The 2018 NFL Draft officially begins for the Cleveland Browns and the rest of the teams in the NFL tonight at 8:00 PM ET. We’ve been busy the past few days preparing for our draft coverage and speculating about which players the Browns might be interested in drafting. The mock drafts that are staff completed for the first round (and part of the second round) can be found here. We also did Cleveland Browns Big Boards, ranking the top 40 players we’d like to see our team draft.
We will have all of your Browns-related coverage on the draft here at Dawgs By Nature throughout the weekend. There will be individual posts about each draft pick that Cleveland makes, or any other significant news. This thread will act as a “live blog” of sorts, with short one-liners about the latest small rumors, picks, or trades involving Cleveland or other NFL teams. You should also use the comments section as your NFL Draft open thread! (Newest updates will be at the top of the live blog below)
Posted by Dawgs By Nature: For Cleveland Browns Fans on Thursday, April 26, 2018
Browns NFL Draft Live Blog
6:52 PM: No one is saying they know who the pick is, but ESPN’s Josina Anderson still remains confident that it will be QB Baker Mayfield:
6:45 PM: I often say this during my live blogs, but this feels like the calm before the storm. Everyone is getting their final ducks in a row, and I’m sure the last thing teams and front offices are thinking about right now is what the media needs to know. It’s decision-time or final negotiation time.
6:26 PM: It was around this time last year that we had official confirmation from DE Myles Garrett’s agent that the Browns informed him they would be selecting him. Obviously Sashi Brown was in charge then, and John Dorsey is in charge now, so I don’t anticipate learning anything official too prematurely.
6:10 PM: OK, so I can definitely say that my draft day blogging setup is way more comfortable than what Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland has going:
6:00 PM: A reminder that we will have a new live blog posted at 7:00 PM, and then the draft begins at 8:00 PM. Don’t worry, I’ve gotten my mini-meals in today, but I’ve also probably had way too much sugar kicks that will come back to bite me later.
5:50 PM: Moderately interesting that Lane Adkins’ source still hasn’t reached him back about all the Baker Mayfield speculation (his source, up until today, was all on Sam Darnold it seems).
Still have yet to hear from our fly on the wall about the Mayfield speculation ---- been on Darnold, not moving off yet— LA (@TheRealLA__) April 26, 2018
5:39 PM: Following up on Mort’s report, Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports says that not everyone who works for the Browns knows who the guy will be at number one. That might be a tad unconventional and lean toward the point that John Dorsey is trying to target and control just who the organization’s leakers may be.
One league source tells me there are several coaches and personnel people within the #Browns building who still DO NOT KNOW who the team is picking at 1. John Dorsey continues to be coy -- to a degree internally and certainly externally. https://t.co/BHTGlYOylY— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) April 26, 2018
5:36 PM: This doesn’t change much, but a slight correction by Chris Mortensen on what he said on-air earlier:
Just to clarify and correct, while Browns GM John Dorsey has known who he would pick about 6 weeks ago, he still wanted an al-inclusive process for organizational unity. He didn't formally reveal it with owners Jimmy & Dee Haslam until this week, per team sources.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) April 26, 2018
5:05 PM: You have to love Browns fans, already tailgating for the team’s draft party in the Muni Lot.
4:42 PM: Ever-the-cryptic one, here is what Lane Adkins of The OBR is saying:
I believe nothing right now— LA (@TheRealLA__) April 26, 2018
4:38 PM: Per Robert Klemko, one of the unique things that Browns GM John Dorsey does is send recruiting videos out to undrafted free agents he wants to lure to sign with Cleveland after the draft. Here is a sample of the second half of those videos:
One of my favorite quirks about John Dorsey, Browns GM: As far as I know, he's the only NFL exec who sends recruiting videos to potential undrafted FAs before the draft. The 1st part is personalized to the player, and lauds his career. This is the rest. Kinda gets you jacked up! pic.twitter.com/3Bbo7nabsy— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) April 26, 2018
4:02 PM: On the NFL Network, Ian Rapoport said that he just talked to another GM who knows John Dorsey well, and that GM said, “[Dorsey’s] not taking Mayfield, that’s false.” The insinuation is that basically, he’s just not the type of player Dorsey would take. Given all the other reports, it’s probably just a case where a GM will end up being surprised, but I thought I’d point it out.
