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Cleveland Browns 2017 NFL Draft Preview Roundtable

Our analysts discuss every draft-related topic related to the Cleveland Browns leading up to Thursday.

To help preview the Cleveland Browns' NFL Draft every year, the staff here at Dawgs By Nature puts together a collection of big boards and mock drafts. For the second year in a row, we also present to you a roundtable discussion covering as many draft-related topics as possible within a short period of time.

The participants include myself, Matt Wood, rufio, Josh Finney, Zach Miller, Dan Lalich (notthatnoise), Joe Ginley, and Mike Krupka. I also doubled as the moderator for the majority of the questions, so the tone of most questions are coming from my perspective.

Q (Chris): "After being bad at quarterback for so many years, the Browns finally control their own destiny with the No. 1 overall pick...and yet the consensus seems to be that the team is bypassing on a quarterback in favor of DE Myles Garrett. Is everyone here on board with Garrett at No. 1? And if Garrett was not the pick and the team was not going to trade down, then who would you take at No. 1?"

Zach Miller: “100% on board with Garrett #1. While I genuinely believe QB is the biggest need for this team as it stands today, at the same time, I also believe Garrett is the best prospect in this class - and it's not really close. It's hard to argue against him given all we know about him, even considering the obvious hole at QB.

It makes it even easier when you see that the Browns were one of the worst pass rushing teams (30th in sacks 2016) in the league last year. So, having the #1 player in the class, in a position of obvious need, makes the pick pretty easy for me.

For the second part of the question; if the Browns were not going to trade, and not take Garrett...I'd take Pat Mahomes. Kid has the highest ceiling for a QB in the class, and if they were passing on Garrett, it'd have to be QB for me - and he's QB1 on my board.”

Jon Stinchcomb: “In my mind, it's either Garrett or Trubisky at No. 1. I think a lot of Browns fans would throw up their arms and flip their coffee tables over if any name other than Myles Garrett is not read first Thursday night. I'm not one of them. The quarterback position is just too important that — if the regime truly believes they found a prospect capable of being the QBOTF — you have to be willing to pull the trigger.

With that said, outside of the quarterback position, I'm a firm believer in the BPA (best player available) draft philosophy. So, if the brass have any shadow of a doubt about this year's QB class, they just need to get the best prospect they can. Garrett is that prospect.”

Matt Wood: “The Browns have been without two things since '99. A franchise QB and a big time pass rusher. They have tried (Couch and Courtney Brown) but have been unable. In fact that have taken more pass rushers high (Wimbley, Mingo, Brown, Warren, etc.) than QB's. Browns need both, badly. I am far from sold on Garrett as the top pick of this draft and he isn't at the top of my big board.

I have made no secret aout this, if the Browns like a QB, they better take him. If one of these QB's turn into a stud it will not matter how good Garrett is, it will be a massive failure on the Browns. And them going all Joe Banner and saying years later how much they liked QB X will not be able to save them. The Browns tanked a full season to get the top pick. Use it to get a QB. You can get a pass rusher later.

Regarding who I would take at #1, and I think it would be Deshaun Watson. The only thing people point out is that he threw 49 MPH at the combine. I don't really trust that number. I think he is the safest QB and right now I would settle for safe. But I will be happy with any of the top four guys.”

Chris Pokorny: “I am 100% sold on Myles Garrett as the Browns' No. 1 pick. First, for a good portion of the season last year, I called the Browns' defense "historically bad." While Cleveland were big spenders in free agency this offseason, all of their additions came on the offensive side of the ball.

Second, Garrett has all the physical tools to be a shoe-in as a future All-Pro. He's nearly a consensus No. 1 player not just on the Browns' board, but on every team's board in the NFL. I've said before that the only thing that would conflict with that is if there was a quarterback in this class who everyone pointed at as a clear, top-of-the-line, franchise quarterback. Instead, we have four players who people are debating back-and-forth with no firm grasp of which one will succeed above the rest.

The Browns are in position to land the best defensive prospect in the draft and also land one of those 'flier quarterbacks' because they have the No. 12 and No. 33 overall picks. As far as who I'd select if Garrett was not an option, my top choice would be S Malik Hooker.”

Josh Finney: “I'm with Chris 100% here, and I appreciate him saving me the digital ink of not explaining why Garrett is the #1. He profiles as a more athletic Demarcus Ware, and if he stays healthy, he'll be a no brainer.

If there was a QB the Browns felt strongly about, they could move to #2 and grab him. The reality is that there's too much risk in this QB class; it's not that they're not good, it's that the sample size is limited (Trubs) or there's work to be done and projection to be made about reads, footwork, anticipation, etc. it's the new norm with college offenses; you have to identify who is going to translate. Etc.

I'm concerned that Hue feels like he can work with anyone, given his history. I put Kizer at 12 in my mock because he and Mahomes have the best raw tools in the draft, and I think they're going to be the available players at 12. If the Browns are thinking ‘unconventionally’ they'd be the picks.

All that aside, The only QB the Browns haven't been heavily linked to is Deshaun Watson. The pattern of misdirection they've created is truly impressive, but they're either 100% in on Watson or 100% out, given the coverage.

Only non-QBs I'd be cool with are Jonathan Allen, Solomon Thomas, and Malik Hooker. If those guys are gone and the QB the Browns want is unavailable, I'm looking to trade back; lots of great DB’s available in late first/early second, get an extra one.

Worth noting, before I get flamed for it; I'm not into that pick at all. I just expect the Browns to do what I like the least, so congrats to Mahomes and Kizer fans. Lock it in.”

Dan Lalich: “I'm pretty conflicted on this. I try to separate what I personally think of the quarterbacks from what the team might think. Generally, I tend to lean toward taking a QB first and not taking the risk that he'll be gone before you pick again. If I was in charge, that's probably what I would do this year, even though none of the top guys seem to be slam dunks. If a quarterback is worth taking 12th he's worth taking first.

Having said that, I doubt the front office feels that way. It seems like a foregone conclusion at this point that Garrett is the pick, and that's understandable. The one caveat here is that even though I don't think any of the QBs are elite prospects, the front office might. If they do, then maybe they shock the world and draft him first overall. I wouldn't bet my house on it or anything. If Garrett wasn't in this draft and they wanted to pass on a QB, I think Solomon Thomas is the obvious choice.”

Joe Ginley: “Absolutely sold on Garrett. Not a big game player in college, sure, but he has the physical tools and can be shaped by the Browns' coaching staff. He'll haunt the Browns forever if they don't select him.”

Mike Krupka: “For me it's a ‘Draft Day’ scenario where it's Garrett at #1 no matter what.

The team is certainly privy to many things we're not about Myles and the other prospects, so IF there is something that makes them want to pass on him, my guess is the team does so in favor of their #1 rated QB, whoever that it is. For me, it's Mahomes. Yet having said, I wouldn't take Mahomes or any of the QB's #1 overall because it's just gotta be Garrett.”

rufio: “I'm on board with Garrett at #1. I really, really, really want there to be a QB worth taking over him, but I don't think I see one. I can see Matt's point about having failed with pass rushers before, but I don't think any of them were as good a prospect as Garrett. Maybe Courtney Brown was, I am too young to remember. Mingo and Wimbley certainly weren't. We have tried taking QBs who were as good of a prospect as a Watson or a Trubisky and failed (Manziel, Quinn, Couch...did I black any of them out?). So it isn't like one position works out better for us historically, not to mention there are different people evaluating and developing the players and it is an entirely new era in the NFL.

If we were going to pass on Garrett I think I would take Trubs. I'm also a Mahomes fan, but it seems like his draft stock isn't so high where we would need to take him #2 overall. I think Garrett, Lattimore, Hooker, Thomas and probably Jamal Adams all go before Mahomes, even in the craziest scenario (now that I've said that watch us take Mahomes #1 overall...). Even in a non-crazy scenario I see him being there at 12, if not 33. If we traded down and really wanted to target Mahomes at 12 or beyond, I'd consider those five guys as well as Jonathan Allen assuming their medicals check out. I think that is my top tier of prospects in this draft.”

Q (Chris): "Naturally, I knew that first question would involve a lot of quarterback discussion, so let's dig deeper in to that. Let's act under the assumption that the Browns took Garrett with the No. 1 overall pick, and now the 49ers are on the clock -- so we don't know who San Francisco has picked yet.

1. Do you want the Browns to take a QB with their next pick (and if so, is is limited to any one or two specific quarterbacks)?

2. If you want a QB, are you just patiently waiting until No. 12 to see who is available? Or are you doing everything you can, including sacrificing the No. 33 overall pick and more, to move up for one?”

Dan Lalich: “I absolutely want them to take a QB. I would prefer Trubisky, but I would be fine with any of the ‘big four.’

