For some NFL teams, the NFL Draft offers a great opportunity to turn a franchise around. This year, the biggest potential benefactor is the Cleveland Browns. After a winless season, the team owns two top-four picks. How they chose to spend them is one of many questions worth asking before the clock starts Thursday night.
Will the Browns ‘Browns’ it up?
From a fan perspective, let’s hope not. It is just bad to see a team go a full year without a win, but Cleveland’s struggles go much further back than that.
This year presents a golden opportunity for the franchise to turn it around. The early offseason moves bring some hope as Tyrod Taylor, Jarvis Landry and Carlos Hyde come in.
With the first pick, it will most likely be a quarterback. If the Browns take Wyoming’s Josh Allen, it will feel like more of the same. Allen could be a great quarterback in the league, but he could also go down the road of many other Cleveland quarterback picks.
By the eye test, USC quarterback Sam Darnold looks the part of a No. 1 pick. Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield may be a bit of a wildcard for the first pick, but his on-field performance negates some of his off-field issues.
Then given at least one, if not both, New York teams take a quarterback, North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb and/or Penn State running back Saquon Barkley will be available at No. 4. Cleveland would be crazy not to take whichever one is still available. Then again, it is the Browns, so crazier things have happened.
Will Saquon Barkley fall?
If he does, it will not be of his own accord. As is the crazy nature of the need at quarterback, the best player of the draft could drop out of the top five or even top 10.
By all means, Barkley could be taken off the board by the Giants as the second pick. This would make sense.
But should the Giants pass, where Barkley goes is anyone’s guess. The Jets are looking quarterback at No. 3, as are the Broncos at No. 5. Cleveland could be Cleveland and not take Barkley. The Colts have issues elsewhere as do the Buccaneers at No. 6 and No. 7. The Bears and 49ers are next, and both should feel good about their running back situations.
Surely, the Raiders or Dolphins should look at Barkley falling into their laps as a gift and take him.
What to do with Lamar Jackson?
Starting off from square one, Lamar Jackson isn’t a wide receiver. He will be a quarterback moving forward.
That makes his situation even more intriguing. Jackson is a true dual-threat quarterback, and those lately haven’t translated their true skills due to the physical nature of the NFL.
Then again, dual-threats still can show their skills in the NFL, see Cam Newton and Russell Wilson.
Which brings up Buffalo. After getting rid of Tyrod Taylor and bringing in A.J. McCarron, the quarterback situation isn’t great in upstate New York. With picks No. 12 and 22, Buffalo could make moves.
Jackson and Taylor share similar styles, and Jackson could be a nice fit if taken.
When will the first FCS player be taken?
Dallas Goedert looks like the highest rated FCS prospect this season. One of the best tight ends in the draft, having his name called at the end of the first round or early in the second round seems likely.
Jacksonville doesn’t have much depth at the position, and at No. 29, could be a potential landing spot.
New England at No. 31 run lots of two tight end sets. With Rob Gronkowski’s future up in the air, Goedert may be the heir to Gronk’s spot.
Turning to the second round, Denver needs help at tight end, as does Dallas.