The quarterback interviews took place today at the NFL Combine, and right off the bat, the Top 4 quarterbacks under consideration — Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield, and Sam Darnold — were asked about the possibility of the Cleveland Browns selecting them.
A few questions in, Allen was asked how he would go about turning a franchise like the Browns around if he was selected by them.
“I don’t know because I’ve never done it before, but I’d go in there with everything that I have and try to instill a winning mindset and that type of attitude, try and become a leader of the team, getting with the vets of the locker room and understanding what we needed to do to try to turn things around. A couple years ago, Wyoming went 2-10, the next year we went 8-6, won the Mountain West division title, so I’m not saying that was the same situation, but I’ve been in something very similar and it’s football. I love football. Everything I can do to play this game I’m going to do and if they’re willing to step out on a ledge and take me with the No. 1 overall pick, I’m going to give them everything that I have.”
Is there an ambition to be the No. 1 or No. 4 overall pick? Allen also discussed the benefits that would mean if it was Cleveland making the pick, and how they could quickly go in the right direction:
“It’s every kid’s dream to be drafted No. 1. I think cleveland’s got things going in the right direction, they’ve got all the pieces, a lot of draft picks early on, a lot of cap space to go get guys in free agency. So I definitely think that it’s a good spot to be in if you’re fortunate enough to be taken by them, whether it be at 1 or 4. I definitely would embrace that opportunity to be the No. 1 overall pick, obviously that every quarterback would love to be that. It’s no different for me.”
Lastly, Allen was asked if he would be OK if the Browns asked him to sit for a year.
“Absolutely. I’m definitely OK with any scenario that’s getting thrown my way. I’ve had a lot of adversity throughout my college career and high school career, so sitting would obviously be different. It’s something that I’ve never done. But obviously getting in practice situations, you’re not going to get many reps and start developing a plan how you’re going to continue to get better with those limited reps and that’s staying after practice, grabbing somebody from the scout team throwing for an extra 25, 30 minutes and that’s learning as much in the offense as you can in the offseason and leading up helping whoever the starter is and at the same time learning yourself.”
Josh Allen, on potentially being drafted by the #Browns— 92.3 The Fan (@923TheFan) March 3, 2018
"I definitely think that it’s a good spot to be in if you’re fortunate enough to be taken by them, whether it be at 1 or 4." pic.twitter.com/rbnL0ka7uu
Rosen was asked right away about him disputing a report that said he wouldn’t go to Cleveland. How big of a challenge would that be to play for the Browns?
“I think you just have to go in there and play the game you know and play to your best capabilities. To that report, I don’t really know anything about Cleveland. I’ve never been there. Haven’t really talked to their coaching staff yet. I have a meeting with them tonight. So it’s impossible to formulate opinions when you haven’t really done any research on the actual place. I’m probably going to visit there, hang out with them, and whoever picks me, I’ll be excited to play for whoever wants to.”
He was later asked if the idea of going to the 0-16 Browns was daunting.
“The NFL is a very daunting organization. Every team you go to has its own unique set of challenges, and the Browns have a unique set of their own challenges. Every team has their own. Wherever I end up, I’m excited to take on those challenges and hopefully overcome some obstacles.”
Mayfield’s first question was about being selected by the Browns, and he gave a very confident answer:
“That would be a chance to play football, I’d love that. First things first, they’d get a winner, if anybody’s going to turn that franchise around, it’s going to me. They’re close, they’re very close, they’ve got the right pieces they just need that one guy and quarterback make the difference.’’
Speaking on criticisms of his height, he said it doesn’t matter at this point.
“Height doesn’t matter, you see guys like Tyrod Taylor, Brees, Russell Wilson, they’ve proven that it doesn’t matter. If you want to say anything else I’ve got three years of tape you can watch. Height doesn’t matter at that point, I think I had less batted balls at the line of scrimmage than they other guys here and I’m pretty sure I’m a shorter guy too, so it doesn’t matter.’’
As far as being a backup initially goes, he said he’s not going to settle for anything. At the end of the day, the best man wins, and he’ll fulfill whatever role he needs to.
“First things first, whatever team I go to, I’m not going to settle for a backup job, I’ve never been like that and I never will, I’m going to push that person in front of me. What it comes down is the best man’s going to win, I know that, but everybody has a role on the team and if you’re not pushing those guys around you to be better, you’re not doing it right.’’
Last up is Darnold, who kept it rather vague when asked about the Browns.
“If Cleveland takes me No. 1, that would be a great opportunity, that goes for any team. It’s always been a dream of mine to play in the NFL and I think turning a franchise around is hard, but I’m always up for a challenge. It’s another opportunity to show why I’m a good quarterback and why I think I’m a good quarterback.’’
He’s the only one of the main quarterbacks not throwing this week at the NFL Combine, and here is how he defended that decision, including the fact that it was not for medical reasons:
“I felt like it was the best decision for me. ... I’m going to throw at my Pro Day and I think that’s a good opportunity for teams to be able to look at how I can spin it.”
Lastly, Darnold added that he doesn’t plan on changing his throwing motion:
“The motion I have is what got me to this point, and I really haven’t gotten into trouble with it. It doesn’t change how fast I get the ball out. If I need to shorten up and get the ball in right now, I’m able to shorten my release and get it to them. But if I need to throw it downfield, I’ve had a tendency of really cocking back and trying to let it go, where I just have to get my hip through more. That’s something I’ve been working on, but I don’t think it’s changing. My throwing motion is fine.”