I personally would just wait until 12, because like I said I don't have a strong preference and I'm sure two or three of those guys will be available at that point. However, if the front office thinks one of those guys is head and shoulders above the rest, I hope they try to move up and make sure they get him. I'm not sure that's something they would actually do though.”

Josh Finney: “I think they should take a QB in the first 33 picks, but I'm resigned to the following outcomes:

  • The Browns like 2-3 guys in the draft; if there's a significantly player at a draft spot, they're going to move around. (Per Sashi’s comments, they'll move up a little for a QB, but they aren't breaking the bank to do it)
  • One of those guys is probably Dobbs. I'd prefer Alek Torgersen in the mid-late rounds, but I'm resigned to Dobbs as a project.
  • If the 2-3 guys the Browns like are gone, they'll probably roll with Kessler and try to acquire a vet backup that isn't Brock.

At least 2 of the big 4 will be available at 12. If there's a specific guy they want that they don't feel will be there at 12, go get yer guy. Both the FO and Hue's jobs will ultimately ride on the ability to get a qb and support him.”

Jon Stinchcomb: “If Garrett's already locked in at No. 1, Sashi and co. should not try to be too clever by attempting to nab a QB for the best value. As mentioned before, if there's a guy they believe in, don't risk anything and just do everything you possibly can to get him. Letting your guy slip away to some other team will haunt you forever, especially if he's tearing the league up. Like Matt said, telling everyone how much you loved these now thriving young QBs with 20-20 hindsight is unacceptable and only makes your regime look even worse.”

Matt Wood: “I had it the way I expect it to go down in my mock. I think 3 QB's will go in the top 6 picks. If the Browns think they can wait around until 12 and get one I think they will be sadly mistaken. Hope I am wrong.

I think San Fran, Chicago, Jets, Bills and Saints all could go QB in front of us. You better be willing to pay a price and don't be surprised if the price includes next years one.”

Josh Finney: “I'll put a beer on that not happening. Quote me on it, whatever.

Also: zero chance is giving up next years one (likely a top 10 pick) unless I'm moving to #2, and even better be sure it's your guy. That's a steep price when you're picking 11 spots later and know you can (again) have your choice of picks.

I imagine if they move, it's with the Jags or Jets, and they're using a few of the 5(!) seconds they have this year and next.”

Matt Wood: “I doubt they make a move either, but San Fran isn't dropping down to 12 without getting another first. It's a main reason why the Browns shouldn't get cute and draft the QB they like the best.”

Mike Krupka: “Yes and it's Mahomes, then Trubisky, Watson and Kizer, in that order.

You can't pass up on Garrett -- you just can't. But if ‘your QB’ is in your top 5 and you know he won't be there at 12, then yes, you go get him. Not sure I give up 33, but I'd consider 52 and then some 2018 assets. Ultimately, if it's my franchise QB, I'm getting the deal done, but I'm also not getting robbed just because I am ‘pick rich.’”

Joe Ginley: “I would prefer if the Browns selected a QB at No. 12. Though if Malik Hooker or Marshon Lattimore fell to No. 12 (highly unlikely) I'd prefer the Browns select one of those two, and trade back into the first round late to grab a QB such as Mahomes if need be. I'd prefer Patrick Mahomes over anyone else, as DeShone Kizer does not seem to fit the Browns' style and Deshaun Watson does not strike my fancy much. I'd prefer to develop Mahomes and let him be a solid, prototypical pocket passer.

I'm patiently waiting until No. 12 because I can't imagine a team selecting Mahomes earlier. I'm not sacrificing that No. 33 overall pick unless I select a defender at No. 12 and need to trade back up to get Mahomes. I'd love to hang onto the No. 33 pick and select a CB like Tre'Davious White or Gareon Conley there, or even Budda Baker if he falls that far. There's so much talent towards the bottom of the 1st round/early 2nd for me to trade away the pick.”

Zach Miller: “I've stated Mahomes is my #1 QB and I don't think he goes top-12. So I'd be fine sitting tight. I believe Mahomes has the highest upside and love his game. I'd be fine with the Browns waiting it out until 12 to see if he's still there. I don't think he goes top-10, but they have the means to go get him (or whoever they like), if need be. If we sit until #33 for a QB I got a feeling we'll end up with freaking Nate Peterman or some shit, no thanks. If it gets to that point, and Mahomes, Watson, Trubs, are all gone at 12, I'd just go BPA and try and get Dobbs in the 2nd or 3rd (or 4th).”

Josh Finney: “Oh god, Zach. First, I thought you went down the darkest road with the ‘trade up for Peterman’ talk, and then you mentioned Dobbs in the second. Let's be cool here man it's too early to be this sad.”

rufio: “I absolutely want a QB at 12, and I want that QB to be Watson, Mahomes, or Trubs. I think one of them at least will be there.

I would move up a little but not a lot. I don't think we will move up from 12 without also moving down somewhere else. The best analytics show that more draft picks give you the best chance for success, and that teams historically freak out and give up better draft capital because their to get "their guy." History shows that everyone is overconfident in their evaluations, overconfident in "their guy." I am sure we all know this, yet here we are freaking out over our guys being gone and not having a QB. Sashi and company don't make moves without winning the trade, sometimes to the extent that it is painful as a fan. So I think we are much more likely to move down from 1 than to move up from 12.”

Chris Pokorny: “I think the Browns have done a good job disguising which quarterback they prefer, or if they even prefer anyone. Last week, I floated a theory out there about the whole 'the Browns are considering Trubisky at No. 1' rumor, and it was the fact that Cleveland doesn't actually want Trubisky. Instead, they could be baiting Arizona to trade up in front of them, which in turn pushes a guy like Malik Hooker, O.J. Howard, or another quarterback of their preference a little further down the board. We've heard Paul DePodesta say that his niche is analyzing how processes work, and what he can do to make them more efficient to gain an edge over other clubs. I wouldn't be surprised if part of his task is to orchestrate some of the chatter we've heard recently -- to throw the scent off of Cleveland's true intention.

I'm an avid reader of Lane Adkins and The OBR. They've got some good stuff in their rumors section, but I'll touch on something that Lane has been publicly reminding people on Twitter of: Hue Jackson still really likes Deshaun Watson. Of the top quarterbacks this year, I feel like we've seen Watson's stock fade a little bit as questions about his arm strength have come up. That might play into Cleveland's hand heavily.

Going back to the original two-part question, though, I would take a quarterback at No. 12 and I really am open to either Trubisky, Watson, or Mahomes, with Trubisky being my preference. With respect to trading up for one, I feel like I have a split personality when answering this question. On one hand, I feel that if a team takes a QB at No. 12 overall, they have confidence that player can be a franchise quarterback. You don't just make that pick on a whim -- it's not like we're in the fifth round and the Browns say, 'eh, I guess we'll grab this QB here to give him a shot.' So in that sense, if the Browns really believe in one particular quarterback to take him at No. 12, and they have the assets to move up, there is no way they should risk another team securing that player instead. And if I circle back to my Myles Garrett pick, then I start wondering, 'If we're so worried about not getting this QB, then why in the hell did we pass up on the chance of getting him at No. 1?'

On the other hand, I still say this team is too depleted defensively to be mortgaging assets in favor of a quarterback who isn't a sure-thing. If I'm trading up, I'd actually prefer that the Browns try to grab Malik Hooker, Solomon Thomas, or O.J. Howard.

Matt Wood: “Welcome to the party Chris, glad to have you on board!”

Chris Pokorny: “(Laughing) Well I can see both points of view, but then me sticking with Garrett speaks to the confidence I have in him that he's a sure-bet to be a franchise-changing defensive player.”

Josh Finney: “I'm not into the idea of trading up from 12 unless it's for a QB. Period. It's an exceptionally deep draft for DBS and TEs, and they're getting an early edge rusher at 1 to go with the edge rusher from last year. Go get the QB you need or take value at the rest of the spots.

Chris, regarding that Watson take you had:”

Q (Chris): “What would your reaction be if the Browns traded up from No. 12 for a player who wasn't a QB? And if they did that, who would you want that player (non-QB) to be, again assuming Garrett was taken at No. 1?”

Mike Krupka:Assuming we get Garrett at 1? Wow. I just don't think they'd do that for any position aside the QB.

You have 4 picks in the first 2 rounds. If you tried to move back up and now your QB is gone, just stay put and get your best rated player at 12. The difference between the talent level in the top 10 even top 20 isn't drastic. So if we did this, for a non QB, I'd be less than enthusiastic and boaderline mad. If you're asking me which non-QB we'd be tempted to move up for? I'll say O.J. Howard.”

