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Thanatos

If you were the GM of the Cleveland Browns

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How would you handle this upcoming draft? Do you grab a QB with the #1 pick, as seems to be the consensus?

Let me throw a curveball at you fine folks and see if maybe there's an alternative to stop this factory of sadness merry-go-round.

 

We have the #1, #4, #33, #35, #64, and #65 picks to work with here. Six picks in the top 65.

 

Therefore, here is my alternative to once again pinning the hopes of a franchise on a young signal caller and praying it works out. I have two different scenarios and I am dead serious with both of them.

 

Scenario A: Don't flip the coin at all.

 

Trade the lowest pick the Eagles will take for Nick Foles. I'm betting it takes at least the #35 overall, we'll give them the #33 overall in this scenario. He'd be a one year contract, not too expensive, that you could try to generate some excitement with, (we got the Super Bowl MVP!). He'd be a decent backup if it turns out he's not a year long starter to whomever takes over the reigns at QB eventually. With the #1 overall pick, you take Saquon Barkley, who by all accounts is the next Adrian Peterson. You do this because our target at #4 is Minkah Fitzpatrick. There is a good chance Fitzpatrick is there at #4 overall. There is almost zero chance Barkley would be, given the Giants and Colts glaring needs at the position.

 

With your remaining picks, (35, 64, and 65), you can choose to try a Kizer-esque roll of the dice on Lamar Jackson, should he be there at #35 overall, or you can simply shore up weapons on both sides of the ball by getting the best player available to help out Nick Foles. Some O-linemen, WRs, and CBs would be nice. (I do not know if Madden is accurate here, but it claimed I only had 1 CB under contract for the 2018 season when I started my Browns franchise there, if it is accurate, CB becomes a dire need.)

 

Scenario B: Flip the coin twice.

 

This would completely fly in the face of all conventional wisdom in the history of NFL scouting. Take the QB you are most enamored with with the #1 overall pick... and take the runner up with the #4 overall pick.

 

The Eagles destroying of this storyline notwithstanding, general rule of thumb in the NFL, you won't be a consistent winner without a great starting QB. Why not go to the well twice? The Browns have a consistent history of drafting the wrong person, let's make it twice as hard to draft the wrong person by drafting two of them.

 

Then you send them both into training camp and let the best man win. Maybe you try to move the dude who loses the QB battle after two years. Maybe you use him as a great backup for not as much money as you'd normally have to pay a great backup. (Maybe not, unsure how much the #4 pick would command vs a great backup QB.)

 

Then you get them both weapons and fix the O-line and CB positions with your remaining picks.

 

What say you, TGP?

Edited by Thanatos

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If you're the Browns, you know you're drafting a bust no matter who you pick at QB, so you just don't pick one. Josh Rosen is the best QB in this class, but he's not going to play for you no matter what you do, so if I'm the Browns I try to make an Eli Manning esque trade happen. Make a move with the team who drafts Darnold, or Josh Allen, and acquire even more talent and picks along the way. Use the 4th pick on Minkah Fitzpatrick, then use the rest of the draft to fill out your roster. Since they have the capital, they can aggressively trade up if they want guys who are stumbling a little bit.

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The Browns actually have an offensive line. They need play makers on offense though for sure. I would try to trade for LeVeon Bell. Obviously the number 1 overall is off the table. I would re-sign Josh Gordon. I'd also try to sign somebody like Brice Butler or John Brown. Then first overall I would take Rosen. From there on I would use the rest of the picks I had after the Bell trade and the Rosen pick to continue to stock pile offensive linemen and defensive players.

 

I think adding a player like LeVeon Bell would let Rosen know that the Browns were serious and I think it would just change the whole mentality of the team.

 

 

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Why trade for Bell when you have Saquon Barkley sitting there? Just curious.

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I don't like the idea of going for a QB twice in one round and here's why. You're investing heavy capital in two guys that will have to battle for one job. What confidence is a QB going to have in their value to a team if you immediately make them scrap for the job? There is little trust from the coaching staff in that situation. We saw how badly Kizer struggled when the staff turned against him. Using two top 5 picks in a situation where one of them is almost guaranteed to fail because you didn't believe in them.

