Hue Jackson apparently wanted Browns to draft Deshaun Watson in 2017
By Randy Gurzi
2017 was the year the Cleveland Browns were loaded with draft picks. They wound up with three selections in the first round, two of which are still central pieces on their roster.
At No. 1 overall, they took Myles Garrett from Texas A&M and David Njoku from Miami was their choice at No. 29. Before Njoku, they also brought in Jabrill Peppers, a safety from Michigan.
However, the Browns might have had an even better haul if Hue Jackson got his way. Jackson, who was entering his second season as Cleveland's head coach, had his eyes on Deshaun Watson with the No. 12 pick.
This was according to Watson, who recently said on a Twitter Spaces that Jackson told him to "be ready" that morning.
Browns wound up trading away the pick
Cleveland ended up not selecting Watson but instead traded that pick to the Houston Texans — the same team that dumped Brock Osweiler on them that same offseason. Later, they did add their own signal-caller, taking Deshone Kizer in the second round.
Of course, Kizer wound up lasting just one season before being released.
As for the picks Cleveland got in exchange for Watson, they brought in Peppers and then received the No. 4 pick in 2018. That was used to land Denzel Ward.
So while it's of some solace to know they didn't draft a bust with either pick, it's interesting to think about how different things could be if Watson joined the Browns in 2017.
Perhaps that would have been a disaster considering the issues that were going on behind the scenes with Hue Jackson. Or maybe the team would be in great shape since they wouldn't have traded three picks in order to land Watson last year.
It's a fun what-if, but in the end, Watson landed in Cleveland and it feels as though he has a much better roster and coaching staff now than he would have back then.