For more than a month, it seemed like Myles Garrett was a lock to go first overall. At the NFL Combine, he performed like an athletic freak, and then improved on those numbers at his pro day.
Everything was lining up for him to be the unquestioned No. 1 pick, but things may be changing. Multiple reports surfaced on Wednesday suggesting the Cleveland Browns are torn on what to do with the top pick. No, this is not a joke. The Browns are actually considering passing on a blue-chip defensive end in favor of, wait for it, a quarterback.
This isn’t the first time the Browns have been linked to a player besides Garrett, either. Earlier this week, it was reported that Leonard Fournette was in consideration for the top overall pick. A running back, in today’s NFL, with the first pick in the draft.
If we’re being honest, nothing should come as a surprise when discussing the Browns. They haven’t nailed a first-round pick since, oh, Joe Thomas. Joe Haden wasn’t bad, but his game has gone by the wayside the past two years.
It shouldn’t make you do a double-take when you read that they’re considering anyone besides Garrett with the first pick in the draft. It’s the Browns, we’re talking about.
However, if Cleveland were to actually pass on Garrett for Mitchell Trubisky, it would likely go down as one of the worst selections in NFL history. It’s not about how bad Trubisky is – he could turn out to be a nice quarterback. It’s about Garrett being head-and-shoulders above every other player in this class.
He’s essentially been the top prospect in the draft since the 2016 season started. A lack of production, largely due to nagging injuries, didn’t hurt his stock, which just goes to show how NFL teams view him. Almost nothing could knock Garrett from the pedestal of being the top player in the class, but the Browns are seemingly trying to find a way to make that happen.
Yes, quarterbacks are more valuable than defensive ends in the NFL. No one is going to argue that, nor will they say the Browns are in a good spot at quarterback. But that’s completely beside the point. Garrett is a player who can completely change a defense the way Von Miller has, the way DeMarcus Ware did, the way J.J. Watt always will.
With the way the Browns are heading defensively, too, he fits perfectly. They already have Emmanuel Ogbah at one defensive end spot with Carl Nassib for depth, and adding Garrett will only make that defensive line infinitely better. He’ll draw double teams, opening up opportunities for Ogbah and Danny Shelton on the interior.
At the same time, he’ll eat up blocks on the edge against the run, freeing up Jamie Collins and Christian Kirksey on the second level.
You’re not going to find a player of his caliber at No. 12, which is Cleveland’s second pick in the first round. Heck, you may not find a player with as much potential as Garrett in the next five drafts.
Will there be a Mitchell Trubisky at 12 this year? Absolutely. They can find three quarterbacks with a similar ceiling. He’s the Andy Dalton of quarterback prospects – a guy you can win with, but he isn’t someone who will change your franchise for the next decade.
A player like that may not even be worth the 12th overall pick, let alone the first. Yet, that’s the player Cleveland would be drafting if it passed on Garrett for Trubisky. It would be a colossal mistake, and would simply continue the Browns’ streak of whiffing on draft picks.
By taking Garrett, the Browns will buck the trend that’s made them the laughingstock of the NFL Draft. No one is projecting Garrett to be a bust as a pro with many calling him the safest pick in years. For a team that’s drafted anything but safe players, what could be better?
The Browns have to take Garrett first overall and simply hope one of their top quarterback targets falls to 12. None of this year’s signal callers are worthy of the first overall pick, which is unfortunate for the Browns. But taking a chance on someone like Trubisky or Deshaun Watson is far less risky at 12 than it is at No. 1.
Worst-case scenario, the Browns wait until 2018 to take a quarterback in a loaded class. After all, they’re not going anywhere this season, so what’s another year with Cody Kessler under center?