 

Here's two scenarios I'd play through if I'm the Browns. I'm using the Fanspeak On the Clock simulator to run the first one, then First Pick where I can run trades on the second one.

 

 

Option A: QB at #1, BPA through next several picks, safe QB pick in R3 or R4. (RG3 and Kirk approach)

 

#1: Sam Darnold - QB - USC

 

I'm mixed on this one. Rosen hasn't flat out said he won't play for the Browns, but it seems to me that he has no desire to be a part of the franchise. Darnold, Allen, and Mayfield are on the table here. Allen is immediately out for me because of his inconsistencies and decision-making skills. He's not on par with Baker or Darnold. The thing that makes this difficult here is the character. I love Baker but he has some questions surrounding that arrest and running from the cops. Darnold is completely clean off the field. Baker also is going to worry people with his height. I think Darnold is a little safer even with his problems.

 

#4: Minkah Fitzpatrick - S - Alabama

 

Minkah is the best defensive back in this class according to pretty much everyone, and I would agree with it. He can wear any hat you want him to on the defense, although I think his best fit is at safety. He's shown the ability to work as a nickel or even a linebacker. Safe pick that fills a need. If Bradley Chubb is on the board here (he is in this sim) I'd have to weigh my options. I like Nassib/Ogbah across from Garrett enough to stick to Minkah.

 

#33: Derrius Guice - RB - LSU

 

By the grace of god (Fanspeak sucking ass) Guice is available at #33. He's arguably a better runner than Barkley in terms of vision, and has better power. He's not the same athletic freak but he does fill the role of RB without investing a first round pick in the position. Ronald Jones II fits the bill here too.

 

#35: Jaire Alexander - CB - Louisville

 

Isaiah Oliver (and Roquan Smith for some dumb reason) are still on the board in this run, but I'll take Alexander here. Minkah gives me room to roll the dice on a cornerback with better upside than anyone but Josh Jackson in this class. Alexander is an elite athlete who needs to show more confidence in his play, but can run with any receiver out there. The holes in the secondary are pretty much filled with these two selections.

 

#64: Marcell Ateman - WR - Oklahoma State

 

I'm a huge fan of Ateman's game. He's a legitimate potential WR1 at the next level due to his size and hands. He can catch anything that comes his way and has a massive reach advantage over almost any defensive back. He hasn't shown an ability to separate with his feet and may need to be given a lot of 50/50 balls, but it fills a need at WR that Corey Coleman has not been able to deal with.

 

#65: Brian O'Neill - OT - Pittsburgh

 

There were some better options at tackle here on the board that I don't believe will be available in the real draft, so I've gone with O'Neill out of Pitt. He has great length and has the feel of a developmental guy with great length and huge potential. He's still a work in progress, but he could become a future blindside protector for the Browns. Here is where I REALLY start considering taking another QB. Some names on the board in the sim that make sense. Kurt Benkert, Mike White, Kyle Lauletta, and Luke Falk. I think Mason Rudolph could be here as well.

 

#103: Mike White - QB - Western Kentucky

 

I love both White and Benkert here. The sim had both Lauletta and Falk getting taken in R3, so my options are between a guy who is more pro-ready today but has average qualities vs a guy who has great upside but less experience in a pro-style offense. This is the Kirk Cousins to Darnold's RGIII. I think he has the ability to start out of the gate if necessary, but with Darnold having control it may take time for White's status to be figured out here.

 

#125: Cedrick Wilson - WR - Boise State

 

Wilson is a good athlete with the smoothness in his route-running to be a slot weapon for the Browns. He's an immediate upgrade over most of the receivers on the roster and provides a potential starter for them. I considered Texas Tech WR Keke Coutee here, but I haven't seen enough tape on him to be comfortable addressing him.

 

 

 

Trade out of #1 pick, BPA in R1, QB in R2 or R3 (Just doing three rounds here instead of 4)

 

Green Bay has traded #14, #45 and their 2019 1st rounder for the #1 overall pick

 

#4: Saquon Barkley - RB - Penn State

 

I may have my doubts about Barkley (he isn't the next AP) but he's a damn good RB who fills the hole in the backfield for the Browns. Curiously enough, Josh Rosen is still on the board here. I'd love to break from the strategy, but it wouldn't make sense to move from #1 and then try to take Rosen at 4. The "generational" running back it is!