Joe Ginley: “If the Browns trade up from No. 12 for a player who's not a QB, I want Malik Hooker. The Browns desperately need secondary help, and Hooker would be a huge get for the Browns.”

rufio: “If we trade up from 12 for a non-QB, I want Hooker assuming his medicals check out or Solomon Thomas. Those are the only guys I see as being able to become generational players. I like Lattimore a lot, but I see a lot of corners in this draft. For the record, I'd be slightly upset we moved up for a non-QB. And by slightly, I mean extremely. Hopefully I'd be wrong.”

Q (Chris): “We're almost done getting the 'big / obvious' questions out of the way. But there's one more thing I feel obligated to touch on before we dive into some more specialized topics, and that is the possibility of the Browns trading for QB Jimmy Garoppolo. I know Adam Schefter has been adamant that it is definitely not happening, but for the sake of discussion, if New England has a change of heart, what is the maximum capital you'd be willing to give up for him? And Matt will love this part -- would you chuck Josh Gordon there way while you're at it?”

Jon Stinchcomb: “Since it was brought up, I would be fine with trading Josh Gordon and a pick for Garoppolo if the front office and coaching staff are as in love with him as the beat suggests. I would go as high as giving up Gordon and No. 12 for Garoppolo. But if they do that, he sure as hell be the truth. Anything less than that, considering the price, would be a disaster. I have been a longtime defender of Gordon throughout all the turmoil. I won't rehash all I've said on the matter over the years now, but I still stand by it. But I think all parties would better off with a trade. But I honestly don't see New England giving up Garoppolo for Gordon and No. 12. I don't think they want to give him up for virtually anything. I think BB believes he's their post-Brady answer.”

Dan Lalich: “I would give up pick 33 and even that would feel like a stretch to me. He was drafted 62nd overall, so I would prefer to see some combination of the 65th pick, which the Browns own, and some lower picks be the compensation. I just don't believe a guy who was drafted at the end of the second round who hasn't really played at the NFL level is worth much more than his original draft slot, especially once you factor in his contract situation.

I would not trade Josh Gordon. He can't have much more than marginal value as a trade asset, so I would rather just keep him and hope for the best.”

rufio: “Woof. A 3rd rounder maybe? No way I am giving up what the Pats want. They do this every few years and it works every time with the fans and media, at least. And I'd bet that it working with fans and media drums up the pressure on teams as well. Does anyone remember Brian Hoyer? Ryan Mallett? Matt Cassel? They were the Next Great Patriots QB™ before Jimmy G. How is that working out? It is easy to look good on that team. Why don't we just make it easy to look good on our team instead of falling for their tricks? Do you know what the Pats have done historically speaking? Spread out their draft day risk over lots of picks, particularly in the 2nd round. Also, they lucked into a 6th round HoF QB and cheated a lot, but I'm not advocating those routes.

I'm with Dan, I don't give up Gordon either, because he probably is worth so little.”

Mike Krupka: “I absolutely despise, hate, and LOATHE this idea, not to mention the Browns' groupies ready to pay any price for him . . .I shutter at everything about the "let's trade multiple high valued assets to the 5 time NFL champion NE Patriots for a back up QB who has only played in a handful of games and is just as good as Kessler can be in 3 years" trade for Jimmy.

I don't want him. But the most I'd stomach and forcibly accept is two 2nd's. *vomits*

And Josh Gordon - yeah, don't do anything with him. He's spoiled, entitled, un-trustworthy, irresponsible, child who has been nothing but supported and empowered since we drafted him. Yet he's done nothing to help the team, the franchise or the city. Unless you get a 2nd round pick for him, let him sit and rot until his contract is up.”

Matt Wood: “I continue to be amazed at the love for Sammich shop. If he was a back-up in New Orleans would anyone care? No one would be talking about sending a first round pick for Chase Daniel. How many times does the NFL need to fall for the banana in the tail-pipe by Belichick before they wise up? The Browns have bought high on Crennel, Mangini, insert every other NE ‘prize’ that has been a big wet fart here in Cleveland (Jamie Collins looking/hoping to be the exception).

Hell, Brock O has proven more in this league and how did that work out for Houston? Stop buying other team's leftovers and do it your damn self for once. I'm not sending a pick for him. New England is the one who is backed into a corner. They either pay this complete unknown a crap load of money or let him walk next off-season. If he is a Free Agent next off-season and the Browns crap the bed this year at QB, then I would be interested. But I'm not buying that now for picks AND a contract.

As for trading Josh? Hell no. He has almost no value in the rest of the NFL, why sell low? It would be reminiscent of when the Raiders sold low on Randy Moss. If he flunks out of the NFL, which is very, very possible, then it should be as a Brown. See it through, the payoff is worth the risk.

And by the way, if New England was so sold on JG as a future savior, why did they draft Brissett last year? For a team that values draft picks I don't buy the notion it was for a long term back-up.

I would be cool with the Browns cheating if it got them more wins. The Pats cheat. The Steelers cheat (Team Doc busted with enough HGH to fill the forehead of James Harrison). We should cheat.”

Josh Finney: “So, much to unpack here.

For starters, id give 12 and a 4th. I'd happily throw in Josh Gordon; be happy to drive him to the airport myself, if that was the deal maker. At this point, Gordon just doesn't have value to the Browns. It's hilarious that we continue to pretend like he does despite being 3 seasons removed from contributing.

Also, assuming that the interest in JG exclusively because he's a pats backup is disingenuous. He was a second round pick, not an UDFA, and has a few good quarters of game tape. I liked him in 2012, and I like him now. His biggest knock was coming from a FCS school, and he's got prototypical size and a quick release. If he was coming out this year, after the ‘success’ Wentz had last year, he'd be a first rounder. No question In my mind.

End of he day, I'm tired of talking about Jimmy because the pendulum has swung so hard in the opposite direction from Bloggers. Folks are so hard up for these draft kids (Mahomes, specifically) and so against the idea of wasting valuable high picks that could be spent otherwise that were no longer objective.

Regarding Brissett, I think they saw a value, and knew they wouldn't be able to keep Brady and Jimmy long term. Guess we'll find out.

Do I think it happens? Nah. I think Bill overplayed his hand demanding a kings ransom, and was so far from reasonable In the preliminary feelers that teams were out quickly. Think all of the ‘we love him!’ Talk is damage control to save trade value for next year, and the fallout when Brady wants to play next year and they lose him in FA for a comp 3rd is going to be delicious schaudenfreude.”

rufio: “Josh, I don't see anyone pretending Gordon has value to the Browns. I see a lot of people pointing out that he has no value to anyone. Including him in any potential deal doesn't likely lower the pick requirement too much, if any. If he has value to someone else, he should have value to us. If somehow he has value to the Pats and no value to us, that value differential should be reflected in the trade and we should get a big return for trading him. Like, we should get Jimmy G for Gordon straight up.

Hoyer had a few good quarters of game tape and a 70% completion year for the Pats. Cassel had a 10-6 season or something like that and over 3500 yards passing. There were excuses as to why he wasn't a good draft prospect too (he was only not a good draft prospect "because he was a backup in college in a super crowded QB room"). Mallett had some really nice college tape in the big bad SEC. The latter two are prototypical QB size. The point is when you take them out of the context of the Patriots, they all sucked. The same goes for Matt Flynn and Green Bay. When was the last time taking the other team's backup worked out? Maybe you can count Drew Brees, but I wouldn't because the Chargers pushed him out and kept the "backup." Every time when an NFL team has an older starting QB and a young guy who is going to be good, they keep the young guy. Steve Young. Aaron Rodgers. Tom Brady. Phillip Rivers. Teams push out the old guy if the young guy is going to be good, even if the old guy is Joe Montana or Brett Favre.”

Josh Finney: “rufio, I get that perspective, re: Gordon. Not into just cutting him, but if I can lessen the picks burden in any meaningful way for a team that has a history of trading for troubled talents (Blount, Corey Dillon, Randy moss, Albert Haynesworth) then I'm happy to do it.

None of those Pats QBs had the draft pedigree that JG did. The only one that had a fraction of his talent was Mallett, who absolutely melted against actual SEC talent. Guy was a statue in the pocket, and had a 2-7 record (or something) against high end comp.

I'm not comping Jimmy to other Patriots backups because I was never into the other guys. I like what I see from Jimmy, and that's where I stand on it. If you watch his college tape and limited NFL snaps and don't like him, that's fine. Kid hasn't proven anything, but he's certainly put some stuff out that I believe in.

Here's a link to some film that I was going to use in a write up on JG before I gave up the ghost on him. Take for what you will.”

rufio: “Josh I get that the Pats have a history of making troubled players work. That's the exact reason we should ask for a big drop in the picks if we are trading him. It's about the relative value here: we shouldn't do a trade that only marginally helps us but helps the Pats big time.

