Cleveland Browns: Quarterback Not a Must in First Round

Cleveland Browns: Quarterback Not a Must in First Round

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AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 17: Defensive lineman Myles Garrett #15 of the Texas A&M Aggies celebrates after sacking quarterback Sean White of the Auburn Tigers during an NCAA college football game on September 17, 2016 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)

Every Cleveland Brown fan will let out feelings of frustration and anger if the Browns don’t leave the night of April 27th with their franchise guy.

But let me reiterate something to you Browns fans: History has not been on our side with selecting quarterbacks in the first round in recent memory, in specific, the cursed 22nd pick.

2014. It was all aboard the Johnny Football hype train. Where’d that train take us?

Two years in the league, eight starts, two wins and a whole lot of partying.

Oh, not to mention a fired Mike Pettine sitting on the coach somewhere saying out loud, “I told you, Jimmy Haslam. I told you.”

2012. We have Mike Holmgren to thank for this one. (you should have just hung it up when Shawn Alexander did)

Holmgren thought a 28-year-old was the answer.  Experience and wisdom right?

No.

A two-year stint, 25 starts, but hey, he did win six games. Brandon, you were better off with playing baseball my friend rather than being the backup for… Tom Savage. Tom who?

Do you see where I’m headed with this?

When the Browns get on the clock for No.1 and No. 12 this year, the decision is clear: If your guy isn’t there, DON’T FORCE IT.

The No. 1 pick isn’t in much doubt. When all said and done, they should be calling Myles Garrett’s name, the premier pass rusher in this year’s draft.

Well, ESPN’s Adam Schefter through in a major curveball. (sigh)

If this were to happen, well, Garrett won’t take being runner-up too kindly.

“For the next 10 to 12 years. I’ll knock your QB out of the game every time we play you, and I’ll have to kick the hell out of No. 1, whoever it is,” Garrett said.

An NFL Executive texted Cleveland.com writer Mary Kay Cabot after Garrett’s comments and said, “Great players don’t talk. They just do.”

Well, on a team that won just a single game a year ago, I’ll take a guy who can do and who has a little edge and fire to him.

So in a normal, perfect world (fingers crossed), the Browns take Garrett at 1 and are done with it.  Check off a playmaker on defense who is going to wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks.

The real intrigue for the Browns will start at No. 12: Will North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky or Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, the consensus top two quarterbacks in this year’s draft class, be available and be the dreaded answer at the most undesirable position in the NFL.

Well not to Trubisky, at least. The Mentor, Ohio native has made it clear that he would love to come home and play for the Browns.

“If he could choose an NFL team to play for, it would be the Cleveland Browns,” Trubisky said. “I try not to look too far down the road, but if that opportunity comes I think it would be a dream come true to go back home and play for the hometown team. Honestly, it would really be a blessing to play anywhere in the NFL and have that opportunity to play at the highest level.”

While the story is great in all, is he really the answer?

If the Browns select any quarterback, he would be my choice. But is 13 starts enough to warrant a selection?

The physical tools are there, but the experience is not.

So then what about Deshaun Watson, coming off if one of the greatest National Championship performances in the last decade, leading his team to the game-winning drive on the best defense in college football, Alabama.

The clutch gene is there, but is the decision-making? Many critics cite his high interception rate as a major concern. Will Hue Jackson fall in love with his crunch time ability?

Watson’s quarterback coach at Clemson, Brandon Streeter, thinks his guy will have no problem playing on Sunday’s.

“His mind is just unbelievable,” Streeter said. “Understanding the big picture, Deshaun understands offensive football. He’s a very smart kid, he graduated in three years so he’s just a bright, bright kid and I know he’s going to excel in the NFL, just like he did in high school, just like he did in college. He’s going to go to the NFL and do the same thing.

Time well tell if Watson can tear up the league like his coaching staff says he will.

Let’s just say for now though, the Browns don’t believe that either of these guys is the cornerstone of their franchise, so let me give a couple of alternatives to what the Browns could do with pick No. 12:

Corey Davis, WR, WMU:

In his latest NFL.com draft, Daniel Jerimiah had the Browns selecting the Mid-American Conference product at No. 12, and I really like it.

Jerimiah made it clear what Davis would do for the Browns receiving core.

“Davis and Corey Coleman would be a terrific pair of pass-catchers for the Browns,” Jerimiah said.

Davis, at 6’3, has the size to be a nice red zone target for whoever his under for the Browns come week one. And, as Jerimiah said, he would be the perfect fit to go along with the speedster Coleman, making for quite the intriguing duo that could be a force in the AFC North for years to come.

Yes, I understand that he played in the MAC, but getting to see him first hand at the MAC Championship game in Detriot, I saw that game-breaking speed that some scouts say that he lacks.

So there’s option A.

O.J. Howard, TE, ALA:

Not a bad option B at all considering you would be drafting a guy who was coached by Nick Saban, you could do worse.

Todd McShay has the 6’6 tight end headed to the Browns in his latest mock draft, and I would not be opposed to having a big-bodied freight train running the middle-of-the-field scaring opposing safeties.

NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks is also high on Howard, calling him “the most complete tight end prospect in the past 10 years.”

Brooks also got this quote from an AFC head coach at the Senior Bowl:

“He’s special. He has the tools to be a dominant player from the first time that he steps into the building. He’s big, fast and athletic. He can catch the pill, and he’s learned how to block. I love the kid!”

Another weapon in the offense will only help when the Browns finally land their guy.

Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU:

There have been rumbles that Fournette is an option at No. 1 for the Browns, but I can see the smoke from a mile away.

But at No. 12? I can get behind that for a lot of reasons.

Kevin Zeitler: 5 years, 60 million.

J.C. Tretter:  3 years, 27 million.

Plus Joe Thomas,  a new contract extension for Joel Bitonio and Cam Irving.

I wonder what the offensive identity will be for the Browns this year?

Plug in Fournette, who shed off concerns of his weight at the combine,  a 6’0, 229-pound bruising back and the Browns would be a force on the ground.

Analyst Nolan Nawrocki wrote very highly of Fournette in his draft guides.

“Fournette is a generational talent in the same category as all-time greats such as Bo Jackson, Herschel Walker and Jim Brown exiting college,”  Nawrrocki said. “He’s better than Ezekiel Elliott. Dudes like this only come around once in 20 years.”

Fournette most likely won’t be there at No. 12, but you can let a man dream of the scenario.

Just please Browns, if you decide to trade out of No. 12, anything but pick 22, and I mean anything.

 

For more draft coverage on the Cleveland Browns, follow Thomas on his twitter page: @Tommygarv17