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What should the Browns do?

\By Terry Pluto • Apr 26, 2017 at 8:30 PM

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Some thoughts about trades and picks for the Cleveland Browns on the eve of the 2017 NFL Draft:


If the New England Patriots do indeed trade Jimmy Garoppolo, give them credit for fooling most everyone about their intentions for their backup quarterback.

Which wouldn't be the first time.

Not a soul in the media predicted the Jamie Collins trade to the Browns for a third-round pick. That happened at mid-season.

When it comes to Garoppolo, who knows? If he isn't traded, you can be sure those who said he was staying in New England will remind us that they were right.

So maybe this discussion of the Browns possibly dealing for Garoppolo is pointless.

It has taken me a while to reach this point, but I would trade the No. 12 pick for Garoppolo.

I like him better than any quarterback in the draft. He is more NFL ready. He has been trained by Tom Brady and New England.

I think back to Brian Hoyer. The St. Ignatius product has limited physical talent. He tends to get hurt.

But Hoyer has a 16-15 record with three different teams. He knows what he's doing on the field. It's why the San Francisco 49ers and Kyle Shanahan signed him. Shanahan was his coordinator with the Browns in 2013 when Hoyer had some success.

I believe Garoppolo has more talent and a stronger arm than Hoyer. I see him bringing the same leadership skills and NFL training to the Browns that also came with Hoyer.

So I'd offer the No. 12 pick for Garoppolo, knowing that a year from now I'd have to sign him to a long-term contract or franchise him. It's expensive and not an ideal situation, but nothing ever is when it comes to the Browns and quarterbacks.


I'm not thinking twice about this ... Myles Garrett.

This is a guy who is loved by old-school scouts and new-school analytics.

The other defensive lineman I like is Solomon Thomas from Stanford.

The analytics types love Derek Barnett from Tennessee.

But I prefer Garrett at No. 1.

In the last 20, there were seven drafts where a quarterback was not the first pick. In general, they worked out well.

I did the research and discovered that five of the seven players picked in those drafts become Pro Bowlers. Only in 2008 (Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco) were top quarterbacks missed when a non-quarterback went No. 1.


Most experts believe Mitchell Trubisky will be gone when the Browns have their No. 12 pick.

That means trading up for a guy with only 13 college starts.

Obviously, if the Browns have Garoppolo, that takes care of the issue.

But let's suppose there is no Garoppolo.

So it would mean trading the No. 12 pick and probably at least a second-rounder and some other picks to move up into the top five.

I have a hard time doing that.

I'd love to see Trubisky fall to No. 12. But no one sees that happening.

In the end, I don't trade up for Trubisky. That's unless the price is modest.


The Browns need a safety.

I keep hearing Ohio State's Malik Hooker will be gone by No. 12.

The same with LSU's Jamal Adams.

Those are two big-time safeties.

I keep wondering if one of them will fall to Number 12. That would be a gift to the Browns.


Let's suppose most reports are correct. Trubisky is the top quarterback on the Browns draft board.

After that, I have no clue who is No. 2.

Before the NFL Combine, I heard they were intrigued by DeShone Kizer.

Lately, it has been Patrick Mahomes.

I never hear Deshaun Watson, so they'll probably pick the Clemson star to trick all of us.

About all I'm convinced of is the Browns will come up with a quarterback somewhere in the first round.

Remember, they have the 33rd pick (first in the second round).

They have a total of five second-rounders in 2017-2018. They can move up into the first round if they see a quarterback they want.


If the Browns don't use the 12th pick to add a quarterback, then what?

I mentioned the Adams/Hooker possibility, but let's suppose both safeties are gone.

I've heard some draft experts attach O.J. Howard to the Browns, and I'm intrigued. He appears to be a big tight end who can catch a lot of passes in the NFL.

These days, tight ends can be just as valuable as receivers.

ESPN's Todd McShay called Howard, "One of the most complete TE prospects in years with the ability to align as a traditional TE or split out wide."

I love Mike Williams because I love big receivers, even if they aren't exceptionally fast. Williams is about 6-foot-4 and seems to play even taller.

I'm not as excited about Corey Davis as some. The Western Michigan star could be the first receiver picked. He had surgery on two ligaments in his ankle. That was in January. He is supposed to be healthy now.

I prefer Williams.

I like Zay Jones from East Carolina. He caught 156 passes ... that's right, 156 passes in one season. He had only six drops. He's not a first-round pick, but he's very intriguing despite his lack of speed.


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