Many people are using Mortenson’s timeline earlier of when the leaks started, and thinking that Hue Jackson leaked all the Baker Mayfield stuff and is being set up. That’s all crazy talk in my opinion (him being set up), but I do believe he or a coordinator leaked worked.
3:54 PM: This means nothing, but I always love finding the desk that the Browns have at Selection Square. Although I don’t see any team-colored M&Ms this year, the Browns posted the following photo on Twitter:
The Giants are on our left, and the Texans are directly behind us. Maybe our representatives can turn around and thank Houston again for the No. 4 overall pick.
3:35 PM: According to ESPN’s Chris Mortenson, Browns GM John Dorsey made the decision on who he would select at No. 1 overall “six weeks ago.” He then told Jimmy and Dee Haslam about a month ago who that players would be, and then Hue Jackson learned of the decision two days ago.
3:00 PM: The great Mary Kay Cabot has spoken, and she, also, is calling for the Browns to select QB Baker Mayfield at No. 1 overall:
At one point, the Brown narrowed the field to Mayfield and Josh Allen, and now I firmly believe Mayfield will be the pick shortly after 8 p.m. in the 2018 NFL Draft. I do not buy, as some have speculated, that the Mayfield buzz is designed to bait the Jets or another team into trading up to No. 1. Based on conversations with multiple people around the league who are closely connected with the quarterbacks, I believe the Browns genuinely like Mayfield, 23, and believe he can be their quarterback of the future.
2:30 PM: I don’t know exactly how many credible “sources” Michael Lombardi has, but he says he’s hearing the Browns will trade out of No. 4 overall, but don’t want to move too far down.
Hearing Browns will trade 4, but only when they are on the clock, not before the pick and they don't want to go down too far.— Michael Lombardi (@mlombardiNFL) April 26, 2018
2:15 PM: A little programming alert: Ezweav will have live draft coverage on Facebook Live starting at 4:00 PM. We will be sure to link to it here as well as embedding the feed while it’s active so you can listen in the background. He will also be covering it on Facebook Live Friday at 4:00 PM, and then Saturday at 10:00 AM. A whole weekend of fun!
2:00 PM: Because the New York Giants pick at No. 2, we need to lightly monitor the latest rumors surrounding them as well. Earlier in the day, it sounded like a trade out from that spot was a definite possibility, but Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network just reported otherwise:
#Giants coach Pat Shurmur told reporters he’s “planning on picking at No. 2.” At this point, it seems like: 1. There isn’t a lot of interest in coming all he way up to 2. 2. The Giants want to make the pick.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 26, 2018
1:55 PM: Following up on Tony Pauline’s previous post, he also discusses a trade scenario that would see the Browns vacate both of their picks at the top of the second round in order to move up to No. 18 overall, where they would select the replacement for LT Joe Thomas:
One that could very well happen is the Seattle Seahawks getting their wish and trading out of the first round. As we suggested in our mock draft the Cleveland Browns will move up to the 18th pick and select offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey or Kolton Miller, whichever player is available. Seattle would then receive both of the Browns draft picks at the top of round two, satisfying their desire to move out of round one.
That rumor is also reflected in Pauline’s final mock draft, which has the Browns taking QB Baker Mayfield at No. 1, DE Bradley Chubb at No. 4, and then OT Mike McGlinchey at No. 18.
1:50 PM: We’ve got another insider pointing to QB Baker Mayfield, and this time it is Tony Pauline of Draft Analyst and The OBR. He actually names specific people of influence within the Browns’ front office:
Scot McCloughan and Elliott Wolf were pushing hard for Baker Mayfield in the Browns war room and it seems they may get their way. As someone told me, “McCloughan got John Dorsey to believe Mayfield will be the next Brett Farve.”
