It has been an annual tradition leading into the NFL Combine for Mike Mayock to do a 2-3 hour media call with reporters, answering any and all questions about players and teams with respect to the draft. That tradition has now shifted to Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network, because Mayock is the general manager of the Oakland Raiders this year.
Not needing a quarterback any more, the Browns were no longer a focal point of the call, as they have been in years past. However, Cleveland was cited as an example of handling the drafting of a quarterback, when comparing the approach the New York Giants might be taking with replacing Eli Manning:
Q: “Back to the quarterbacks for a second,hypothetically if Haskins and Murray were in the same draft last year with those five guys, where do they shape up compared to the Rosens, Darnolds, Allens, Mayfields? Where would you have these two guys with those two guys in the same draft, and is it possible, could you really see a world where the Giants don’t pick a quarterback two years in a row in the top six?”
Jeremiah: “I’ll start with the first part of the question. In terms of grades, now this is the grade I had on them coming out, not what they’ve done. I have Darnold with the highest grade. Then it was Rosen, then it was Mayfield, and then I gave the same grade to Josh Allen as my fourth quarterback last year as I gave to Kyler Murray this year. So they would be tied for my fourth, and then I would have Haskins would be behind them and then Lamar Jackson would be behind him.
So that would be the order I have stacking those guys in with last year’s class based purely off the grade. It would be -- man, for the Giants, if they don’t take a quarterback again all the way up here, you know, it would be interesting. We saw it, though, with Cleveland, trying to build up the team, and then eventually get that quarterback later on. The difference is that Cleveland didn’t have a capable guy on campus already in Eli Manning, so I think it’s a little different from that standpoint.
It would be something they would have to answer a lot of questions about, I’ll put it to you that way, if they were to escape the top 10 without a quarterback in back-to-back years. My thing is the -- the question isn’t do you take one, it’s if you have one that you like, you might even have to just move up a little bit just to guarantee you get the guy that you like. That’ll be a tough decision for them to make, but it would be very tough on that organization to have had two cracks at it and not come away with a quarterback.”
Jeremiah was asked about what the Browns could do at No. 17 overall. Despite recently tearing his ACL, Jeremiah believes that the ceiling on him is too high for GM John Dorsey to pass up on, even if he can’t play until 2020:
Q: “Just wondering with the Browns if they decide to go defense there, who do you like at No. 17? And would you consider trading up for one of the better defenders?”
Jeremiah: “Yeah, I mean, there’s so much depth and talent in this group. One name that I would keep an eye on is Simmons. Jeffery Simmons to me is one of the -- if healthy, now, he’s coming off the of the ACL, just happened. He’s a top-5 player in this draft, no doubt. To me, he’s one of the three best players in the whole draft. So if you look at John Dorsey and kind of going on upside and trying to go for it, be aggressive, that’s kind of his mantra as of late, Jeffery Simmons would be a home run pick.
Now, there’s the high school video of the issue that he had, and that’s out there. Everything I’ve been told by people that have gone to the school there at Mississippi State, he’s been a model citizen. There have been absolutely no issues there. He’s been on the honor roll. You won’t find anybody to say anything bad about him, but they have to kind of navigate through that. But as a talent, where they’re picking, if for some reason at 17 Jeffery Simmons was there, even though you have to potentially redshirt him for the year, that might be too tempting to pass up in that situation. So that would be one I would keep an eye on. He’s somebody that would be -- man, he would be a dynamic player next to Ogunjobi in there.”
You can read the full transcript of the pre-combine conference here.