With the 2018 NFL Draft just under a month away, talks about what the Cleveland Browns will do with their top pick has begun to heat up. The Browns have held a top two pick in the NFL draft for the past two years and have been searching for a franchise quarterback for nearly the last two decades. The Browns whiffed on players that appear to be future superstars. Just last year, they passed on arguably the most exciting player of last season, Deshaun Watson. In 2016, the team would trade the second pick to the Philadelphia Eagles, who then selected Carson Wentz. I like to think we all know how that turned out. With two of the top four picks, in this year’s draft, this could be the year they finally get it right.
The Browns acquired former Buffalo Bills quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, but the status of him overstaying the last year of his contract with the team as a starter is up in the air. Because Taylor is entering this upcoming season completing 62.6% of his passes while boasting a 3.13 touchdown/interception ratio and a 92.5 rating, over the past three seasons, makes the selection of their first two picks intriguing. I’m a firm believer that Taylor could experience multiple years putting up solid numbers in Cleveland. They just have to give him a chance.
Taking the best player first sounds like a no-brainer, right? Former Penn State stud running back, Saquon Barkley, has been hailed as the top prospect of this year’s draft class. Barkley would be an immediate impact player and would help share some of the load that would be put on Taylor’s shoulders. Barkley runs with a combination of speed and power and has the hands similar to a guy with the name of David Johnson, in Arizona. Barkley posted jaw-dropping numbers at the NFL Scouting Combine, where he ran a 4.4 40-yard dash and bench pressed 225 pounds, 28 times. The problem is that the quarterback position is the most important position in all of sports and Cleveland needs a consistent starter.
Last season, the Browns as a team ranked in the bottom four for passing touchdowns (15) and were dead last in interceptions (28). Every quarterback that saw the field threw more interceptions than touchdowns. That’s bad, like really bad. This year’s draft class features four quarterbacks that will likely go in the first half of the first round. Of the four, Sam Darnold out of USC has been labeled as the guy Cleveland will take with the first overall pick. Sources from around the NFL have said that Darnold had a spectacular pro day, throwing darts in the rain. If the decision to go with him at number one is true, they would be getting the most NFL ready quarterback of the draft. However, if they choose to let him sit, he can learn a bit from Taylor this season, then he can take command of the huddle next year.
Many people expect Darnold to be the first player taken and the newest quarterback added to the Browns roster. Maybe this is a smokescreen, and they’re trying to cause chaos for some teams? Maybe they go with Barkley at number one and take one of the other quarterbacks at the number four spot? As much as I’d like to say I know what they’ll do with these picks, I don’t. They have a lot of options, and I don’t think anybody truly knows what direction they’re going to go until we hear the first player’s name called.