USA TODAY Sports’ Lorenzo Reyes looks at some of the big questions that will help shape the outcome of the 2017 NFL draft in Philadelphia.
USA TODAY Sports
In the days leading up to the 2017 NFL draft, USA TODAY Sports will take a closer look at the burning questions that will shape the event.
Our latest examines focuses on the the Cleveland Browns. They have the No. 1 and No. 12 picks in the first round. What is the best-case scenario for them?
The draft strategy of the Cleveland Browns has been pretty straightforward: Volume, volume and a little more volume.
The franchise, thanks to multiple trades, has acquired three first-round selections and five second-round picks in the next two drafts.
But now, the franchise has to hit on those selections.
The focus becomes the team’s No. 1 and No. 12 overall slots in the first round of this year’s NFL draft. If the Browns choose wisely, they could have impact starters from and potential franchise cornerstones.
The best-case scenario with the top pick starts and ends with Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett, who is almost universally seen as the best player available. Cleveland’s void at quarterback may seem to be the most significant need, but in terms of squeezing the most value out of the first selection, Garrett is the easy call.
But back to that volume. Judging by Cleveland’s recent history, the door to other teams potentially acquiring the No. 1 overall selection shouldn’t be closed. And if another team phones in an offer that blows them away, the Browns should consider it. But too much volume, at some point, becomes counterproductive. The Browns need players, and perpetually trading down doesn’t solve their problems.
Now, the tricky part: What to do with the No. 12 selection in a year widely considered to be weak in quarterbacks. An intriguing scenario might be to package the pick in a trade for New England Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo.
The problem there, though, is that the price tag to make the move would likely be astronomical.
And because the Browns have so many holes on their roster, they’re probably better off using the pick.
So this depends on what Cleveland thinks about the passers in this draft. If the Browns are convinced either North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky or Clemson’s Deshaun Watson are franchise-caliber quarterbacks, they shouldn’t hesitate and pull the trigger if the one they like is sitting there.
If they favor Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer, Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes, or Cal’s Davis Webb, Cleveland could probably trade down, gather more picks, and still take their preferred passer.
But if Cleveland isn’t convinced on any QB in this class, the best bet is to secure a tight end like Alabama’s O.J. Howard, or a receiver like Clemson’s Mike Williams to give the eventual franchise QB weapons he will need.
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