Brett Favre, you say? Well, Mayfield did post this re-enactment last night:
“There are those people who are in your corner no matter what, you can’t do any wrong, even when you do wrong. And then there are those people that no matter what you do they’re going to dislike you and that’s not going to change.” - Brett Favre #DraftEve #MMO pic.twitter.com/6bCE9SxqI6— Baker Mayfield (@bakermayfield) April 26, 2018
1:24 PM: This is a good time to remind everyone that we have a fresh batch of “2018 Offseason Champs” shirts in stock for DBN fans to order! Visit here to buy them before they fly off the shelves like they did back in free agency. When we find out the draft haul the Browns get at No. 1, No. 4, No. 33, and No. 35, the shirt will definitely be something you can wear proudly to support your Cleveland Browns.
1:05 PM: Thanks to our very own Matt Wood, who talked about the NFL Draft today on SB Nation Radio! Give it a listen below:
1:00 PM: ESPN has Josina Anderson as their insider covering the Browns in Berea this year, and she also is convinced that Cleveland will go with QB Baker Mayfield:
It's my feeling, barring any unexpected new info or proposals surfacing & based off multiple conversations I've had on & off the record up through the crack of dawn this am, that the #Browns have settled on Okla QB Baker Mayfield for the #1 pick in the #NFL Draft tonight at 8pm.— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) April 26, 2018
12:50 PM: Hat tip to davedog09, who listened to 92.3 the Fan and gave this recap of what NFL insider Benjamin Allbright said during an interview about the Browns and No. 1 overall:
Benjamin Allbright just said on 92.3 that he had [Sam] Darnold on his one mock a year last night – woke up to the phone ringing and a “rock solid source” that said “it’s [Baker] Mayfield, put it in stone.” When asked if this “rock solid” source has ever been wrong, Albright chuckled a little and said “ahhh, no.”
12:22 PM: According to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, the Browns are “shopping” both CB Jamar Taylor and TE Randall Telfer. We already knew about the Taylor rumor, and with Cleveland signing a blocking tight end in free agency, it’s no surprise that they are looking to move Telfer too. However, I can’t imagine Telfer having any value to the point where someone would trade for him.
Considering Telfer is supposed to be announcing the Browns’ third-round draft picks, that makes things a bit awkward for two reasons. One, he may not be with the club much longer. Two, the Browns don’t even own a third-round pick (shrugs).
12:09 PM: Good afternoon, Browns fans! We’re now under eight hours away from the first round kicking off. Lane Adkins of The OBR has some subtle nuggets posted on his Twitter account today. Disclaimer: I acknowledge that much of this is me “reading between the lines” with his comments, but here are my takeaways from him:
- He’s preferred Sam Darnold at No. 1 all along, but acknowledges the noise about Baker Mayfield. However, as of noon, he said “I’m still waiting on something before I go full Mayfield.”
- In response to a comment stating the Browns have legitimate interest in CB Denzel Ward, Lane responded that this is true.
11:45 AM: Over at SB Nation, they have a great feature that looks at (in bar chart form) the most-selected player in mock drafts for teams. Here is how the Browns’ chart panned out at No. 1 and No. 4 overall — but remember that this data was prior to all of the Mayfield rumors today:
11:30 AM: Here is the illustration that the Plain Dealer used for 2018 to preview the NFL Draft:
11:24 AM: I have finished all my pre-writes, which consist of the following players: QB Sam Darnold, QB Baker Mayfield, QB Josh Allen, RB Saquon Barkley, DE Bradley Chubb, CB Minkah Fitzpatrick, and CB Denzel Ward. That is my pool of seven players I think are most likely to be taken by the Browns if they stay put at No. 1 and No. 4 overall. If I hear another name, I will be pretty shocked (but a trade down from No. 4 would not be too shocking).
