With one of the weakest quarterback classes in years, the Cleveland Browns may have the best available guy in Baker Mayfield on Thursday night.
With the 2022 NFL draft just hours away, the Cleveland Browns will have a slower night after giving up their first-round pick to the Houston Texans in exchange for Deshaun Watson. Not only did they give up their 2022 first-rounder, but they also gave up five additional picks including two more first-round picks.
After multiple years of seeing at least one, and typically two or three quarterbacks going in the top-10 of the draft, many are predicting that you might not see a quarterback come off the board until pick 16 or even as late as pick 20.
The need for quarterbacks hasn’t gone away, but this draft class has proven to be less than stellar at the position. Some experts argue there isn’t a single quarterback in the draft that deserves the first-round grade but given supply/demand, I think it’s highly unlikely we don’t see at least one picked on Thursday night.
I think it’s safe to say teams like the Texans, Giants, Panthers, Falcons, Seahawks, and Commanders are all interested in upgrading at the position, but time will only tell if they are willing to take an early pick to get their pick of the litter.
Does that give the Browns some leverage on dealing Baker Mayfield who remains on the roster?
Don’t take this the wrong way, there is no way that the Browns are getting a first-round pick in return for Mayfield, but you could argue he’s the best quarterback available on Thursday night.
Mallik Willis (Liberty), Kenny Pickett (Pittsburgh), and Matt Corral (Ole Miss) all have some strengths, but they also have plenty of weaknesses. And with a loaded 2023 class at quarterback, you may see teams willing to wait a year at the position, or at least not waste a first-round pick with so many other talents in the class.
Again, the Browns will be lucky to get a late-round pick for Mayfield, but they may have a little bit of leverage on Thursday night to get a deal done so a team feels better about the position heading into 2022.