Cleveland Browns: What if they didn’t go QB in Round 1?
By Randy Gurzi
So much talk has been about what quarterback the Cleveland Browns will take with one of their first round picks, but what if they waited until Round 2?
Conventional wisdom says the Cleveland Browns have to go with a quarterback with the first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. They can do that and still get a premium player with the No. 4 pick that they also own.
However, after trading for Tyrod Taylor from the Buffalo Bills, is it a foregone conclusion they have to draft a signal caller?
Maybe instead they wait, and let a second-round player sit and watch Taylor for more than a season — which is how long they would possibly let a Sam Darnold (USC quarterback) or Josh Allen (via Wyoming) sit.
Related Story: Tyrod Taylor more than a bridge?
Taylor has proven to be a formidable starter in the NFL and even took a Buffalo Bills offense that was void of talent outside running back LeSean McCoy and tight end Charles Clay to the post season.
There’s no reason to think he can’t do the same with Jarvis Landry, Carlos Hyde and Josh Gordon — especially if they were to take someone like Penn State running back Saquon Barkley in the opening round.
More from Browns Draft
- Browns mock draft: Mazi Smith headlines 2023 class
- One and Done: First year Browns players that didn’t earn a second season
- 3 Michigan Wolverines Cleveland Browns could draft
- 3 positions the Cleveland Browns must draft in 2023
- 2023 draft class suits Browns needs at wide receiver
So Browns fans, what if the team decided at No. 1 and No. 4 to go with some combination of Barkley and North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb and find a developmental player in the second.
One great option could be Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, who would surely benefit from watching someone like Taylor. Jackson is a former Heisman winner that has similar attributes to Taylor, but much more speed and play making ability.
During his time with the Cardinals he threw for 9,043 yards with 69 touchdowns to just 27 picks. He added another 4,132 yards on the ground with an unbelievable 50 touchdowns.
Should they prefer a more traditional passer, Luke Falk out of Washington State or even Mason Rudolph of Oklahoma State could work out — although they wouldn’t have the same ceiling as Jackson — should they be given some time to work on their skills.
Still, Jackson seems like the best fit and Cleveland could possibly get him with the No. 33 overall pick. Anyone who has seen him play knows he has the skill to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, and targeting him isn’t enough of a talent-drop off to say getting Chubb and Barkley wasn’t worth it.
Of course any choice beyond quarterback at No. 1 wouldn’t be popular in the moment, but why not get the absolute best players?
Next: 3 Free agents Browns can still sign
Barkley and Chubb would make each side of the ball infinitely better and they could win with Taylor as the steadying offensive force while someone — preferably Jackson — waits in the wings to take over as soon as they’re ready.