If you like Jimmy G more, that's fine. I'm just saying this usually doesn't work out and I don't see any real reason this time is different. I've seen him play, I don't think he's that good. Also, Mallet threw for 320 and 3TDs against LSU in 2010 (in a win), 380 3TD and 0INT against Georgia (in a win), and 357 in a 4 point loss to Bama where he was probably hopelessly overmatched. Wins against A&M, Ole Miss, Miss St, and South Carolina that year (Vandy too, but they aren't actually the SEC). Which SEC teams did Jimmy G beat, again? Wins are a team stat, but let's not pretend that Arkansas wasn't at a talent disadvantage in almost every SEC game, outside of Mallett, and he still managed to do well and win sometimes. He also did a respectable job while his team was outmatched against a stronger OSU team (who was also playing ineligible players). There's no reason to try to revise history to make your point or to try to tell me that Mallett's numbers are different than what they were: Mallett was pretty damn good in college against good competition. Garoppolo was excellent in college against terrible competition. Mallett wasn't Andrew Luck, and he isn't comparable to Jimmy in that he didn't put up ludicrous numbers against Middle of Nowhere State in the Where Are We conference, but he was a 2nd-3rd round prospect coming out in the draft. The same organization and regime thought highly enough of both players to take them in roughly the same part of the draft when they didn't have a need.

The most important number I cited above is the zero backups who have gone on to become franchise players elsewhere in their prime in this era of football. Are the odds better that a first round QB works out, or that Jimmy G becomes the first to not push out the old starter and to go on to success with a new team? I don't know, they are both probably pretty low. But I'll roll with the first rounder, especially considering the contract situations/lack of control of Jimmy and the asking price.”

Josh Finney:Read this — Still true today. The link in that article that breaks down what I was saying is here. He wasn't good against good competition. I'm not ‘revising history.’”

rufio: “There are insane problems with that guy's methodology. How do they pick who is the best competition and who is the worst? What metric do they use to decide a ‘key game’?

He also concluded that statistically Mallett compared closest to Matt Stafford and Jamarcus Russell, two #1 overall picks. Obviously, Russell didn't like football and ate/purple drank his way out of the league so we never know if he would have worked out, but Mallet never came close to Stafford's level and he didn't come close to being picked #1 overall (both of those QBs' pre-draft evaluation levels). Based on this guy's model, those three players should be picked around the same spot, no? That's a big red flag to me, because Mallet was easily a worse prospect than either of those guys. I would think you would agree with that.

Mallet did worse against better competition than against bad teams, which you would expect. Maybe the hall of famers don't see a dip in their numbers there (a comparison that is again made problematic by cherry picking which games are "key games" for each team) but I don't think anyone here is saying that Mallett's college numbers predicted he would become a hall of famer--in fact I am arguing that both guys did not look like first round prospects.

The other problem with this is that Jimmy has nothing from college to compare these tough games with. Are we supposed to take his "tougher" game against Northern Illinois as the comparison point? In fact, against comparable teams (UTEP, UL-M, Vandy) Mallet looked every bit the world-beater that Jimmy looked, which is kind of that author's point. Everything there screamed "don't draft this guy in the first round, but maybe with a 2nd-3rd it would be worth it" which is exactly how it ended up. I'm not saying he set the world on fire, but having "absolutely melted against actual SEC talent" is clearly a mischaracterization of what he did. He actually did enough to win some of those games, without playing bad or making his team carry him. Please at least give me that much: he played worse but saying that he "absolutely melted" is going too far.

At the end of the day, the flawed and subjective scouting process is the best tool we have until DePodesta can revolutionize this process. And at the end of the day, the same regime evaluating these two players took them in about the same spot with about the same QB need. That's as strong an argument for a similar pre-draft evaluation as we will get when comparing year to year. At the end of the day the odds are they are about as good and their college numbers don't show otherwise. If you want to believe in Jimmy based on what he has done in the pros, I can understand but I will agree to disagree.”

Zach Miller: “Words cannot describe how vehemently against trading for Jimmy G I am. I would rather not get bent over by New England for a backup QB.”

Chris Pokorny: “I won’t get into this too much, but my short answer is that I’d take Garoppolo over any of this year’s quarterbacks, so I’d be open to a trade. I’m not breaking the bank for compensation, though. If I’m the Browns and want to make the move happen, I trade down from No. 12 to acquire some additional assets, then give New England two mid- second-round picks and a later round pick for him. New England won’t budge for such a package. Regarding Gordon, I’m with most of you — just keep him and hope for the best.”

Q (Chris): “Alright, let's shift gears a bit. Ignoring the QB position, who is one player you're head-over-heels for in the mid to late rounds?”

Matt Wood: “This is an easy one for me, Carlos Henderson, WR Louisiana Tech. Dude is an absolute jitterbug and can catch the freaking football. His combine numbers were really good as well as he ran a 4.4. I think he is a poor man's Antonio Brown with a high ceiling.”

rufio: “Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina. 4.45 speed and a pretty good 3 cone at 6'2", 200lbs. FBS all-time leader in receptions. Played well against bigger schools. Just a good player.”

Zach Miller: “Zay Jones was a kid I didn't know much about. Legit saw his receptions last year and googled three separate stats sites to confirm what I was seeing. Christ, that's a hell of a lot of catches. I've got a few:

Joe Mixon, RB Oklahoma - First, I think Mixon has a chance to be the best back from this class. I get the off field stuff, and that's terrible. The Browns have been down some off field troubles in recent memory, so I honestly would be shocked if they drafted him. But, from a skills standpoint, someone is going to get a steal. Tough to say when that'll be, though.

Adam Shaheen, TE Ashland - This is not just a local-boy story. Dude is massive, strong, but also really damn smooth for his size. Converted basketball TE? Sign me the hell up.

Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE Villanova - I'll freely admit I haven't the slightest chance properly pronouncing his name, ever. Hot damn he's huge. If someone teaches proper leverage, man, he could be really good. He's a smart kid, and one that I am properly obsessed with in the middle rounds.”

rufio: “Zach, I wouldn't be too surprised if Mixon and Shaheen go high in the 2nd round. I like Shaheen a lot, but Mixon is undraftable to me. At least until the 4th or 5th round when I think he will be long gone. A guy I like more at RB is the kid from Texas. I don't think his stock is as high as it should be.”

Zach Miller: “I agree regarding Shaheen and Mixon. Not really sleepers, think they could be 2nd or early 3's now.”

Josh Finney: “Love this question. Those middle to late picks are where the good GMs make bay, and I think round 2-4 is where this team is really going to fill in some gaps.

Shaheen climbing into the second is a real bummer. Was fun when he was a sleeper, I had visions of him and DeValve just punishing the middle of the field together in 12 sets.

One guy I've got an enormous draft [redacted, specific anatomy] for is Alek Torgerson. He's got a perfect NFL frame, has surprising athleticism, and a cannon for an arm. Think you get him NFL mechanics work and he's EXACTLY what Hue wants. I'm resigned to Dobbs, but Torgerson and Evans (VT) are the only mid round qbs im interested in.

I LOVE the TEs in this draft. Sheehan, Roberts, Nkoju (if he falls to 2nd)

Safeties: Awuzie, Budda Baker, Marcus Williams, Josh Jones.

CB: Would love Any of these if they fall to late second or beyond: Jourdan Lewis, Quincy Wilson (secretly the better CB in that UF duo) or Shaq Griffin. Love Corn elder and Kazee as late sleepers.

RB: Kareem Hunt!

WR: I love Curtis Samuel, but think he might be overkill with Duke Johnson. Love both Carolina WRs (Howard and Switzer) weak class, and not a position I think the Browns invest much in.

DL: Give me Joe Mathis (will be a medical redshirt out of a Washington, monster) or Larry Ogunjobi. I like Charles Harris, but he's no longer a sleeper and is getting first round buzz. Nazair Johnson (NC) is getting a lot of late buzz, nice 3T that no one thought was gonna declare. Love Tanzel Smart out of our very own school. (go Tulane, roll wave)

LB: Another meh class.. top guys will be heavily overdrafted. Love Boulware out of Clemson, but not really confident (at all) that he's a scheme fit. Think we're in Nickel all the time anyway. Love Ebukam out of East Washington as a sleeper, and would be cool if T.J. Watt slipped to the second.

OL class is trash and Browns have better depth options now than some teams have starters. (Greco, Fabiano, Erving, Sterup)”

Joe Ginley: “Absolutely love Budda Baker, would love to see the Browns draft him at No. 33 but I have a sneaking suspicion that he'll wind up on the Steelers and haunt us forever.Kareem Hunt is a guy I really like, depending on where he falls to. The Browns don't really need a RB, but damn, it would be nice to have a multi-dimensional skilled player like Hunt who's local and enthusiastic to be here.”

