We’re officially six days away from the NFL Draft.
First, thank God. I honestly didn’t think we’d get to this point, as the Cleveland Browns owning two of the first four picks is causing an insane uptick in crazy takes and rumors.
However, we’re in the home stretch. As a result, I figured I’d share what I see as the best-case scenario for Cleveland’s first round, as well as a few worst-case situations. Barring any unforeseen updates, I don’t intend on changing these up before next Thursday.
Best Case Scenario
Drafting Quarterback Sam Darnold First Overall
Darnold is seen by many as the safest pick of the quarterbacks coming into the draft. As a reminder, safe doesn’t mean bad. In this case, safe means Darnold has strong accuracy numbers, can throw a good deep ball, has great pocket awareness, receives endless rave reviews about his leadership and is built to play QB in the NFL.
So, yeah, my ideal situation is the Browns taking the safe pick at No. 1. They have a solid setup to ensure he doesn’t get thrown to the wolves immediately, implying they may finally be able to properly groom a rookie quarterback.
I sincerely hope said quarterback is Darnold.
Drafting Defensive End Bradley Chubb at No. 4
This seems far simpler than many are making it out to be. Chubb is widely regarded as the best non-quarterback in this draft class, with some labeling him as more talented than Cleveland’s most recent top pick, Myles Garrett. Provided the teams with the second and third picks each take a QB, Cleveland selecting the NC State standout next is a no-brainer.
To me, the idea of pairing him with Garrett is too tantalizing to pass up. These two could help make Cleveland’s defensive line a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
Of course, while the above scenario is what I’d label as “the dream,” I’m far more worried about a few of the below situations playing out.
Worst Case Scenarios
Taking Quarterback Josh Allen No. 1
I know, I’ve hardly been subtle about how badly I don’t want this to take place. However, the rumors haven’t quieted as the draft nears.
Despite the constant buzz, I still feel the Wyoming QB has too many red flags to worry about, the biggest of which is his questionable accuracy. He may be built like an NFL quarterback, but I’m far more worried about whether he can complete throws like one.
Of the four biggest names at QB, Allen comes with the most concerns. Simply put, you don’t take the quarterback with the most issues to work through first overall. God willing, the Browns feel this way, too.
Taking Running Back Saquon Barkley at No. 4
To be clear, I’m not saying Barkley would be a bad pick. I’d honestly make peace with this if the Browns ended up calling his name with the fourth pick.
What I am saying, though, is this is a draft loaded with running back talent, with no shortage of options available come the second and third rounds. Additionally, Cleveland already has Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson on the depth chart. While neither possesses the skills of Barkley, they sure do make finding a fair amount of carries for the Penn State back a tricky task.
There are too many holes to fill on the Browns roster. So much so that the idea of taking a running back fourth overall just doesn’t make sense. I’d prefer the team focus on bigger areas of need with this pick.
I’m tired of it. You’re tired of it. Everyone seems burnt out on the idea of the Browns sending a valuable pick to another team in exchange for future assets. To me, doing so with the fourth (or first) pick would just be reopening old wounds.
This new regime came in seemingly promising to end the way former executive Sashi Brown did business on draft day. The idea of going through another year of planning for next year wouldn’t mesh whatsoever with what we’ve been sold since GM John Dorsey arrived in December. As a result, getting a trade alert when Cleveland’s pick comes up could induce some of the loudest groans from the crowd.
Brown’s penchant for trading down is what put the team in the position of having two of the first four picks. Cleveland is finally ready to take advantage of the assets it piled up. Using said assets to collect more for 2019 isn’t the way to do this.
Casey Drottar is an independent sports writer. Subscribe to his podcast, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook