Note: This was our annual April Fool's post.
2021 marks the first time in history that the city of Cleveland will host the NFL Draft, but there's another "first" that will be happening along with it: one lucky fan will play general manager (to an extent) and decide who the Browns select with their first round pick.
The Browns will select the fan in the next few weeks. They will have to meet the criteria of being a former season ticket holder to ensure that a rival fan doesn't receive the opportunity. Additionally, the fan must have already been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by April 29.
NBC Sports' Peter King will document the entire experience in a column after the draft, talking about the preparation the fan went through leading up to April 29, as well as the vibe when Cleveland is on the clock.
"Make no mistake about it, this is still Andrew Berry's draft," says King. "They have done all of the homework on their draft board. When Cleveland is on the clock at No. 26, the fan will have to choose from one of the top 10 players remaining on the team's draft board, in consultation with Berry. Ultimately, though, it will be the fan who has the final say."
The one caveat would be if Cleveland receives a trade offer that is too good to pass up -- Berry will make that decision. Also, if Berry sees an opportunity to trade up for a specific player, he will also make that decision; and then the "fan's pick” will be deferred until the second round.
Berry was asked about the motivation for allowing this historic opportunity for a fan:
"I want to help show that even a fan can draft better than say...a Hue Jackson," Berry quipped with a slight smile, likely in response to Jackson's remarks about the organization this past week.
The NFL Draft takes place from April 29-May 1. To sign up for your opportunity to be the lucky fan selected, click here to apply. Note that you must be a former season ticket holder to be eligible.