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Recap: Browns take QB Baker Mayfield, CB Denzel Ward in 1st round

Cleveland stays put at No. 1 and No. 4 overall and come away with their top quarterback and cornerback.

NFL: NFL Draft Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns kept both of their Top 5 picks to begin the 2018 NFL Draft and selected two positions of need: quarterback and cornerback. People may have some mixed feelings about the picks themselves, but I know a lot of fans love what the club did. Here is how the team’s two first-round picks were used:

When the Browns made the call to Mayfield, GM John Dorsey and head coach Hue Jackson briefly left the war room to give him the good news:

And then here was the reaction from Mayfield’s side of things. He was spending the night with his family and friends back home. It’s the second year in a row that the Browns’ first overall pick — last year being DE Myles Garrett — opted to stay at home as opposed to attending the draft.

After taking Mayfield, the New York Giants stayed at No. 2 and took RB Saquon Barkley. That allowed the New York Jets to probably feel validated by their pre-draft trade, as QB Sam Darnold fell right into their laps. Cleveland had their choice of defensive prospects — DE Bradley Chubb, CB Minkah Fitzpatrick, or Ward — and they went with the Ohio State product.

There were rumors earlier in the day that the Browns might trade up to acquire a third first-round pick for the second year in a row, but nothing ever materialized. Perhaps the fact that some of the offensive line prospects were selected earlier than anticipated put a dent in that plan.

One thing we learned, via Mike Silver of the NFL Network, is that the Browns loved RB Rashaad Penny and might have taken him at No. 33 overall, had the Seahawks not done so at the end of round one. Also, the Baltimore Ravens jumped to No. 32 and selected QB Lamar Jackson with the final pick of the first round, getting that fifth-year option and their successor to QB Joe Flacco in the AFC North.

The last time the Browns drafted a cornerback and a quarterback in the same first round were Justin Gilbert and Johnny Manziel. Let’s pray that the tandem of Ward and Mayfield aren’t anything like that disaster was.

The DBN Big Board

If we are looking at the DBN Cumulative Big Board that we compiled prior to the draft (a panel of our staff members, plus the community), then it is a pretty big “mission accomplished.”

  • Mayfield (Ranked #1, picked at No. 1)
  • Ward (Ranked #6, picked at No. 4)

If you eliminate the quarterbacks when Cleveland was up at No. 4, the only prospect the team passed on who our panelists preferred was DE Bradley Chubb. But we are talking about a one spot difference, so there isn’t much at all to complain about.

Press Conference from John Dorsey and Hue Jackson

Best Talent Still Available

The Browns still have three second-round picks. They’ll be on the clock first overall on Friday at No. 33, then two spots later at No. 35, and finally the last pick of the second round at No. 64. Here are the top players remaining on our cumulative big board heading into Day 2 (original ranking on the left, player on the right):

13 - DT Maurice Hurst
14 - CB Josh Jackson
15 - DE Harold Landry
19 - RB Derrius Guice
25 - DT Connor Williams
26 - CB Isaiah Oliver
27 - OG Will Hernandez
35 - S Justin Reid
36 - RB Ronald Jones
37 - DE Sam Hubbard
38 - WR Christian Kirk
40 - RB Nick Chubb
41 - WR Courtland Sutton
42 - DE Arden Key
43 - TE Mike Gesicki
44 - CB Carlton Davis
45 - OT Orlando Brown
46 - WR D.J. Chark
47 - OT Jamarco Jones
48 - DT Harrison Phillips
49 - S Ronnie Harrison
51 - WR Dante Pettis
52 - C James Daniels
53 - TE Mark Andrews
54 - WR Anthony Miller
55 - DT Tim Settle
56 - WR Deon Cain
57 - OT Geron Christian

Miss Our Day 1 Coverage?

We did live blogs for 15 hours straight across two different posts. You can re-live them all here if you missed anything: