It’s April: Daylight gets longer, showers lead to May flowers, WrestleMania is on the calendar and, yes, the NFL Draft rapidly approaches. And as the Draft gets nearer, the din gets louder; separating the truth from the smokescreen becomes a graduate-level exercise. But yet, the league’s most notable pundits spread both with impunity, making it hard to believe practically anything when it comes to predicting what any team is planning for the draft.
For the Cleveland Browns, it’s even more difficult. Not only does the team possess the No. 1 overall selection, but also No. 4. As the draft gets nearer, it’s becoming less and less likely that the Browns use the top selection on any position other than quarterback. But who will that quarterback be? It’s a top-heavy class when it comes to the 2018 rookie quarterbacks and Cleveland’s pick-of-the-litter status adds extra pressure on their ability to get it right (for once). Incessant speculation is the rule, not the exception.
Count the MMQB’s Peter King among the speculators. In this week’s column, he provided insight on the Browns’ plans for the No. 1 pick, and he’s landed on one prospective pro passer: Oh yes, it’s Wyoming’s Josh Allen.
According to King, some degree of friend of Browns general manager John Dorsey believes that Dorsey’s plans are to take Allen at No. 1 (and Penn State running back Saquon Barkley at No. 4). This “Friend of Dorsey,” as King termed it, reportedly said, “I would be surprised if he traded down... This would be his chance to take his two offensive cornerstones for the next eight or 10 years.”
Also notable is what, of this statement, stood out to King: “The most interesting thing there? That FOD thinks Dorsey will not trade... I hope Dorsey’s more about the (relatively) sure things instead of Cleveland leading the league in draft picks,” wrote King.
A lot has already been speculated about the Browns’ quarterback plans, and their plans for the No. 1 pick. There’s the Josh Rosen intrigue, with both sides potentially not interested in one another; his former collegiate coach, Jim Mora, trashed Rosen to King earlier in this week’s column, somehow spinning Rosen’s “He wants to know why,” personality into a liability. There’s Dorsey’s fixation on Baker Mayfield’s 2017 arrest—or rather, its proximity to food trucks. And Sam Darnold has long been linked to Cleveland, dating back to Dorsey’s hire.
But whatever Dorsey and the Browns are thinking, it remains close to the vest. And the group is still doing its due diligence at the quarterback position. They’re meeting with all four prospects in rapid succession, and while some believe that Darnold remains the front runner it is certainly possible that the spate of pro day viewings and pre-draft visits could tip the scales toward or against any of these players.
No matter what, the start of April means that the draft misinformation complex is working overtime, with various anonymous sources providing all kinds of varying nuggets to the reporters on their contact lists. Who is King’s mysterious “Friend of Dorsey,” anyway? We’ll never know; thus, we’ll have no idea how close this friend is or how accurate his or her report of Dorsey’s thought process is. The “friend” thinks Dorsey wants Allen as the new quarterback face in Cleveland’s locker room; meanwhile, the rumor mill grinds on.