Deciphering the Cleveland Browns’ Draft Plans is No Easy Feat

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They call the weeks leading up to the NFL Draft “silly season” for a reason. If you need proof of this, just try and keep up with all the concrete, hand-to-God rumors we’ve been hearing when it comes to the Cleveland Browns‘ plans for the first overall pick.

Over the past few months, we’ve heard numerous pundits claim they know who the Browns are taking. I, like many others, am guilty of taking this bait and running with it. I’ve already made a few panic reactions to the latest name being attached to Cleveland.

However, the idea of anyone outside the Browns’ team facility knowing for a fact what the team will do with the first overall pick is difficult to believe, no matter how often we hear about it. When you take a harder look at all the predictions we’ve come across this offseason, all it proves is how difficult it is figure out what Cleveland is actually going to do.

Lately, we’re being told the player the Browns are likely to take at No. 1 is Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen. This isn’t merely a case of multiple mock drafts making this call. Reporters are literally saying they’ve been told from people around the league Allen is going to be the pick.

Naturally, this elicited quite a reaction from Browns fans, many of whom aren’t interested in the team taking the biggest project first overall (yes, I’m included in this group). However, this isn’t the first player everyone was certain Cleveland had set its sights on.

Back in January, Browns fans spent the entire week of the Senior Bowl being told about GM John Dorsey‘s infatuation with Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield. He, of course, helped stoke those flames by spending said week raving about the Sooner star. At that point, the assumption was Baker or bust.

These days, any mocks which tab Mayfield as Cleveland’s top pick are few and far between. Despite all the Senior Bowl hype, very few think he’ll end up with the Browns.

After Mayfield came the hype for USC quarterback Sam Darnold. Thanks to an impressive and rain-soaked pro day, the former Trojan’s stock skyrocketed, with many assuming he was a sure thing at No.1.

Until this week. Now, so many are claiming Allen is headed to Cleveland you’d assume the team has already printed his jersey.

What’s happened since the Senior Bowl? Sure, we’ve had the combine, various pro days and individual meetings. However, are these events so significant they’d cause the entire narrative to change this significantly this many times? And so significant that those who keep changing said narrative do so in such a matter-of-fact manner?

Mind you, I’m reiterating all this both to reassure myself the idea of drafting Allen isn’t set in stone, but also to highlight how often these reports change. Everyone seems to be getting hooked by the latest rumor, seemingly ignoring the breakneck speed at which the story is shifting.

It’s also difficult to buy the idea of the Browns already knowing for a fact who they’ll be taking first overall, and being so set that people within the front office are openly leaking this info out to the media.

In fact, while many are seeing the Allen rumors as gospel truth, all they’re really doing further clouding the situation.

Are the Browns really set on taking Allen? Are they lying? Are they trying to convince another team which loves Allen to trade up? Are they just sending the media on a wild goose chase out of pure boredom?

Honestly, nobody knows the answers to any of these questions. Of course, it won’t stop people – myself included – from reading too much into the pre-draft rumors. Remember, last year we spent the hours before the draft hearing Cleveland was going to take quarterback Mitch Trubisky first overall.

Bottom line — nobody truly knows exactly what the Browns will do with the top pick. All we’re seeing is guesses, some a little more educated than others. Odds are strong we’re all going to find out the answer at the same time, when Cleveland announces its pick on draft night.

Casey Drottar is an independent sports writer. Subscribe to his podcast, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook


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