NFL Draft: Browns’ Jackson, team still undecided on QB for No. 1 pick
CLEVELAND (AP) — As the NFL draft nears, the Cleveland Browns are still doing their homework on quarterbacks.
The final exam is quickly approaching, but the No. 1 pick remains an unknown to everyone, including coach Hue Jackson.
On Tuesday, Jackson dismissed reports that general manager John Dorsey has settled on a quarterback and said the top prospects — Southern California’s Sam Darnold, Wyoming’s Josh Allen, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and UCLA’s Josh Rosen — remain in contention to be selected by the Browns.
“I think they all are (in the mix) today,” he said. “I think we haven’t settled on that yet.”
Coming off a 0-16 season, the Browns, who haven’t been able to adequately fix their quarterback problem for years, are being thorough in their evaluation of what is considered a very strong QB class.
Jackson and Dorsey have attended pro days and private workouts and the team has hosted the top four quarterbacks, along with 2017 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, at its headquarters in Berea, Ohio.
Jackson insists Dorsey hasn’t made up his mind on the top choice.
“When I say this I mean it, John Dorsey and his group, they don’t come up for air,” Jackson said. “This is 24 hours, seven days a week, through the weekend. I’ve worked more on the weekends here than I ever had to be a part of this. That’s what John does. There’s no detail that we’re going to leave unturned. So there’s a lot of time being spent to get this right.”
The Browns’ diligence and secrecy hasn’t slowed a daily assault of mock drafts and guesses as to what the team might do.
Jackson said he blocks out all the noise, and chuckled at a report than Dorsey was favoring Allen.
“Everywhere you turn, that’s what everybody is talking about,” he said. “I’m not concerned about those things because I know what goes on here in the building every day. I talk to John Dorsey three, four, five times a day. I think all kinds of things get said. I mean, I laughed at that. When I say John Dorsey goes dark, he goes dark.
“Whoever thinks they’re finding John Dorsey, trust me, you’re not finding him. So I think there are a lot of things that get said that I know aren’t true. And if there was a consensus that John would’ve come to at this point, he would’ve told me. So I know that’s not the case.”
And while his boss hasn’t made a decision, Jackson, too, remains noncommittal on who Cleveland should select.
“I’m the same way. I’m sifting through my side of it, too,” he said. “Again, this has been good for me to learn even a different way of looking at it. I go back, and myself and (quarterbacks coach) Kenny (Zampese) and (offensive coordinator) Todd (Haley), we’ve had great dialogue and conversation and I think we’re still all going through it, too.
“And there are times they want to pull me in to talk about it and I’ll say, `No. not yet,’ because I want to make sure that I’m sure. I don’t want to be, `It’s this one. Well, no it’s that one. It’s based on this.’ I think you need to really know and feel very comfortable about that decision when we get there.”
Regardless of whom they pick, Jackson said recently acquired quarterback Tyrod Taylor will be his starter.
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