A reminder that only 22 prospects will actually be at the NFL Draft in Dallas, with the opportunity to walk out on stage when their name is called. Of the seven players I mentioned, six of them will be in Dallas. The only player who won’t be there is Mayfield, who will be watching the draft at home with his family. But when it comes to getting a live shot inside his home, ESPN’s bulletin boards indicate that he declined that option.
11:05 AM: The final mock drafts for Mel Kiper and Todd McShay are now published. Let’s start with Kiper:
No. 1 - QB Baker Mayfield: You heard it from ESPN’s Adam Schefter this morning. Baker to Cleveland is all the talk. Josh Allen isn’t helped by the offensive tweets that surfaced overnight. Mayfield could be ready to compete with Tyrod Taylor immediately.
No. 4 - DE Bradley Chubb: That makes elite pass-rushers in back-to-back drafts for the Browns, who got Myles Garrett at No. 1 last year.
Kiper previously had QB Josh Allen going to Cleveland in every one of his mock drafts, so he made the concession for Mayfield based on all of the reports today. What about McShay? Despite the “news” today, he’s sticking to his original guns with QB Sam Darnold.
No. 1 - QB Sam Darnold: I’ve had Darnold here in every mock I’ve done, dating back to my Way-Too-Early mock in May 2017, so why waver now? In my opinion, he’s the best QB in this draft. We’ll find out if John Dorsey agrees tonight.
No. 4 - DE Bradley Chubb: Chubb is my No. 2-ranked prospect and the best all-around defensive player in the draft. Line him up opposite Myles Garrett (along with Emmanuel Ogbah) and Cleveland all of a sudden has arguably the most talented young pass rush in the NFL. This would be a dream start for the Browns.
10:40 AM: Now we have an original backer of QB Sam Darnold basically conceding that he was wrong on the Browns, and that we should be mentally getting ready for the pick being QB Baker Mayfield. In case you’re keeping track, the rumors today have been 100% in favor of Mayfield.
If I were a Browns fan, I'd start prepping for Mayfield.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) April 26, 2018
I was wrong on Darnold.
10:26 AM: To give you a little insight into what I’m doing right now as Editor of Dawgs By Nature, in between me checking Twitter and doing some live updates here, I am pre-writing about 7 or 8 articles on the most likely options for the Browns at either No. 1 or No. 4 overall. I just finished up the top three quarterbacks. The idea is that as soon as the pick is announced, I can hit publish on the appropriate post. With how fast-and-furious draft day moves, and the amount of traffic and social media you can capitalize on, it’s necessary prep work.
10:18 AM: Per Matt Miller of Bleacher Report, as of 10 AM, he is hearing QB Baker Mayfield at No. 1 to the Browns, RB Saquon Barkley at No. 2 to the Giants, and then QB Sam Darnold at No. 3 to the Jets.
10:10 AM: Well...OK then. According to Lance Zierlein of NFL.com, he’s acting like Baker Mayfield at No. 1 is definitely happening, and that the real buzz is what the New York Giants will do at No. 2 overall.
Baker is going #1. That’s happening, but figuring out 2 will be extremely difficult since the buzz is that the Giants don’t love these QBs. The Bills could move to 2 but would they take Allen or Darnold? Do we live in a world where it’s Mayfield, Allen and THEN Darnold?— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) April 26, 2018
10:07 AM: When it comes to weird sabotage on draft day with agendas (i.e. Jeremy Tunsil and Gareon Conley), that leads me to totally believe something like that could be happening for QB Josh Allen (unrelated to the Browns, of course):
A theory two people in the past hour now have floated: another team plotted to have Josh Allen’s racially insensitive tweets put out just before the draft in order to increase the chances he would fall in the draft to that team.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 26, 2018
9:54 AM: We will be referencing Dane Brugler’s draft guide a lot as the Browns’ picks come in, so I always like to look at his final mock draft too. Like Mayock earlier, he also has the Browns taking QB Sam Darnold and DE Bradley Chubb with their first two picks:
No. 1 - QB Sam Darnold: The Browns are keeping their quarterback choice close to the vest. Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield at No. 1 overall wouldn’t be surprising, but Darnold is the draft’s top quarterback and remains the favorite to be the Browns’ choice.
