To say the Cleveland Browns are approaching the 2018 Draft with an impatient fanbase is an understatement. You’ll have that after one win in two seasons, but not all is hopeless. Bringing in John Dorsey and the bevy of front office talent joining him was absolutely the right move. Was keeping Hue Jackson? Ask me in December.
This is the biggest question of the draft. Browns’ fans know all to well what happens if Dorsey can’t find a long term starter at one. Here is a quick look at my thoughts on this class of prospects for the Browns.
1. Sam Darnold: Best leader of the class with room to grow. Darnold has learned quickly in his short time as a quarterback and he will be more than ready to take the reigns later in the season when the Browns are inevitably eliminated from the playoffs.
2. Josh Rosen: Best passer and most intelligent, which I hear is a negative for some reason. I like Darnold more because of his mobility and Allen’s concussion history.
3. Josh Allen: There is no denying his physical traits, but consistency and accuracy are glaring weaknesses. Hue Jackson failed to solve these problems with Kizer making me skeptical he can solve them with Allen.
4. Lamar Jackson: I have no idea what kind of pro Jackson will be. He is familiar with pro-style concepts after playing under Bobby Petrino at Louisville, but whatever team takes him will have to adapt their offense around his talents. Size will also be an issue as I worry about Jackson holding up to NFL hits longterm.
5. Baker Mayfield: Good arm and appears to throw with anticipation, but his size is a glaring problem. As with Jackson I have doubts Mayfield can hold up longterm. I also have serious doubts about his maturity and ability to lead a team. Mayfield will also need his team to adapt their offense to his skill set.
If I’m the Browns sitting at first overall I’m taking Darnold. If the Browns take Rosen instead I’ll have no complaints. I think Allen is too big a risk for this team at one, but I’d trust Dorsey’s judgement if that’s the pick. I have no interest in taking Jackon or Mayfield at one. If that’s the move you can read my complaints in a future article.
What to do at 4?
I am against trading back from four especially if Bradley Chubb is still on the board. After quarterback, Dorsey ranks pass rusher and left tackle as the most important positions. The idea of a pass rush with Chubb, Myles Garrett and Emanuel Ogbah would have Gregg Williams salivating.
If Chubb is off the board I would take Minkah Fitzpatrick or Denzel Ward and continue adding to a secondary that a season ago applied for the rank of worst positional group I’ve ever seen.
For those wanting to trade down I ask this: Has nearly two decades of accumulating extra picks by trading down turned the Browns around? I rest my case.
What to do next?
The Browns finally spent some of the enormous amount of cap space they have this offseason, but the roster is still full of holes and lacking depth. Staying put with their two second rounders and taking the best available is a good way to address both of those problems. I would also have no issue with the Browns trading up into the first round for a third first day selection.
Wherever they select the most glaring need is left tackle, but unfortunately it is not a good draft for tackles. Taking one of the many talented running backs is certainly an option on the second and third days. I also have no issue with Cleveland taking a second quarterback somewhere in rounds four through seven.
What will a good draft look like?
I struggle to see how Cleveland can screw this up given their picks and glaring needs across the roster. Of course we have all said some version of that the past 18 years and here we are, again. I have faith Dorsey will find talent in this draft, but I have doubts Hue Jackson can develop that talent, especially at quarterback. I haven’t seen Hue the QB whisperer and if he doesn’t show up this year we never will.
Do I have faith in Hue Jackson to come through?
Ask me in December.