We make the #1 pick for the Cleveland Browns
I know that “mock drafts” are more common here, but I’m no Adam Schefter. I’m no Jay Glazer. I don’t have any special insight into what’s going on inside the locker rooms or in the front offices across the league. Rather than speculate on that, this series will indicate the player that I would draft at each spot.
Let’s start with the Cleveland Browns. In my mind, there are only two viable options here.
(A) DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
A few weeks ago, I considered where Garrett may rank among the best edge rushers of the century, which should give you an indication of how transcendent of a talent he could be.
The fit in Cleveland makes a world of sense as well. New coordinator Gregg Williams is coming over and transforming Ray Horton‘s classic 3-4 into an attacking 4-3. To make a move like that, you need to revamp your front seven. To make that move and thrive in a 4-3, you need some elite d-line talent. Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah would be a promising pair of bookends, both with size and pass-rushing juice.
In my mind, defensive end/edge rusher is the second most important position in the NFL. To get a superior talent at a position of importance and a position of need is a godsend. We can almost take this one to the bank right now.
Almost. But let’s not sign off on this yet without our due diligence.
(B) Your favorite QB (Deshaun Watson, Mitchell Trubisky, DeShone Kizer)
Although Myles Garrett is the #1 ranked prospect at a premium position (my #2 most important position), there’s a position of even more importance. Quarterback. And let’s not kid ourselves here: quarterbacks matter a disproportionate amount.
Take this scenario to illustrate: let’s say you’re the Houston Texans right now. You have Jadeveon Clowney, a physical freak, and rising Pro Bowler. He’s an impact player at an important position.
But how many QBs would the Texans trade Clowney for? You can make the argument that there’s at least 10 to 15. Would the Texans trade Clowney for Kirk Cousins? I think so. Would they trade him for Andy Dalton? Joe Flacco? I would suggest “yes” to all of those as well. Now, you may not love Clowney, but you could also argue that even a healthy J.J. Watt (a Defensive Player of the Year) would be dealt for about 5-10 QBs as well.
So the question isn’t so much “Is Myles Garrett a better prospect than these quarterbacks?” as much as “Will any of these quarterbacks be above-average starters?” If they are, that trumps anything else.
Of course, this is a hard QB class to make that determination in, especially when we’re not in the room with these guys and gauging their football IQ and ability to retain information.
On paper right now, I’d lean toward Deshaun Watson among them. He has flaws, but he’s a proven commodity. While Mitchell Trubisky was struggling to win a starting job at UNC, the Clemson coaches couldn’t keep Watson off the field, turning to him as a true freshman and never looking back. While DeShone Kizer was struggling to win games at Notre Dame, Watson was leading the Tigers to the national championship game — twice — and beating one of the best college defenses of the last decade.
But even I (a Watson defender) would acknowledge that he needs a proper system around him to thrive. Hue Jackson may be a good coach to develop him, but the rest of the Cleveland roster right now looks iffy. Throwing Watson into the fire may highlight his flaws.
Unlike most people, I don’t think it’s crazy for the Cleveland Browns to consider a QB (even if that’s likely Trubisky.) If they believe one of these QBs is going to be a good starter, it’s justified.
Personally, I couldn’t pull the trigger on that. I’d lean Watson’s way among QBs, but I can’t claim that I’m sold on him right now. Taking Watson would make me nervous. It’d keep me up at night.
If I’m drafting #1 and I have a bevy of other picks to play around with, I don’t want that kind of insomnia. I don’t want to roll the dice. I want the guy who (I believe) is going to be the sure Pro Bowler.
The pick is in. After all of that babbling, it’s who you expected at all: Myles Garrett. Hopefully the other picks coming up will be more dramatic.