By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8
As usual, the sports talk is all about the NFL Draft here in Cleveland. The biggest question mark on this team is the quarterback and has been for quite a few years. With picks 1 and 4 in the first round, fans are banking on the team being able to finally settle this issue and get the franchise quarterback they’ve been calling for since, frankly, 1999.
I’ve seen Mock Drafts from the experts with no less than six different QBs being taken first overall. The reality of the situation is that it’s not simply a matter of what skills and attributes these college QBs bring to the table. It’s also incredibly important to look at the make-up of the team, the positions of need, and how all of these things are addressed during free agency.
So, with that in mind, my mock draft is simply the two first-round picks based on which Free Agent QB the Browns are able to sign.
Kirk Cousins – admittedly a long shot, he’s the ONLY free agent that means the Browns don’t take a QB in the first round.
A.J. McCarron – since winning his grievance against the Bengals, A.J. got a nice check for back-pay and his designation became Unrestricted Free Agent. What does that mean? No need to trade away picks to get him, they just need to woo him into signing. To me, the biggest key to that is guaranteeing him the starting quarterback job. No exceptions. No drafting his replacement at #1 and having someone breathing down his neck all year. He just wants his chance to play and that seems a bigger factor than money, location, etc., on his decision.
- Saquon Barkley
- Josh Allen
Case Keenum – his skills looked pretty good in Minnesota this season but most folks are wary of what he would do in Cleveland.
Nick Foles – maybe even a longer long-shot than Cousins due to Wentz’s injury/rehab schedule. The Eagles probably need to keep the team together.
Drew Brees – he doesn’t have many seasons left and unless the Browns focus more on the running game, which was so effective for Brees last season, he’s a one-year rental at best.
- Sam Darnold
- Minkah Fitzpatrick
Injured Reserve QBs:
Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford have spent more time in rehab than on the field. Browns have spent too many seasons playing the backup quarterback due to injuries. They really can’t afford to take a chance on either of these guys. If they do, their draftee may need to start before Week 3 gets here.
- Josh Rosen
- Minkah Fitzpatrick
Whatever way the Browns decide to go in free agency, and regardless of what you think of my choices, the reality is that their picks will definitely depend on that first domino falling into place. Once they make the move and get someone signed, the REAL mocking can begin… so to speak…
Talk Browns with Kate on Twitter // @ClvlndK8