 

#14: Courtland Sutton - WR - SMU

 

Baker and Lamar are on the board here, but I doubt Baker makes it this far in the actual draft. Regardless, I need to still be taking weapons to place around whatever QB ends up getting the starting job. Calvin Ridley makes a lot of sense because of his ability to separate with nuanced route-running, but he's not a "go get it" type of target. I need a go get it target for whatever QB I install to run the offense. Sutton offers that with his long frame and jump ball ability.

 

#33: Lamar Jackson - QB - Louisville

 

Now here is where it gets fun. I'm not sold on Lamar's ability as a traditional QB, but the Browns just need a playmaker who can do something with the football in their hands. Hue Jackson has shown no fear in running his quarterbacks with guys like Kizer and Hogan, so he'll have a field day with Lamar. As much as I'd like to go somewhere else and continue to bolster the team before taking someone like Benkert, White, or Lauletta, Lamar is too good to pass up at #33.

 

#35: Harold Landry - DE/OLB - Boston College

 

I wanted to repeat my pick of Jaire Alexander right here, but his health is too big of a question mark without having proper insurance. I haven't gotten deep into the safeties, but the signs aren't promising. With Isaiah Oliver not on the board here, my options were between some iffy cornerbacks who may not contribute immediately and a ready-made edge bender who can step in day one to generate pressure. He's not big enough to be much of a factor in the run game, but Landry has impressive burst and athleticism. He'd push for snaps immediately against Ogbah, and likely get the majority of work on passing downs.

 

#45: Jaire Alexander - CB - Louisville

 

I wanted to put down Mike Hughes from UCF here for variety at CB, but I haven't seen his tape yet. I've heard he's a project though, and don't feel comfortable with that. Jaire still being on the board and a dire need in the secondary makes this a necessity, even if it's a dangerous pick. A couple other defensive backs were in play here.

 

#64: Derrick Nnadi - DT - Florida State

 

The Browns need somebody to put beside Danny Shelton and Nnadi would step in as the starter immediately. He has good size and a well-rounded game. He isn't the threat as a pass rusher as someone like Maurice Hurst, but is worthy of the second round selection. We continue to plug in defensive holes here while adding quality talent.

 

#65: Justin Reid - S - Stanford

 

I haven't seen Reid yet but I've heard he is valued as a late first or early second rounder with good range and the upside of his brother (Eric Reid). This is filling a need, although I'm unsure if I'd rather have him or some of the other options on the board such as Jordan Whitehead and Jessie Bates III.

 

 

 

I think both routes could see success, as long as you're willing to take a QB that can fight for the starting job with Kizer straight out of the gate. You can't take a late rounder project like Tanner Lee with the hopes of hitting a home run. You need someone at the position that can win you games with the talent around them. If I'm the Browns, I'm doing everything in my power to get Rosen in the building then putting Kurt Benkert or Mike White behind him with a 3rd round pick.

Edited by Chernobyl426

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Why trade for Bell when you have Saquon Barkley sitting there? Just curious.

I think it would just give the Browns life and hope as an organization. He's also already a great player.

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Dont draft a guy that flat out said he doesnt want to play here.

 

Dont draft an RB in round 1 when you already have Crowell and Duke.

 

Maybe spend a little money and get a proven veteran worth his weight in a few places.

Edited by Barracuda

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If your scouts and talent evaluation comes to a consensus that Kirk Cousins or Case Keenum is your guy, then go out and get him. Because I love the idea of having the #1 and #4 overall picks and NOT having to spend either on a QB. Barkley+Fitzpatrick would be fucking nasty.

 

If you don't land a free agent, then you scout the hell out of the quarterbacks and pick the best one first overall. Don't get cute, hope he lasts to the 4th pick, and fuck it up.

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I think that summarized my thoughts perfectly, Stevo. Don't try to sit until #4 for your guy, and make a huge mistake. If there is a QB you consider worth taking you roll the dice and hope you get the right player for the job.

