After getting to watch Jim Brown, Austin Carr, and Jim Thome participate in the ceremonial first pitch at Progressive Field for the Indians’ home opener on Tuesday, and watching the Tribe get a walkoff win in extra innings, I expected to come home and take it easy for the night.
Around 10:45 PM, I checked Twitter before officially calling it a night and saw plenty of talk about the Browns at No. 1 overall. “Did La Canfora release another rumor mill?” I thought. My eyes grew a little wider when I saw that the source of speculation this time was Adam Schefter, who along with Jay Glazer is the best in the business.
Schefter’s first tweet said that an NFL executive just told him, “Don’t be surprised if Myles Garrett isn’t the No. 1 pick,” and that the executive was convinced a quarterback was in discussion at No. 1. A few minutes later, he followed that up with this:
Cleveland has not made up its mind at No. 1, per source. Split opinions. Some like Myles Garrett, some like Mitchell Trubisky. We will see.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 12, 2017
Making things even more crazy is this report from Tony Pauline of Draft Analyst this morning:
@Rotoworld_Draft Told Hue Jackson wants Myles Garrett but the front office wants a QB— Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) April 12, 2017
The first thing that popped into my head was that I’m still convinced the Browns intend on having Garrett on their football team, and it’s for much of the reasons that Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead outlined in this article.
It’s also worth remembering that everyone knew the Rams were taking QB Jared Goff last year, but out Los Angeles affiliate reminded us that “the NFL asked the Rams to keep up the lie all the way to the draft last year.” If Garrett is a lock for the Browns this year, the rumor mill will keep churning up until the pick is in.
But let’s say that the Browns are partially the source of the “leak” that a quarterback, specifically Mitchell Trubisky, is in play at No. 1 overall. This team kept secret the fact that they were trading for QB Brock Osweiler right at free agency time. If they wanted something to stay a secret, I think this new regime could make it happen. Therefore, one could say the club has an ulterior motive when it comes to this draft rumor.
1. McIntyre first suggests that perhaps Cleveland is dangling the carrot to see if the 49ers are in love with Trubisky and don’t want to risk losing him. Back in late December, I said that one of the big reasons Cleveland would want No. 1 overall is to possibly leverage a fight between San Francisco and Chicago, who have the No. 2 and No. 3 picks, if they want the same QB. I don’t think that will materialize anymore, but it doesn’t hurt for Cleveland to try. Personally, even if the 49ers promised me on everything that they were going to take Trubisky at No. 1, I wouldn’t risk that they are double-crossing me to actually take Garrett.
2. McIntyre also suggests that Cleveland is trying to be subtle in a play for Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo. This is what I like to think of as “The Long Con,” bringing back memories of an episode of the second season of LOST when Sawyer “explains that a ‘Long Con’ is when you convince someone to ask you a favor like it was their idea” and that in order to pull one off, it requires a lot of startup capital.”
In other words, this is a way of the Browns indirectly telling the NFL, “well, since New England has shut the door on Garoppolo, maybe we’ll have to take our QB in the draft, perhaps even at No. 1 overall.” With the Patriots not having much draft capital this year, maybe there is a glimmer of home that it triggers something in the organization in the coming week or so — “hey, you know what Cleveland, maybe we can work something out after all.” Except now, the Browns can flip the script on New England — “well, now that you are the team coming to us and we’ve kind of fallen for Trubisky, what are you going to do to make it worth our time to pass up on Trubisky?”
Will it work? I doubt it. But if the Browns weren’t attempting it, they wouldn’t be playing every hand just in case.
3. The last option of an ulterior motive? What if they don’t really care for Trubisky at all, but want other teams to believe they do? “If we can’t take him at No. 1, then maybe he’ll fall to us at No. 12.” That could force a team to trade up in front of Cleveland to take Trubisky. But in reality, maybe Cleveland is laughing as the trade pushes a guy like TE O.J. Howard or S Malik Hooker one spot closer to them at No. 12, or a spot in which they could trade up to select them.
If Cleveland were to actually pass up on Garrett, they’d face heavy ridicule to no end. This isn’t about DE vs. QB. If both talents were nearly on the same level, you no doubt take the QB. Garrett is viewed as a can’t-miss defensive stud who nearly everyone in the country has at No. 1, while none of the quarterbacks share that value.