When they traded up in the first round last year to snag Johnny Manziel, the Browns probably anticipated being able to use their two 2015 first-round picks on non-quarterbacks. However, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Cleveland has “real interest” in the possibility of trading up to draft Oregon signal-caller Marcus Mariota.
The Browns currently hold the 12th and 19th overall picks in this year’s draft, but according to Florio, it’s not clear if those selections alone would be enough to move high enough to land Mariota. As a point of reference, when the Bills moved up from No. 9 to No. 4 last year to nab Sammy Watkins, the Browns secured a fourth-rounder from Buffalo in addition to a pair of first-round picks.
Recent chatter has suggested that Mariota is a good bet to be drafted second overall, either by the Titans or by a team trading up to land him. If Cleveland has to move up that high, I think it would require more than just the 12th and 19th overall selections. It’s also worth considering that this year’s draft class is considered to have about nine or 10 top-tier players, with a drop-off coming after that. So teams in the top 10 may not be inclined to move too far down.
We’re still three weeks away from draft night, so a deal is unlikely to happen anytime soon, but it sounds like it’s worth keeping an eye on the Browns as a potential trade partner for teams in the top 10. Cleveland has already reportedly offered a first-round pick to both the Rams and the Eagles in exchange for quarterback Sam Bradford, suggesting the team may not be satisfied to head into the 2015 season with Josh McCown and Manziel atop its depth chart.