Currently armed with the No. 4 and 26 overall picks, the Browns are primed to come away from Thursday’s first round of the NFL Draft with two potential difference makers. And, considering the team’s recent offensive woes — 27th in points scored last season — many have already written “quarterback to the Browns in the first round” in permanent ink.
Central Florida’s Blake Bortles, who led the Knights to a 12-1 season behind 25 touchdowns and 3,581 passing yards, has been described by Browns head coach Mike Pettine as an ideal quarterback, writes Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal.
“He has all the measurables,” Pettine said in late March at the NFL owners meetings in late March. “If you look at him, if you said, ‘Draw me an NFL quarterback,’ that’s probably who you’d draw. I think the thing that’s impressive about him is his ability in crunch time in a lot of tight games, a lot of come-from-behind wins, you can see he’s confident, can make all the throws. I think he’s a better athlete than some people give him credit for.”
Ulrich writes that Pettine “made it clear” last week during minicamp that he’d prefer to sit a rookie quarterback behind incumbent starter Brian Hoyer as opposed to throwing the rookie’s feet to the fire immediately. This jived with what ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said on a recent conference call, noting that Bortles needs another year to develop.
If the Browns do end up selecting Bortles with the No. 4 selection, being able to sit him behind Hoyer would be a nice luxury, as well as having Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron to throw to when he does get handed the reins. As touched on by PFR’s David Kipke in this enlightening piece on the Browns’ quarterback draft options, next week could prove to be a watershed event in the team’s history.
More draft notes from Cleveland Browns camp…
- Responding to a question as to whether the Browns could grab Sammy Watkins at No. 4 and then possibly trade up from No. 26 for Teddy Bridgewater, Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer said she just doesn’t know if the team likes him enough to make the move. She does think it’s likely the team selects a QB with its second first-round pick if they do go with Watkins with the fourth selection.
- Asked who the Browns are legitimately considering at No. 4, Cabot gave three names: Watkins, Buffalo edge rusher Khalil Mack and Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson.
- Cabot said she’d go with Fresno State’s Derek Carr if she were GM of the Browns and had to select a quarterback with the No. 4 pick.
- Joe DeLamielleure, a 2003 Hall of Fame enshrinee who played five season on the Browns offensive line in the ’80s, said he would take Watkins and Johnny Manziel, via Bill Landis of cleveland.com.