Dan Lalich: “I don't really go that deep into the draft, but here's some receivers to keep an eye on based on the projections from statistical models:

Jerome Lane, Akron
Josh Malone, Tennessee
Carlos Henderson, LaTech
DeDe Westbrook, OK
Noel Thomas, UConn
Isaiah Ford, VT
Jalen Robinette, Air Force

There are some others, but that's a taste. I want to single out Robinette as a guy the models absolutely love, and he's probably going to go undrafted. Based on some quick research it looks like his basic scouting report is that he's big and athletic but extremely raw. Might make a good complement to Coleman.”

Josh Finney: “Isaiah Ford really seems like the type of guy who is going to be a reliable 2/3 for a decade. Really tough kid, reliable. Did a lot with arguably some of the worst schemes and QB play in the league.”

Jon Stinchcomb: “I'm going to go ahead and be a bit of an OSU homer and mention Raekwon McMillion, LB. He's probably rated high enough to not really be considered a "mid rounder," but if he slips past the second round somehow, I would be pretty happy to grab him. I see him as sort of sleeper potential playmaker.”

Mike Krupka: “Here are my guys:

John Johnson
Josh Malone
Grover Stewart
Jeremy Sprinkle
Michael Roberts
Jalen Reeves Maybin
Shaquil Griffin
Rayshawn Jenkins
Isaac Rochell
Isaiah Ford
Amara Darboh”

rufio: “Outside of Solomon Thomas I don't know that I see too many disruptive, penetrating 3-tech DTs in this draft. If we take Garrett to play the Robert Quinn role, we could really use someone there. I think Ogbah is probably a LDE in this scheme, though maybe he could take the spot. The NT spot is all Shelton's.”

Matt Wood: “Am I the only one who would throw a third-round pick at the Jets for Sheldon Richardson in a heartbeat?”

Q (Chris): “In today's Chow, someone said, ‘I’d love to hear some staff favorite picks for DB’s we could take between 12 and 65.’ Think about who you think would be available during that stretch, and which two or three DBs you kind of covet the most. Or are you against the running belief that the Browns need to upgrade their DBs this year?”

Josh Finney: “I answered that with my sleepers in the previous question, but man this draft is deep at DB. Going to be first round talent available into the 3rd, and Browns have a glaring need. Gonna be fun.”

Zach Miller: “I'm of the opinion you can't have enough quality DBs on roster, so the Browns should always be looking to add talented players in the secondary. Especially considering Joe Haden will be sidelined by Week 3.

I agree with Josh, this class is loaded with DBs. The aforementioned Budda Baker I'll also go on record professing love. Obi Melifonwu, Chidobe Awuzie, Gareon Conley, Kevin King, Jabril Peppers, etc. All could/should be in play in the 2nd for the Browns.”

rufio: “Love all those DBs at those spots, Zach. Could you imagine Garrett, Trubs, Conley, Awuzie? I should stop dreaming.”

Zach Miller: “Gimme Mahomes over Trubs, but man that class would be great. Again with the dreams, though...”

Mike Krupka: “Yes, I firmly believe that we must upgrade our DB's this year. We missed out on the DL stock last year, we can't miss out on the depth and stock this year. I think we could go with as many as 3 or 4 DB's in this draft. To highlight a few safeties and cornerbacks I like between picks 12 and 65 that I think we could target / legitimately land:

Chidobe Awuzie
Budda Baker
Josh Jones
Rasul Douglas
Fabian Moreau
Kevin King
Marcus Williams

Q (Zach): “How about the contrary to Chris' question, are there prospect(s) you're deathly afraid of the Browns drafting? I have a couple that come to mind.”

Dan Lalich: “I'm terrified they might draft O.J. Howard. Don't get me wrong, I think he's a great prospect. I just don't think he's a fit for the Browns.”

Matt Wood: “Alabama players scare me. It's not a shock that there are guys coming out of Bama always seem to have injury questions. I am always a round or two behind everyone else with those guys and I am okay with that. I want nothing to do with Jonathan Allen.”

Josh Finney: “I'll second Dan on OJ. Just don't see the value when the team so badly needs other position groups and the draft is so deep with TEs.

Terrified of Malik McDowell and his motor. Petrified of Sidney Jones never getting back to form. And.....I'm most scared of Patrick Mahomes. That arm is just so delicious, but he'll literally be the first big 12 qb in 2 decades that would be worth the draft slot, and his wonky mechanics/footwork terrify me. Get that it's not popular, but I just don't see him and the Browns as a happy marriage. Guess I'll eat crow if his transition goes like folks think it will.”

rufio: “Peppers at 12. Don't think we'd do it, just reaaaaallly don't want us to do it. Also, Jonathan Allen over Garrett and then his shoulder falls off. Or Hooker and he has 6 INT in 5 games and then his hips fall off. I'm out on Reuben Foster, Mixon, and Dalvin Cook. I think Cook is a bit overrated but I had all of those guys off of my big board top 50.”

Dan Lalich: “Oh yeah I totally forgot about Peppers. No thanks.”

Josh Finney: “Also super out on Peppers, unless we're starting to talk late second and they think he can fill that Mark Barron lb/S hybrid role. (Spoiler: I don't think he can)”

rufio: “The funny thing is that Gregg played Barron as the BIGGER of his two OLBs for the majority of last year. Which is crazy. I think the other guy is listed as heavier but looks smaller on the field to me, so maybe he wasn't actually bigger, but still. But both OLBs were crazy small. ... I really should have finished that article about the Under G front.”

Josh Finney: heh -- Pretty funny, after all the chat here about Peppers. (Editor’s note: this news came as we were discussing Peppers)

Q (Chris): “So we just saw that report on Peppers, and there have either been drug or character-related issues to some other top prospects like Reuben Foster, Joe Mixon, and Dalvin Cook. The DBN Community wants to know if those issues make you hope they stay off the Browns' roster.”

Chris Pokorny: “I’ll start this one off, along with some additional spinoff questions. Draft Analyst had a very insightful article a couple of days ago, showing two NFL teams' actual top 32 draft boards for this year (just the players on it, not the order). Between the two teams, 28 of the players were common, but neither of them contained Foster because of the recent news on him. If Foster fell to No. 33, would you hope the Browns took him at the start of Day 2? What about some of those other ‘troubled players?’”

Jon Stinchcomb: “Personally, if I'm in the war room, every prospect with "red flags" needs to be handled on a case-by-case basis. Not all "treated as positive" samples in the drug testing program are created equal. I completely understand the necessity of the NFL treated otherwise clean but diluted samples as if they were failures. That is how the program should treat diluted samples. But that does not mean, from an scout's perspective, that clean but diluted sample should paint a hypothetical prospect in the same light as an actual measurable outright positive for a banned substance, whether PED or recreational drug.

Now, I don't necessarily believe (or disbelieve) Foster's food poisoning story, but it is plausible. I would be ecstatic to grab him at No. 33 if a diluted sample caused him to fall that far. If it were an actual positive test, I would be far less inclined to.”

rufio: “I am out on those 3 guys because the combination of talent, need, scheme fit, and these issues don't make them make sense to me. Maybe later in the draft, you roll the dice.

Mixon is OK but never struck me as a dominant player, Westbrook and Mayfield were both bigger concerns to me as a Buckeye fan than Mixon. While the punch is a very serious single incident, it is part of a pattern of behavior where Mixon cannot control his anger. There are backs like this in every draft + a pattern of losing control = no thanks.

Foster's behavior is bizarre. Walking out of the combine is failing a job interview. Then he's got a diluted sample which means he's probably got drug issues and he at least has one strike against him in one of the drug programs. Add that to the mix with rumors of concussion issues and the idea that Bama ILBs are usually not as good as their hype suggests, and he's not worth it.

Cook is the one I know less about. But he strikes me as a good straight line runner with decent power who won't be all that fast in the NFL and isn't really a shifty, sudden jukes kind of guy. He has gotten in to trouble at least three times, one for being a punk kid and shooting a bb gun (not very serious in my opinion), one for animal cruelty (not a good look but the degree to which this was cruel is up for debate), and once for reportedly punching a woman in the face (a very serious accusation, but Cook was acquitted.) However, forgive me if I don't trust the Tallahassee PD to be full of upstanding cops who would punish/investigate any FSU player the same way they would a normal person. I could be talked into Cook if someone really stood on the table and all of the digging in to his character worked out. But I still don't think he is worth the pick that it will take to get him (in the first round).

I also think Foster is a bad scheme fit. Gregg used one hyper athletic guy at MLB last year in Ogletree and two reeeaaaallly small guys as OLBs. I am sure that part of those personnel decisions were about defending in that division (Chip Kelly offense in SF, a very similar offense in Seattle with 3+WR from the gun a lot of the time). But it would seem that we have two guys who can play at those LB spots and we'd be looking for a smaller, faster LB with better coverage ability.