No. 4 - DE Bradley Chubb: The most important position on the roster is quarterback, which Cleveland will address at No. 1. The second-most important position? The position that gets after the quarterback. And Chubb is the best pass rusher in the draft.
9:20 AM: This morning, Albert Breer of The MMQB posted draft rumors/nuggets for every team that holds a first-round pick. Here is a recap of what he said about Cleveland:
- The strongest link to a QB is Josh Allen, because “Jimmy Haslam has been asking his peers about him” and offensive coordinator Todd Haley also likes him.
- With that said, QB Baker Mayfield has also been in the discussion, and other teams “can’t believe the Browns would not take QB Sam Darnold.”
- At No. 4 overall, “buzz is building” that Cleveland wants DE Bradley Chubb, but they also “love” CB Denzel Ward. If they trade down, “keep an eye on” OT Mike McGlinchey.
9:15 AM: Every year, Mike Mayock of the NFL Network only posts one mock draft, which he unveiled Wednesday night. Here is how he sees the first round unfolding for Cleveland:
No. 1 - QB Sam Darnold: I believe Sam Darnold is the future of the Cleveland Browns’ franchise. I think the beauty of this pick is they signed Tyrod Taylor in the offseason, who I think is an underrated starter. Darnold can develop at his own pace. If he’s ready Week 1, that’s awesome. If he sits for a year, that’s fine too.
No. 4 - DE Bradley Chubb: You pair him with Myles Garrett and suddenly you’ve got the most dynamic edge rushing duo in all of football. He’s gonna impact the game on all three downs, and if you look at the Browns, you’ve got your quarterback of the future and this young defense is better than most think.
9:05 AM: I alluded earlier that Hue Jackson and the Browns’ coordinators have seen the team’s final draft board. If you are wondering where that nugget came from, it was from Steve Wyche of the NFL Network, who is the lucky guy to be in Berea this year from the media.
I just reported @nflnetwork that Head Coach Hue Jackson is fully in the loop with the @Browns draft plans. He has seen the final draft board as have the coordinators, some personnel staffers and ownership, which has signed off on everything.— Steve Wyche (@wyche89) April 25, 2018
This morning, Wyche also adds that QB Baker Mayfield, among others, are in play for the No. 1 pick. That doesn’t mean much to me other than the media still has no idea who the pick will be (because we know that Cleveland is not flip-flopping on whoever they are taking).
8:50 AM: Supposedly, Browns GM John Dorsey kept has kept his intentions at No. 1 overall to himself for the past few months, so much of the back-and-forth rumors/buzz we’ve heard about is just gossip. But reports say that other people were brought into the fold on Wednesday to discuss all possible scenarios (trade downs, scheme fits, etc). According to Mike Silver of the NFL Network, it was actually Sashi Brown who kept Hue Jackson in the dark last year regarding DE Myles Garrett. Silver says that is not the case this year:
Last year Hue Jackson (who desperately wanted Myles Garrett) WAS kept out of the loop—by then-GM Sashi Brown. He found out who Browns were taking 1 overall the morning of the draft. This year with John Dorsey has been a different story. He’s in the loop. All good.— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) April 25, 2018
And although the Browns are still “keeping their decision a secret,” Adam Schefter of ESPN says that head coaches and general managers around the NFL are starting to believe Baker Mayfield will be Cleveland’s pick at No. 1 overall.
Browns continue to keep the decision on their No. 1 pick a secret, but there is a mounting belief from HCs and GMs around the league that Cleveland will take Baker Mayfield.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 26, 2018
8:45 AM: Let’s start off with some quick primer news for tonight. The first round of the draft takes place THURSDAY, APRIL 26TH at 8:00 PM ET. The Browns have 2 picks -- No. 1 and No. 4 overall. Will the Browns stay put with both of their picks, or is there just too much of an incentive to take another haul for the No. 4 pick? We discussed all of that in our roundtable discussion posted today.