ARLINGTON- The Cleveland Browns have the first overall pick after suffering the stigma of an 0-16 season. The offseason moves the Browns made were impressive adding Tyrod Taylor, Jarvis Landry, DeMariuos Randall, and Carlos Hyde. The Browns have a golden opportunity to add much-needed depth at football’s most important position: USC quarterback Sam Darnold. Cleveland could instead pick the best overall player, North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb. UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen could go first overall.
Many NFL fans will likely say Darnold is the obvious choice. The Browns almost always whiff on getting the right quarterback which is the main reason for the team’s payoff drought and lack of any Super Bowl appearances.
Why draft a quarterback after trading for Taylor? A team doesn’t’ typically draft a quarterback first overall after trading for a starter. What message would the Browns send Taylor after selecting Darnold with the first overall pick? Is this basically saying that the Browns aren’t sure if Taylor can generate wins? Do the Browns simply want to be established at the most important position?
Browns fans may fear Taylor’s reaction but the Browns obviously think highly of him. They traded for Taylor and announced him as the regular season starter. the fact that Darnold performed on his pro day despite rainy conditions proves that inclement weather doesn’t bother him. Cleveland is known for its brutal winter weather.
Perhaps the era of the Browns attempting to outsmart the other 31 teams will come to an end this time. Darnold should be ready to have his name called first.
Although selecting Darnold has advantages, picking Chubb might be a logical choice. He is the best overall player. Chubb will fit in nicely with Greg Williams’ 4-3 defense. Another point to considered is the Browns would be able to select two defensive juggernauts by selecting Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick with the fourth overall pick. If the Browns draft Chubb and Fitzpatrick, it would bolster the pass defense and start a culture change.
What about Rosen? His ball placement is on the money. HIs footwork is excellent and so is his ability to shift gears when passing. He knows when to throw with velocity and when to throw touch passes. Does he want to play for the Browns? Perhaps Rosen will eventually welcome the idea. He would throw to Jarvis Landry and Josh Gordon which should be appealing to every quarterback in the draft.
The options are not just limited to Chubb, Darnold, and Rosen. Another popular choice is Penn State running back Saqoun Barkley. Although the Browns signed Hyde, he averaged only 3.9 yards per carry last season. Will Barkley avoid being greedy by dancing around in the backfield? He is excellent athleticism and vision. He just needs to attack defenses aggressively.
Why take a running back first overall? The Jacksonville Jaguars took Leonard Fournette fourth overall and that immediately bolstered their offense. The Browns can likely wait and pick Barkley with their fourth overall pick.