Maybe I am wrong and we are going to change up the scheme to fit Collins a little more, or maybe you can get away with Collins at Will and Kirksey at the Sam (roles are opposite the names in the 4-3 over) in our division. We might match up ok with Cincy that way, but pittsburgh would seem to be more of a spread team. Maybe not, as Bell can also run quite a bit. baltimore would seem to want to be a West Coast style offense, throwing a lot with some sight adjustments to routes. But in general the trend in the NFL has been to throw more, which means smaller, faster LBs.”

Matt Wood: “Off the field issues have never bothered me UNLESS it can keep you off the field. Mixon would already have a strike against him in the eyes of the NFL if he ran into off the field issues so that is a tad worrisome, but I still really like what he does on the field.

I am out on Foster because of the Bama-injury-maxed potential deal and the fact we have no real place to play them.

Look, I don't want these guys dating my daughter/sister/mother/whatever-other-absurd-parallel-people-will-draw, I just want the best football team possible. I don't care if a guy does drugs as long as he stays on the field.”

Mike Krupka: “Drafting Foster would be like trying to shove both feet into one shoe. There's nowhere for him to go. So based on that alone, no, I don't want to draft Foster. Then you add in the other stuff with medicals, and the combine drama, and now the drug tests, and it becomes a hell no.

My personal views aside, if a prospect can't stay clean (drugs) and/or has major off the field flags (on going issues / exceptions that are now the rule) then I want them off our board unless their talent is truly game changing. THEN, my hope is the locker room and culture can coddle that player along. If the prospect messed up once and can show it was a lapse in judgement, etc., then you have to judge the risk reward of where you pick him. If you truly believe his story, then you gamble on any of those guys early, says rounds 1 or 2. If you don't then all those guys listed in your questions need to go in the 3rd or later for me.”

Q (Chris): “In your DBN Mock (or if you would have participated), you listed one scenario of the Browns' picks at No. 1, No. 12, and No. 33. Briefly talk about that scenario and one or two other ways you could see those picks panning out for the Browns (i.e. scenario A, scenario B, and scenario C)?”

Zach Miller: “In my mock, I have the Browns taking: #1 Myles Garrett, #12 Deshaun Watson, #33 Budda Baker.

#1 for me is easy, really the Browns will have to try to mess this one up (which, of course, they very easily could do). Garrett #1.

In the mock I had the Jets taking Mitch(ell) Trubisky at #6. If that happens, I would actually anticipate the Browns moving up to get their QB (whomever that may be), but didn't want to mock a trade. I would like to think that the Browns have Mahomes #1 on their QB rankings, but my gut tells me it is actually Watson, thus, mocking him at #12.

#33 I took a look at what was left from the DB's and put Baker here. There hasn't been much said about any mutual interest, but I believe the Browns will go defense heavy this year. The secondary needs a good bit of work, and Baker at #33 would be a really good selection for them.

Alternate selections:

#1 Garrett
#12 Malik Hooker/Jamal Adams/Marshon Lattimore/etc.
#33 Pat Mahomes

If something wild happens in the top-10, and one of the top-DB's falls to the Browns at #12, I would bet they'll run to the podium with their card. In my opinion, having one of the aforementioned three fall to them at #12 would be the ideal scenario with Garrett coming off at #1.

They could then sit tight and check the QB's, and if Mahomes gets to #33, again, I imagine they'd run to the podium.”

rufio: “I had us taking Garrett and Watson. I could see us taking any of the 3-4 QBs there, as I have no idea how much any of the teams between 1 and 12 like the QBs, though many of them need one. And even if one/a few get selected, I am even less certain as to who they will be. Some teams reportedly don't have Watson as a first round prospect. Will Trubs' lack of playing time be a concern? Do NFL teams like Mahomes as much as I do, or will he be there in the 2nd?

I could also see several teams going for a QB and us ending up with Garrett, and Hooker (amid injury concerns) or Garrett and Jonathan Allen (similar concerns). Corey Davis might be another sleeper there.

But if there are no QB prospects we like at 12, I really think we move down. The elite guys like Allen and Hooker will likely be gone anyway. Lots of bad scheme fits/need fits there for us in that tier of players in my opinion. Guys like Ramczyk and Reddick, OJ and the RBs might be good players, but is that who we want at 12? I could easily see this regime wanting to trade back a few spots.”

Mike Krupka: “I didn’t have time to get a full mock in, but here’s what I’d like to see from the Browns with their first three picks:

Garrett - stay put and take him
Mahomes - I say go get him because I don't think he lasts past 13
Baker - If his size pushes him down, I want him at 33”

Chris Pokorny: “My version A had us taking Garrett, Howard, and Baker. No matter what alternate scenario I come up with, we’re always taking Garrett first. If I’m going by my personal board and the other teams’ picks still standing, I’d have to take Mahomes at No. 12 and Teez Tabor at No. 33. No matter what, my top three picks are between four positions: DE, QB, TE, DB.”

Q (Zach): “Q: How much do y'all read into DeShone Kizer not only attending the Draft, but attending with Brian Kelly? Do you think they'd actually attend unless they had a first round guarantee from a team?”

rufio: “Zach, I don't really read into it at all in terms of his stock. Maybe he has first round grades from teams and maybe the NFL people who do the inviting know he will go in the first. Maybe they want to create drama. Maybe he's the only one of a number of prospects who wanted to go. Who knows. It is a once in a lifetime thing for him, so that's the real story in my opinion.

I think the bigger deal there is that he can tolerate Brian Kelly enough to sit next to him for a few hours and maybe share that moment in his life with him. That's a big win for ND on the recruiting front. They can try to sell kids on the idea that Kelly might yell his head off on gameday but that's just a tough coach coaching hard, and at the end of the day the players still like and respect him. It won't be the infomercial that Urban Meyer got last year and continues to get with Zeke, Apple, Bosa, Shazier, etc. doing well, but it might undo some damage to his rep with QBs. I still wouldn't send my kid to his program, though.”

Chris Pokorny: “When the top quarterback prospects meet with teams, I'm sure they all get a good vibe from the teams they visit -- enough to make them think they each have a high chance of being drafted in the first round. I wouldn't buy into there being a guarantee from a team; circumstances change all the time, and to make that commitment and then likely have to break it just isn't good for anyone.”

Q (Chris): “Given the fact that the Browns spent a first-round pick on WR Corey Coleman last year, it would probably figure to be a bit of a turnoff to fans if the team selected another receiver high this year.

But when you look at the group of receivers, they have a guy in Coleman who had a relatively disappointing rookie season and a new guy in Kenny Britt who has had an up-and-down career. Everyone else on the roster might as well be camp fodder -- the position does not appear to be one of strength. Are there any receivers you really like in this draft, and when is the soonest you'd be OK with the team drafting one?”

Zach Miller: “I personally believe WR is a position that absolutely needs addressed this draft. The problem I see, is, I'm not sold on a ton of guys after the first few. But that doesn't mean there isn't talent to be had.

Obviously I'd love to have Mike Williams or Corey Davis (I'm very bullish on Davis), but I'm not sure the Browns will spend another first rounder on a WR this year. John Ross's knees scare the living hell out of me. I don't care how damn fast he is, firm pass from me.

Curtis Samuel is a guy I love in the 2nd or 3rd. I would be totally fine with the Browns taking him there. Not sure what his exact position will be at the next level, but I think he'll be good at it, regardless. It takes a lot for me to type those words, given my deep-seeded loathing of Ohio State.

In the later rounds there are a couple guys I like alright. One of the mid-round guys that I love is Kenny Golladay from Norther Illinois. He has a great size/speed combination (106.33 speed score), he's 6'4" and 218 lbs, ran a 4.50 40 at the combine. Transfered from Div 1-AA powerhouse North Dakota, and still put up great numbers at NIU. From what I have seen, if he's able to hone his route running craft, he'll be a really good mid-round pick and a quality receiver for someone. Really like this kid.

That's my roundabout way of answering your first part of the question, and the soonest I'd be okay with drafting one would likely be the 2nd round, but that's a stretch. #33 overall seems a bit high considering they took Coleman in the 1st last year. But, WR is a genuine position of need. The only way I'd be okay with a 1st round selection is if Williams/Davis fell into the teens and the Browns traded back (or up) to get them. There's holes everywhere on this roster, and I just think spending 1sts/2nds on other positions, for this draft, makes the most sense.”

Dan Lalich: “I would like to wait until 33 to take a receiver if they decide to go that route. That said, if they get to 12 and they don't like their QB options, I wouldn't be too upset with taking Davis or Williams.

As far as who else I might want, since I didn't do a lot of my own scouting this year, I'll just mention the projections again. Phenom Index and Playmaker Score are the two I was using earlier. There's a lot of interesting guys who should be available in the second/third rounds.”

