In one of the wilder lead-ups to a draft in many years, the Browns have been connected to several players with their No. 1 overall pick. The quarterback-desperate franchise is almost certain to announce its expected Tyrod Taylor successor tonight, but the buildup to that moment has been a process featuring many twists and turns.
Having bypassed Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson the past two years, the Browns have now been linked to three quarterbacks at No. 1. The latest could be one of the most unique first-overall picks in memory.
The Browns are now strongly connected to Baker Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy winner and a player who did not appear in the top half of the first round of Todd McShay’s first offseason mock draft. But John Dorsey brought on former Redskins GM Scot McCloughan as a consultant before the draft, and the longtime scouting guru has been an outspoken proponent of the polarizing Oklahoma-developed quarterback. The news the Browns will take Mayfield at No. 1 emerged this week, and that rumor is rapidly gaining steam.
However, the Browns’ previous debate was believed to be a two-horse race between Sam Darnold and Josh Allen. Dorsey has a history of selecting big-armed passers or being affiliated with organizations which have done so, most recently pulling the trigger on Patrick Mahomes in his final draft as Chiefs GM. Viewed as a high-ceiling, low-floor prospect, Allen would represent that kind of bold choice. A report earlier this week indicated Cleveland was down to the Wyoming prodigy or the fast-rising Mayfield.
Darnold has gone from a player viewed as arguably the best combination of production and upside to one that may fall out of the top two and be there for the Jets at No. 3. The Jets scheduled a Darnold visit once they began to sense the USC product falling to them was a legitimate possibility.
The Browns have also been linked to Saquon Barkley at No. 1. While Barkley is viewed as the top running back and possibly the No. 1 overall player in this prospect pool, it’s hard to believe the Browns would again bypass their chance at landing a possible franchise quarterback.
They have not been closely tied to Josh Rosen during this pre-draft stretch, and the latest on a trade-down occurrence is that line of thinking could transpire with the Browns’ No. 4 pick rather than their No. 1 choice.
So, which passer will be bound for northeast Ohio? Is the Mayfield surge legitimate or a massive smokescreen operation? Does Allen’s upside, the unearthing of several tweets from his high school days notwithstanding, warrant this kind of an investment? Or should the Browns take the player they’ve been most connected to in Darnold with the top pick? How about a trade-down scenario? Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section!
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