing QBs have had that luxury while playing Cleveland for too long and it needs to be fixed.
Matt Stevenson (Picks O.J. Howard):
In my mock draft I have Howard slotted to be taken with the No. 12 pick. The Browns would like to add another defensive player with this pick but picks 2-11 are defense-heavy and with Trubisky and Fournette potentially off the board the Alabama tight end becomes the next best player. He will instantly become a threat for opposing defenses and adds a great weapon for whoever the QB is in Cleveland.
This also allows Corey Coleman to stick on the outside and develop into the star receiver the team hopes he can become. Hue Jackson proved in Cincinnati how valuable he can make a good tight end with Tyler Eifert, and he won’t hesitate to do it again with Howard in Cleveland.
Joel Cade (Picks Mitchell Trubisky after a trade into the top 5):
The Mitchell Trubisky rumors are real. Why should they not be? He is the best quarterback in the draft. He is a hometown boy who wants to play for the Browns. All of this adds up to a great ticket sales campaign for seasons to come. Jimmy Haslam is off in a room somewhere devising all kinds of marketing schemes and public relations events selling Trubisky as the hometown savior of the Browns.
Picking Trubisky will make the Browns relevant again in a town boasting the Cavaliers and Indians. Plus, Haslam did tell everyone that the new regime was going to fix the quarterback problem. At this point he has yet to deliver and the media brings it up at every press conference. Haslam would “make a splash” by instructing Sashi’s Browns to take the hometown kid to play quarterback.
You can’t have your cake and eat it too. But maybe the Browns can. It all comes down to timing. If the Browns take Trubisky over Garrett first overall, not only will Browns fans be upset but Trubisky would forever be linked to Garrett leaving a dark cloud over his career. The Browns need to get Garrett first, then trade up for Trubisky. A business man like Haslam would call this a “win-win scenario”.
Joshua Dentler (Picks Mitchell Trubisky):
This is a tough one. Obviously quarterback is a glaring need but any Browns fan can attest that taking one in the first round is a terrifying prospect. Bust after bust at the position has whittled down any faith the good people of Cleveland have. Yet here we are again and hope is in the air.
Mitch just might be the man. With a combination of good QB size and unusual quickness, he is a unique talent. Being able to throw from the pocket makes a guy good but the ability to scramble when necessary can make him great. Much like with Garrett, it is important to remember that this is only a kid. He will need time to settle in and develop.
Rumors swirl about the interest of Trubisky before the No. 12 pick but if he is still there when the Browns go on the clock, they have to take him. The potential is there.
Shane Carter (Picks O.J. Howard):
I know the name “O.J.” may not be popular in the world of football but this kid is a very special talent at the tight end position. He’s got the size you’d want (6-foot-6, 250 pounds) but has speeds that compare to many receivers, and already has NFL level blocking skills.
This may not be the most pressing position of need but with Mitch, Deshaun, and possibly even Pat being gone, O.J. will be too valuable to pass up.
Andrew Seibt (Picks O.J. Howard):
My favorite player in the draft this year. I am a HUGE fan of creating mismatches and exploiting them. Looking at TE’s in the NFL, there are only a few true difference making tight ends. Gronk, Jimmy Graham, Travis Kelce, Greg Olson; all guys that opposing defenses rarely have the ability to cover.
OJ Howard has the ability to not only be a mismatch for secondaries, but he is the best blocking TE in his class. That alone is something that most TE’s in today’s NFL can’t do.
Lining up Howard outside a tackle gives the offense some camouflage against defenses in whether they think it will be a run or a pass. I’ve even heard that you can line him up outside the tackle run to his side and he will seal off blockers. That is a huge advantage to a Browns team that not only needs help protecting the QB, but also providing the running back with open running lanes.
The more I think about this pick and what talent is left at this point in most mock drafts, the more I believe the Browns will be taking a non-quarterback here.
Steven Kubitza (Picks Mitchell Trubisky):
Bring the hometown kid home.
Taking Myles Garrett with the No. 1 overall pick makes the No. 12 pick essentially a bonus. The Browns are able to take a chance on a quarterback, which they may not do if they only had one first-round pick.
Next: Final Browns 6-round mock draft
Trubisky can come in and take a year to sit on the sidelines and learn the NFL game. The main criticism against him is a lack of experience, but there is no need for him to play right away. The Browns need to draft him and remain patient, letting him learn behind Kessler and Osweiler.