Matt Wood: “I really don't like the top end of the WR's in this draft. I think there is better value if you wait around until the mid rounds and get a guy Henderson who I have already admitted that I love. WR is the one position outside of OL and ILB that I do not want addressed early on.”

rufio: “Matt, I mostly agree with you on OL and LB given our natural picks, but I think I have some exceptions. Our line seems to be set except for RT, or maybe Center (wouldn't hurt to have a guy who could play there and slide to LG in case Bitonio goes down again). What if one of the better tackles dropped to 33 and we got Garrett and a QB with our first two picks? I think I would be ok with a RT pick there. I don't see any centers worth a pick until after 33. What if 3 QBs go between 2 and 11 and we drop back in the first round?

What do you guys see our two current LBs doing well in this new scheme? Collins has always seemed to do well coming on blitzes up the middle and covering backs and TEs downfield, but Williams didn't blitz his LBs much last year outside of 3rd and 6+. Kirk has always seemed like a traditional run and tackle kind of guy who does exactly what Williams would want of a LB. What if a third LB was there at pick 33 or after a trade back from 12? I think I could see a Jarrad Davis or Zach Cunningham fitting Williams' scheme nicely (run, hit, cover), while Haason Reddick (who probably won't be available) or Tyus Bowser might signal a shift to a more aggressive blitzing approach in the AFCN. I could see either type of guy potentially sliding in to the middle in our defense.

I am trying to make sense of WIlliams' scheme and how he will fit it to our players. I hope he makes some adjustments so that we can really unleash Collins.”

Mike Krupka: “Yeah, stay away from a WR early. Let the guys you drafted develop. I think Louis will be a solid player. So that's Louis and Coleman. 50% isn't a bad hit rate. That said you count on Coleman being the man, and then you take another high upside / athletic WR with lower production in the 4th or 5th rounds this year and hope they develop, etc. I also think people are sleeping on the fact the team considers Seth DeValve a slot WR / move TE -- and I think he's going be a very good player this season for us in that regard. I really like several WR, especially at more value picks :

Chris Godwin
Isaiah Ford
Zay Jones
Josh Malone
Carlos Henderson”

rufio: “Davis and Williams would be nice, I think. I don't know that either guy is Julio Jones, but I think they could be like a DeAndre Hopkins type of guy. Not the #1 pick in your fantasy league or an athlete that just physically dominates out there, but a guy who just consistently gets open and does work. Williams has a little more big play ability/"wow factor" in his potential to win jump balls. That back shoulder fade game at Clemson demonstrated he can get on the same page with a QB and win some trust throws.

I really like Zay Jones as an underrated guy, who I have mentioned before, but I don't see a ton of traditional 6'0"-6'3" guys who are going to play outside in this draft. John Ross could be nice for a team, but I don't think he is for us because I think his career will be short and he is better paired with an established QB. If we are going with a smaller slot guy, give me Dede Westbrook relative to his draft stock. I think Curtis Samuel would fit in Hue's offense, where we aren't really afraid to try to shift things around and take advantage of mismatches. But can we really justify taking him if there is a Tarrell Basham or one of the multitude of DBs still on the board? It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world but that doesn't scream value to me.

Basically, between the 12th pick and the 3rd round I don't see a ton of reason to take a WR. If we took a guy at 12 it probably means fans are disappointed with the way the 2nd-11th picks unfolded, but fans were kinda pissed when we took Joe Thomas IIRC.”

Josh Finney: “I have bad news on WR/TE; the Browns drafted incredibly raw SPARQ style athletes for the position last year. Both groups will take time to develop, and the Browns aren't considering Devalve, Coleman, Higgins and Louis sunk costs yet. The fact that they cut the usable vet already (Hawk) is pretty telling, imo. Terrible WR class, so I'm not really counting on anyone before the mid rounds unless the options are overwhelming in value at the draft spot, and with the dumpster fire of a defense, I agree with that.

And did rufio really say a ‘Deandre Hopkins type’ like he wasn't one of the best 3-4 receivers in football two years ago with Mallett/Hoyer at QB? If I felt like any of the receivers were ‘Hopkins types’ I'd run the damn card in.”

rufio: “Hopkins wasn't an overwhelming prospect in the draft. Obviously he has become a very good NFL player even despite his QB play. But consider this: he was only 6'1", 214 at the combine, he ran a 4.57 with a 36" vert. He ran a 4.5 short shuttle. Not exactly that "wow!" height/weight/speed kind of guy.'s final eval on him was "Should be in the conversation to be one of the first receivers drafted, probably in the late first round range." Walterfootball said "Hopkins could go late in the first round and shouldn't last long if he falls to the second" (which, ok, walterfootball, but still) and the consensus on him seemed to be that he was a good prospect but not a Calvin Johnson kind of guy. All of that seems to fit with the NFL teams' evals on him, as he was selected 27th overall.

Obviously Hopkins is an aspirational comparison for these guys, but Williams has more physical talent and it wouldn't be insane if Davis did what Nuk is doing. I'm not predicting either of these guys will achieve that level because the odds of any one first round pick doing so are low.

I am just saying you have to lower your expectations of their ceilings from Megatron down to Hopkins. If you draft those guys you can't want the physical freak player like Julio or Calvin, you have to be aiming for the Roddy White/Hopkins kind of player who is a little less game-breaking but still successful. If that's their ceiling, we obviously know as Browns fans that they have no floor if we draft them. It Can Always Get Worse™.”

Q (Chris): “We've touched on receivers, but let's talk about tight end. It seems to be a luxury position fans would love to see upgraded this year. If Cleveland can't do it with Howard of Njoku, who are some of the other tight end prospects you covet?”

Zach Miller: “I honestly think that TE is one of the deepest position groups in this draft. Outside of Howard and Njoku, there's probably 6-7 other guys that could be good TEs in the league.

In another question I already professed my love for Adam Shaheen, so I won't harp on him much. A few others I like:

Evan Engram, Ole Miss - more of a tweener, a little undersized for a traditional NFL TE, but is a dynamic receiver.

Bucky Hodges, VA Tech - Some people love him, and I think he can be a really good pro. Has the frame to be a solid TE, but needs to improve his blocking (as is the case with a lot of TE prospects). If someone gets him in the 3rd or even 4th, will be solid value.

Michael Roberts, Toledo - Likely a little more of a project TE than an early contributor. Isn't a freak athlete, but has good size and decent speed. Has absolutely massive hands. Let me reiterate his hands are huge - 11 1/2". For his career, 80%+ of his catches went for 1st downs. Had 16 TDs last year. Would love to see him in the mid to late rounds for the Browns.”

rufio: “Seems like a really deep draft there. Howard and Njoku seem like the elite prospects, with Shaheen maybe in that group as well. But guys like Jake Butt, Bucky Hodges, and Jordan Leggett seem like they could make for solid pros. Evan Engram seems like a big WR. And there are a ton of guys from small schools who are like 6'3"-6'5" who run high 4.5s-low 4.7s who are intriguing. I haven't studied them enough, but if a guy can get open and catch the ball he can help us in the middle rounds.”

Mike Krupka: “Guys I like that can do it in-line and out wide: Jeremy Sprinkle, George Kittle, Michael Roberts, Jake Butt. Out wide: Bucky Hodges, Gerald Everett, Evan Engram.”

Matt Wood: “For the tight end position this has been one of two spots that the NFL has shown an ability to fill without using a high draft pick. Hell many of the top TE's in the game didn't even play college football. Drafting Howard is a bad use of resources IMO. That seems like a luxury pick for a team like Atlanta or the Giants that could fill that hole. Not the Browns. Not in the top 12. I would rather grab a few guys late and see what happens. Plus what do we have in our TE youth? Lets find that out first.”

Q (Chris): “Any thoughts on what the Browns should do with Brock Osweiler? Do you trade him for what you can get, keep him, or cut him?”

Mike Krupka: “Try to unload him on drat day and if unsuccessful, let him compete.”

Jon Stinchcomb: “I don't think there is a much of a market out there for Osweiler, otherwise we would have probably already known about it. The new " moneyball" Browns brass seem entirely content to take on Osweiler for a second-rounder. I think they'll be content to keep him and let him compete for the job. But, sadly, if the Browns enter training camp with only an Osweiler / Kessler / Hogan competition, expect another dumpster fire of a regular season.”

rufio: “I'd trade him if we can, but I think our only chance at that is if someone missed out on the QB they like in the draft and they get desperate. That's one thing I like about this front office; they won't panic, and they will take advantage of the situation when someone else does. If we can't trade him for a decent pick, he wouldn't be awful to have on the roster. I wouldn't cut him outright unless we plan to tank the year. It is likely that Kessler gets hurt given his injury history and his inability to get rid of the ball last year. If we draft a new kid, Brock's place on the roster depends on how willing/able he is to mentor in my eyes.”

Zach Miller: “If the Browns somehow flip Osweiler into a pick, or anything for that matter, I'll crown Sashi the greatest GM in the league. If they can trade him, I would do that in a heartbeat. If they can't, I don't see the harm in bringing him to camp and letting him compete. Assuming the Browns draft a QB, a camp with: Kessler, Osweiler, Hogan, Rookie, is fine by me.”