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Statistically speaking trading 1st round picks for 2nd round picks or future picks is almost always more valuable... so I would do that as much as possible unless you really think there is a border line Hall of Famer at the top.

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I like all your takes so far, but I can't agree with yours Favre. I do agree that a boatload of picks is normally worth more, but the Browns are in dire need of a playmaker or three. So at this point, I think you don't worry so much about even more picks.

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Browns have proven they are very terrible at drafting, so they need to keep their high picks to lessen the chance of them missing (again).

 

I take Darnold & Barkley if they are there, as they are most definitely #1 & #2 on my big board.

 

Darnold projects to be much better than Cousins & Keenum. The Browns have an o-line in place. They do have decent running backs already but Barkley is a game changing athlete.

Edited by BJORN

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Browns have proven they are very terrible at drafting, so they need to keep their high picks to lessen the chance of them missing (again).

 

I take Darnold & Barkley if they are there, as they are most definitely #1 & #2 on my big board.

 

Darnold projects to be much better than Cousins & Keenum. The Browns have an o-line in place. They do have decent running backs already but Barkley is a game changing athlete.

 

They have guys like Dorsey, Highsmith, and Wolf in that front office... Their drafts will be fine. lol

 

 

I like all your takes so far, but I can't agree with yours Favre. I do agree that a boatload of picks is normally worth more, but the Browns are in dire need of a playmaker or three. So at this point, I think you don't worry so much about even more picks.

 

This makes it sound like you only get play makers at the top of Round 1. Historically speaking that just isn't accurate. Teams can and do get a lot more value out of bottom ones and twos than they do high picks. On average anyway.

 

And especially with the guys I mentioned about, former Packer front office guys... they have had A LOT of success drafting in Round 2. A lot. Bulking up value there seems ideal to me, although like I said, if they are really sold on a guy at 4 or whatever... Pull the trigger.

Edited by Olenna4Ever

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They have guys like Dorsey, Highsmith, and Wolf in that front office... Their drafts will be fine. lol

 

 

 

This makes it sound like you only get play makers at the top of Round 1. Historically speaking that just isn't accurate. Teams can and do get a lot more value out of bottom ones and twos than they do high picks. On average anyway.

 

And especially with the guys I mentioned about, former Packer front office guys... they have had A LOT of success drafting in Round 2. A lot. Bulking up value there seems ideal to me, although like I said, if they are really sold on a guy at 4 or whatever... Pull the trigger.

It's an interesting thought but the Browns have young players already and a lot of draft picks. I think they should really only be looking to trade back if they really feel like their number 1 guy on their draft board can be had later. If the Browns got Barkley and managed to re-sign Gordon though, they could have two real big ones there and maybe Njoku can benefit from the attention that Gordon will garner.

 

They have a ton of picks. I say you make a run at one or two of the classes elite players. They could wheel and deal the other picks and end up picking 16 times if they want lol.

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It's an interesting thought but the Browns have young players already and a lot of draft picks. I think they should really only be looking to trade back if they really feel like their number 1 guy on their draft board can be had later. If the Browns got Barkley and managed to re-sign Gordon though, they could have two real big ones there and maybe Njoku can benefit from the attention that Gordon will garner.

 

They have a ton of picks. I say you make a run at one or two of the classes elite players. They could wheel and deal the other picks and end up picking 16 times if they want lol.

 

As I mentioned before, if you REALLY believe in those guys, I say go for it. I trust that front office and their scouting. But if if I am Dorsey and I don't hear a fire and passion for a guy.. if there is any doubt... I am not taking that player and I am looking to acquire more capital. There isn't really, in my mind, a time where you say we have too many picks -- because moving them for future years is possible and heck most other teams probably prefer that too.

 

I just really hate putting too much confidence in one guy -- way too much risk. But with the number of picks the Browns have, I do suppose they "feel" less missing on one of those.

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I just thought about this though, if you take those guys and they pan out, eventually they will be getting huge pay days. I mean, you could say the same about 2nd round guys but I think their second contracts are usually cheaper. That's something to consider if you plan on drafting a QB with your first overall pick. You might be onto something with this philosophy to be honest.

