It is April 23rd, and draft week is officially underway. The Cleveland Browns will be first up on the clock at No. 1 overall this Thursday, and to this point, all we really know is that they are taking a quarterback. But who? For awhile, I’ve clamored that the safest bet is Sam Darnold. Recent reports have stirred an uptick of rumblings about Josh Allen, much to the dismay of Browns fans. But now, the tide is turning back in favor of Darnold.
It started last week when Mike Mayock of the NFL Network, who is a big fan of Allen’s, said during a conference call that “his gut tells him the Browns will go with Darnold.” And here was his reasoning:
“I really believe -- and this is Mike Mayock talking, not John Dorsey. I have no inside knowledge. My gut tells me that, if you’re choosing between the two, Allen might have the higher ceiling, but you’ve swung and missed so many times in Cleveland at quarterback, can you afford another one with your first pick? Your first pick has got to set the tone, and I think at the end of the day it will be Sam Darnold, and he’s got a little Brett Favre in him, which I think John likes. John likes a little swagger. He’ll make some mistakes and turn the ball over, but at the end of the day, that’s what my gut tells me.”
As you’ll see in our DBN staff roundtable discussion on Wednesday, that’s the same type of mentality I had when it came to selecting Darnold for Cleveland.
Adding fuel to the Darnold train this morning is Peter King of the Monday Morning Quarterback, who posted a first-round mock draft. King mocked Darnold to the Browns at No. 1 overall. He said that Mayock’s comments partially influenced him, but here is the juicy nugget that he also added:
“We’re all prisoners of the people we know in this league. And someone I trust, who is very often right and is very well-connected, told me Sunday it’s not Allen [for the Browns].”
At No. 4 overall, King has the Browns taking DE Bradley Chubb, although that he notes that he really tried to work out a mock scenario in which Cleveland could trade down to take OT Mike McGlinchey as a replacement for the retired Joe Thomas. The last little nugget from King’s article I want to point out concerns the quarterbacks in general:
The final word on the quarterbacks. I asked one longtime and well-connected scout about what he’s hearing about the order of top quarterbacks in this draft. In other words, if teams with a quarterback need could show their boards, what order would they go in? “Allen one, very slightly ahead of Darnold. Then Mayfield. But the people who like Mayfield love Mayfield.” Watch for Arizona trading up on Mayfield if he gets past the Jets and Broncos.
What do you think, Browns fans? Does this give you more comfort in thinking that Cleveland will take Darnold, or do you still feel like you don’t know what in the world will happen?