Dan Lalich: “If the Browns can get anything for Osweiler, they probably should. I don't really see that happening unless another team's quarterback gets injured or something in camp or the preseason and they get desperate. Otherwise, the Browns are paying him no matter what, so unless they need that roster spot there's no reason to cut him.”

Josh Finney: “Brock is a fungus. I'd give him for any pick and absorb as much of the salary as I'd have to. The only reason the Browns have defaulted to having anything at all positive to say about Brock is because there's a real chance he's on the roster as a 3rd qb this year, and they can't be like ‘strap it on, second round pick!’

The fact that Cody Kessler looks that much more competent despite being a rookie 3rd stringer playing after emergencies is all I need to know, complex BoB system be damned.”

Matt Wood: “Keep Brock. Only costs cap space at this point. Who knows if Hue can find something in him and we get a San Diego Brees/Rivers deal going?”

Q (Chris): “So as we're in the middle of this roundtable, word spreads that CB Gareon Conley is being accused of rape. If his stock plummets and he is still on the board at No. 33 overall, do you take him, given the limited amount of time to investigate the matter?”

Chris Pokorny: “I am not taking sides for or against Conley. If he falls to No. 33, I would roll the dice and draft him. If it turns out he committed the criminal act, then I can live with Cleveland having wasted that pick, as valuable as it is.”

rufio: “The rape allegation is a very serious one. I think you have to determine the level of certainty that you can have that he did or didn't do it before you make a decision there. If you aren't confident that you know how the case will be resolved (and what kind of guy you might be investing in) you have to stay away in my opinion.”

Zach Miller: “Man, this is hard. On one hand that is some serious stuff, and allegations that by no means should be taken lightly. To be honest, I haven't read enough about it or know enough to comment fully. I will say that's a dicey subject and it would be hard in my mind to consider him right now, all things considered, at #33.”

Matt Wood: “I would take the gamble on Conley. He was my top corner in the draft and from what I can tell (which admittedly is very little) it sounds like a shaky deal. I will say that the Cleveland Browns, with their connection to the Cleveland PD and game day relationships, should know more than any other team. If it looks like he is in for a slide I may roll the dice and see if I can snag him with Tennessee's second rounder.”

Q (Chris): “If we draft Garrett, does he outperform Emmanuel Ogbah in year 1? Should he (him being a ‘generational talent’)?”

rufio: “I think Garrett definitely should and will outperform Ogbah in year 1. Ogbah's size and athleticism were clear on tape last year, but he didn't play with good leverage and he didn't use his hands as well as he needed to. Hopefully he improves in those areas this year (because if he does he could be really good) but I think that is something to look for a little more over several years of development. I don't think it happens over one offseason, but I would love to be wrong. Garrett has the tools to be much better than Ogbah, and I think he is further along in his development as well, even if he isn't as polished as a Joey Bosa in year 1.”

Chris Pokorny: “A different defensive system (Gregg Williams vs. Ray Horton), not having to go through a positional change, and hopefully having some better talent around him (Jamie Collins, an early-round pick from the secondary, Desmond Bryant) will give Garrett the edge alone. Add in the fact that he's a much more highly-touted prospect, and I'd expect a better season than what Ogbah had a year ago. But he doesn't have to be an All-Pro from the first snap -- all I look for from a rookie are the glimpses of being special.”

Zach Miller: “I think it is completely fair to expect Garrett to outshine Ogbah. He's billed as a great talent, so he should at least show those flashes next year, if drafted. However, all rookies have a learning curve, no matter how touted they are. It's fair to have high expectations, but also we need to be realistic.”

Matt Wood: “I am assuming Ogbah has a better year in 2017. IF Garrett is as good as many believe, most teams should be giving him extra attention. I don't think it means that he is better, but I think a better year in 17 should be expected from Ogbah.”

Mike Krupka: “In a vacuum, yes, he should. Ogbah was / is much more raw than Garrett. That said, there's more to it than that. Match-ups, double team's etc. One thing is for sure though, somebody (or several guys) is going to get to the QB because the opposing OL/TE/RB are going to have their hands full.”

Q (Chris): “How many Senior Bowl players do we draft? If you had to each pick one Senior Bowl player you think we’ll draft, who would it be?”

Chris Pokorny: “I think we'll see the team draft at least two players from the Senior Bowl, with hopefully one of them being O.J. Howard. I could also see Josh Dobbs being selected if he's still there in a later round. But where I think we'll really see the impact is the undrafted free agent class after the draft. Those players will have a relationship with Hue Jackson and the Browns already, so if they come calling, they might feel like they have a better 'in' with them than they would with other clubs.”

rufio: “I wouldn't be shocked if we drafted a Senior Bowl guy or two, but I couldn't tell you who.”

Mike Krupka: “I think the max would be 2 players and if I had to pick it would be.”

Matt Wood: “There is so much smoke around Dobbs it almost seems like too much. But he makes sense. I would think the Browns will start taking Senior Bowl guys later in the draft that they think could help the team. Probably guys that took coaching well, fit scheme, etc. It only makes sense that they would have developed some relationships and use those.”

Zach Miller: “I'll say we end up with 2 senior bowl players. I'll go Zay Jones, WR & Jon Toth, C.”

Q (Chris): “From our community, someone felt a discussion on smoke screens, putting information out there, and the possible motive behind such a release would be an interesting topic. Do you think the Browns are big geniuses putting things out there with an ulterior motive?”

Josh Finney: “I think that this is the first regime in the modern Browns era that didn't have enormous leaks, and I absolutely love the smokescreens they've put out. The Browns have been heavily linked to every QB in this draft (except for Chad Kelly, who they wonderfully have been mum on) and none of the big moves they've made (such as the OL signings, Britt signings, internal trades, etc) have had even the slightest hint of a link.

Right now, no one really knows what the Browns are doing. (Unless they're really infighting over taking Garrett or Trubisky at 1 and working the phone lines in earnest to move up, which I find unlikely) Glass half full; so far, the new regime has been much better at following their own strategy.”

Zach Miller: “I've loved the new regime's strategy when it comes to leaked information. So far the information that has been linked to the Browns' draft strategy goes in 10,000 different directions, as it should. It remains to be seen what they end up with, but if they pull of some solid moves, and use these screens as a basis to pulling them, then it's a job well done.”

Matt Wood: “I think the smokescreen stuff is simple, why not see if someone wants to get stupid in the 48 hours before the draft. What if Chicago offered two firsts, a second and some late picks to drop down two spots? I think the Browns would do it. I think this FO is smart enough to realize that no DE will transform a franchise so extra picks would be worth the drop, expecially if they could still get a top three player. At this point, what is the downside of leaking rumors? I don't see one. They have their plan set, now start messing with everyone.”

rufio: “I don't know how much the Browns are floating things out there to stir up rumors and whatnot. I get the impression that NFL teams don't buy in to that hype as much as the fans and media do, but since everything we get is sort of filtered through the media and catered to us as an audience who loves a good rumor or conspiracy smokescreen theory I am not surprised that we are hearing all of this. There is an audience clamoring for rumors, someone is going to bring them rumors.

However, I will say that this Browns regime seems pretty good about keeping their true intentions secret. They seem to me less like they are trying to float rumors on purpose to create havoc and manipulate the market, and more like they are just very good at keeping their true intentions hidden while thoroughly exploring their options. They probably have reached out to teams to see what it would take to trade up. And they should, why wouldn't you want to know? At the very worst, you find out more about the trade market and can establish a trade value chart based on actual moves you could have made (and not use Jimmy Johnson's). The more you learn and explore, the more you can evaluate the process, and then DePo can do his thing to try to exploit inefficiencies and beat the other 31 teams at whatever that process is. Trades, drafting, whatever.

So in my opinion it probably isn't active pot-stirring that we are doing, but more of a sit back and let rumors create themselves kind of thing. More detached and analytical (surprise!) and less manipulative. Maybe I'm wrong. But at the very least, they seem more together and less leaky then past regimes.”

Mike Krupka: “I think the ‘smokescreen’ wafting out of Berea is masterful. Given our draft history and our ‘analytic’ front office, I think the league is spooked and it's playing to our advantage. I think the Browns represent a ‘wild card’ because we have so many needs, such a storied struggle at QB and then there's the notion hat nobody really knows what we're doing because ‘they're the analytic / Harvard team.’

Do I think the Browns brass are smart? Absolutely. Do I think they are orchestrating this entire swoon fest for Mitch? Absolutely. I think they are trying to maximize their position as much as possible and will entertain and proactive seek out compensation that helps us get who they want AND add more players / picks / value.”


Thanks to everybody who participated and took the time to read!