 

I think from 4 this move would require multiple trades to get the most value for your pick without the possibility of some crazy multi year multi pick deal. Start throwing 3rd rounders and 4th rounders and honestly, That's what I want the Eagles to do since they're going to have to give Wentz a ton of money. Just keep churning players through the system. We have the coaches.

Edited by seanbrock

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It's easier to have R1 QB succeed rather than a R2 QB succeed because you have an extra year option on the first rounder. Don't have to extend after four years. Makes it cheaper to avoid paying up front.

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I just thought about this though, if you take those guys and they pan out, eventually they will be getting huge pay days. I mean, you could say the same about 2nd round guys but I think their second contracts are usually cheaper. That's something to consider if you plan on drafting a QB with your first overall pick. You might be onto something with this philosophy to be honest.

I've never seen numbers, but I doubt there's any causation between draft position and the size of the second contract. I'm sure there's a correlation but I think that's just based on the fact that players drafted higher turn into great players at a higher rate. I can say anecdotally that Antonio Brown was a sixth round pick and he's currently the highest paid wr based on the average yearly value of his contract.

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Baker Mayfield feels like the realest deal out of the QB bunch and so if they keep this selection, he feels like a no brainer seeing as it just seems that's the position you have to fill if you want to generate points. I know they have tons of needs and that its maybe not the most fool-proof pick, but you've got all those other selections so you have tons of chances to fill your S, CB, WR, OT, LB needs. Also love the scrambling and pocket resilience he has. You're gunna need that in this offense, also why the selection.

 

Then get Minkah Fitzpatrick at 4. It's a passing league and you have to have a somewhat talented safety to survive these days.

 

I'm still in the getting know the prospects phase but I'm sure their two 2nd rounders would get them some decent complimentary players to their first two picks that you build around.

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I think Baker could luck into getting drafted by a good team which could result and Dak-like production. Not saying that either player is bad but I think it can really help initial development. Unfortunately for Dak I think being on Dallas has hurt his long term development because of the teams reliance on Zeke and not giving the offense to Dak like a QB like Wentz has been given the keys. Think about the opportunity that Mayfield...or any rookie QB could have for a team like Arizona or Buffalo.

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It may be an old school way of thinking, but I definitely think that having a great defense is the best help a rookie quarterback can get. It takes the pressure off in so many ways, that you really don't need to depend on them for victory. It also helps in the fact that if they turn the ball over, they can turn around to their defense and say hey, I messed up man can you give me the ball back so I can do better.

 

When you alleviate that pressure, and allow them to make mistakes I think it is the best thing you can do for a rookie quarterback. It teaches them the painful lessons and making a mistake, but it also allows them to have them in tality to go for the kill when they think they can. I know personally when I was watching Joe Flacco, his rookie year is sophomore year, and even his third year he looked like you was going to be an all pro. That being said that was because we had a defense where he could turn it over, and still get a chance to win the football game. That is part of where the Monarch or Joe Cool came from, not to make any comparisons to Joe Montana, but he would make a mistake go back to the bench look at the pictures, look at the film, and let his defense get him the ball back so he could go in the game.

 

I think Baker Mayfield has the skill set to do the same thing, I just worried that somebody like Cleveland would draft him, and try to make him the face of the franchise. They have some good pieces in place, but if I was Cleveland I would definitely draft somebody like Barkley first, and then Shore up a few other positions. Or I would go the route of trading down out of number one, seeing if I could pick up Berkeley, if I could not I would take really, and give him somebody to grow with. While picking up draft capital.

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You all may disagree with this, but here's what I'm doing if I'm Cleveland.

 

I'm calling Dave Gettleman. I'm offering #4, #35, and #119 for the #2 pick. Forget that "jump-start the rebuild" nonsense; this rebuild needs a lightning bolt to the heart. With the 1st pick I'm taking the QB our scouts deem the best. With the 2nd I'm taking Saquon Barkley. And I still have nine more picks, including #33.

 

Cleveland can't pass on Saquon Barkley. He's just too good. But they also can't wait until the 4th pick and watch someone take their QB from them. Get them both, Browns.

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