Draft Expert has Cleveland Browns taking quarterback in Round 1

Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder as thrown for 3,000 yards and 27 TDs this season.Syndication The Enquirer
Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder as thrown for 3,000 yards and 27 TDs this season.Syndication The Enquirer /

A member of The Draft Network has completed a mock draft for the Cleveland Browns, and has them going for a replacement under center in Round 1

Drae Harris, a former defensive back for the California Golden Bears, is now a draft expert who works for the well-respected site — The Draft Network. While he looks at all 32 teams in the NFL, Harris took some time out to cover the Cleveland Browns, and had a surprising selection for them in his latest seven-round mock.

Harris, who made some strong value picks, went heavy at linebacker as they took Henry To’o To’o at No. 80 and Chad Muma at No. 103. He also landed John Metchie III, a strong receiving prospect from Alabama at pick No. 49.

However, it was the first selection Harris made that raised eyebrows. That’s because he took Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ritter at No. 18 overall.

This one is surprising because such a selection would mean the team is completely giving up on Baker Mayfield, the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Mayfield has had his ups and downs since entering the league, and this season has been one of the most frustrating for him and the team. However, putting all of that on the quarterback seems unfair.

He’s not only been dealing with some serious injury issues but the offense around him has been a problem as well. Sure, there are strong weapons at running back and the offensive line has two Pro Bowl guards, but the wide receivers have been flat-out putrid and the tackles have been injured and ineffective all year.

Cleveland’s front office surely knows this which would make it less than likely they would use their first pick on Ridder — or any quarterback for that matter. Instead, it would make more sense that they let Mayfield play out the fifth year on his rookie contract while adding weapons at wideout (with their top pick and possibly a free agent or two).

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Having said that, the additions at linebacker as well as Zion Nelson to shore up the offensive line would be solid moves.