The Cleveland Browns are equipped with some heavy ammunition going into the 2018 NFL Draft. Not only do they have the No. 1 and No. 4 overall picks, they have three second-round picks, a third, two fourths, two fifths, a sixth, and a seventh.
With that, there are plenty of rumors going around as to what the Browns will do with their breadth of picks. Some sound better than others, and we’re here to not just list them all out, but also rank them.
Let’s take a look, as the Browns try to avoid another 2012 disaster.
1. John Dorsey isn’t telling anybody about what he wants to do until the night before the draft
On Bleacher Report’s Simms & Lefkoe, Simms and SI’s Peter King say that Browns general manager John Dorsey is keeping his intentions for the top overall pick a secret, even from owner Jimmy Haslam:
Browns GM John Dorsey is keeping his intentions for the #1 pick a secret from everyone, including Owner Jimmy Haslam, until the night before the NFL Draft.— Simms & Lefkoe (@SimmsAndLefkoe) April 19, 2018
According to Simms and @SI_PeterKing pic.twitter.com/Q2tVG93xG4
Sure, keeping the plan away just hours before the draft in what could be the most crucial pick in franchise history is fine. Totally fine. It’s not like the Browns have a history of sorrow in the draft or anything.
But when you think about it, maybe that’s not the worst idea.
2. Baker Mayfield will be the No. 1 overall pick
Despite Dorsey trying to keep quiet, ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the belief is the Browns will take Mayfield with the top pick:
Browns continue to keep the decision on their No. 1 pick a secret, but there is a mounting belief from HCs and GMs around the league that Cleveland will take Baker Mayfield.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 26, 2018
This doesn’t make it a lock, but it wouldn’t be surprising.
3. John Dorsey’s known who he was going to take for “about six weeks.”
Hours before the draft, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen dropped this nugget:
According to @mortreport on ESPN just now, John Dorsey’s known who he was going to take for “about six weeks.”— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) April 26, 2018
Dorsey told Haslams “about a month ago.”
“Finally told his head coach Hue Jackson two days ago.”
4. The Browns could draft two quarterbacks
Well, this would be interesting. The Ringer’s Kevin Clark published a piece April 19 saying the Browns organization isn’t counting out drafting two quarterbacks:
This draft season, particularly over the last six weeks, I have asked multiple members of the Cleveland Browns organization—which owns picks no. 1 and 4, in addition to three second-rounders—what I thought was a very stupid question: Have you considered ignoring all norms and drafting two quarterbacks high in the draft? The answer is yes. The people I asked have thought about it, discussed it, and investigated it.
Mike Mayock mentioned the next day that he believes the Browns will take Sam Darnold with the No. 1 overall pick.
The Browns have struck out on quarterbacks every year since coming back to the NFL in 1999. Since 2010, they’ve missed with Colt McCoy, Brandon Weeden, Johnny Manziel, Cody Kessler, and DeShone Kizer — all of whom were drafted no later than the third round.
It might have worked for Washington when it drafted Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins in the same year, but the Browns have a prime opportunity to fill other holes with so many early picks. And they also have Tyrod Taylor, who will likely start for them next season (and probably be one of their best quarterbacks in the past two decades). So if they went with one quarterback instead of two, he could be groomed into the quarterback they’ll need in the future.
Besides, if the Browns miss on not one, but two quarterbacks in this draft, they’ll never hear the end of it.
5. Saquon Barkley’s representation, Roc Nation, wants nothing to do with the Browns
In a Sports Illustrated profile on Saquon Barkley, Ben Baskin wrote that Roc Nation doesn’t want him in Cleveland:
“His Roc Nation handlers, however, don’t want him to be taken No. 1. They don’t want him in Cleveland. They want him to go second to the Giants and play in the media capital of the world. That’s where you can become the Face of the League. His manager even implored him to pull an Eli Manning and demand that the Browns not draft him.
“Barkley never considered the option. Sure, he likes the idea of being back in the city of his birth — even playing for the Jets, the team he grew up rooting for. And of course he’s heard countless people tell him that if he ends up in Cleveland, his career will be ruined.’’
Barkley’s agent Kim Miale told Cleveland.com in a text message that the report was false. “As Saquon’s I can say on behalf of our entire team that we would be thrilled for Saquon to go to whichever team drafts him,” she said. “We know he will be a resounding success for any team fortunate enough to select him.”
It hasn’t seemed to deter Dorsey:
Though most people believe the #Browns are zeroed in on a QB, GM John Dorsey says “why wouldn’t I” be when asked if he’s still considering Saquon Barkley at No. 1.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 19, 2018
In SB Nation’s mock draft database, Barkley has often been mocked to the Browns at No. 4 overall, and to the Giants at No. 2. In Dan Kadar’s latest mock draft for SB Nation, he goes seventh overall to the Buccaneers. So if this one were true, Barkley might be in good shape.
6. Size matters ... for the Browns
The hand size of quarterbacks in the NFL Draft has always been something that’s blown out of proportion. Despite this, it’s something the Browns are taking into serious consideration for their quarterback:
#Browns Dorsey cited hand size as a key criteria for a QB playing in Cleveland— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) April 19, 2018
Of all the quarterbacks the Browns are reportedly considering, Josh Allen’s are the biggest at 10 1/8”, with Josh Rosen in second with 9 7/8”. Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield take third and fourth respectively with 9 3/8” and 9 1/4”. Take those measurements and draw your own conclusions.
7. Four quarterbacks are still in the mix
And the Browns haven’t made a decision, according to Hue Jackson:
Hue Jackson says all 4 "top" QBs are still in the mix, front office using every moment to its advantage: "We have not settled on that yet ... John Dorsey and his group, they don't come up for air."— Andrew Gribble (@Andrew_Gribble) April 17, 2018
Dorsey and his group should really come up for air though. They have decisions to make.
8. Peter King says “it’s not Josh Allen” for the Browns
The first Browns rumor of draft week comes from the MMQB’s Peter King, who says that Josh Allen will not be the Browns’ pick at No. 1 overall:
“We’re all prisoners of the people we know in this league. And someone I trust, who is very often right and is very well-connected, told me Sunday it’s not Allen [for the Browns].”
King has the Browns going with Darnold No. 1 overall, and taking Bradley Chubb at No. 4.
9. The Browns are choosing between Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen
Dan Patrick on @dpshow citing a source who told him #Browns are choosing between Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen for No. 1 pick echoing what @DustinFox37 has said. Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold off the board.— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) April 23, 2018
10. Baker Mayfield is still getting consideration at No. 1
ESPN’s Adam Schefter threw some more wood on the Baker Mayfield fire Tuesday morning with this tweet:
Just to add a bit more murkiness to top of draft: one NFL executive said this morning that Baker Mayfield is “definitely” in Cleveland’s conversation to become the No. 1 overall pick.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 24, 2018
He added, “The source said the Browns may have already decided whom they would select at No. 1. But before that final decision, whenever it was made, Mayfield was in that conversation.”