The Cleveland Browns have the resources and the history to be the most interesting story on the opening day of the 2017 NFL Draft. They hold the first pick in the draft, as well as the 12th, and there are a number of avenues that they could take to move either up or down.
There was a report a week or two ago that there was ‘discord’ within the front office over which direction the organization should take with the first-overall pick, but vice president of football operations Sashi Brown downplayed that narrative recently with reporters while discussing the draft.
“That would be false”, he said of the report, “but I’m not going to comment on every rumor that’s out there. It would take me a lot of time to do it because every day there’s a new rumor”. Considering that head coach Hue Jackson has been repeatedly talking up Myles Garrett, the fact that Brown did so as well could be evidence of that.
He described the pass rusher as a “bright young man, competitive”, saying “we spent a lot of time with him so we learned a lot about what makes him tick, what motivates him, how he spends his downtime, how he spends his time with his teammates, you can learn a lot”.
“I think whatever team gets him, particularly for us, we’d be proud to have him”, Brown concluded. Even if the Browns do end up picking with their first selection, and doing so by taking Garrett, however, which seems to be the most likely scenario, they still have the 12th pick, which is a wildcard for them.
They have shown under this and even in previous regimes that they value draft picks, so they could use that to trade down. They traded down twice in the first round and still picked 15th. They are open to doing so. But they are also open to moving up.
They haven’t been secret about the fact that they are hunting high and low for a quarterback—everybody who knows anything about the NFL is probably aware of this fact—and that hunt could take them higher than the 12th-overall pick.
The Browns have reportedly been in contact with the Jets about potentially moving up to their spot, the sixth in the first round, perhaps with a target in mind: quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. The Titans at five have also been vocal about the fact that they are in business to move back.
Brown talked about Trubisky as well, calling him “a positive young man, bright, very competitive and brings kind of a lunchbox, blue-collar mentality to the position”. He said that the organization as a whole was “impressed by him”.
If the Browns come out of the first round with Myles Garrett taking over one of their outside linebacker positions and Trubisky, who will eventually line up under center, even if it isn’t immediately, that would certainly look good for them on paper. And they have the resources to make it happen.