By trading for a top receiver and a starting quarterback, the Cleveland Browns essentially just drafted Saquon Barkley No. 1 a month ahead of time.
After the barrage of trades John Dorsey made for the Cleveland Browns, it’s important to look into the mirror and repeat the following: Cleveland is not drafting a quarterback first overall.
Say it a few times so it really sticks, because for once the Browns are doing the right thing the right way.
For years the team has been on an endless vision quest to try and find their identity, beginning with finding a franchise quarterback. It’s resulted in nothing more than a meme mocking the Browns for the number of quarterbacks that have come through town. For the record, the number amounts to more wins than Cleveland has had in the last five seasons.
Tyrod Taylor seems destined to be yet another name we all cross off, but this time things feel different. Before, the Browns were going about finding a franchise quarterback like it was closing time at the bar — anyone would do. Dorsey has moved to change this toxic way of thinking almost immediately.
What Dorsey has done is moved Cleveland out of the all too familiar position of needing to draft a quarterback in the first round. More importantly, he’s taken them away from needing to do it with the first overall pick — which can now be used on Saquon Barkley.
And for the crowd saying the Browns still need to draft a quarterback first overall: Dorsey is so meticulous at finding the right quarterback that he surrendered two first rounders so the Kansas City Chiefs could trade up and get Patrick Mahomes last year. That’s not a guy who will settle or the wrong pick just because everyone thinks he has to draft a quarterback. That, if anything, might be another massive indictment of this year’s quarterback class.
Rather than panic and be bullied into making the wrong moves, here’s what the Browns could do now that they have Taylor, Jarvis Landry, and a new cornerback:
- Draft Saquon Barkley No. 1 overall
- Draft either Baker Mayfield or another position of need No. 4 overall
- Trade back into the first-round to draft Lamar Jackson or Mason Rudolph
- Or wait for Jackson to fall and take him with either the 33rd or 35th pick
- Or fortify the offensive and defensive lines with those two picks and wait for a quarterback in 2018 if still needed
That’s not even considering what the Browns could do if they trade the No. 1 pick.
Barkley should and likely will be the pick, though. There’s no way they can do that after all this. He was a fantastic fit for Cleveland before all these trades and looks even better after. An offense that struggled to do anything last year would be bolstered by a guy that very well could be Rookie of the Year. Leonard Fournette and Ezekiel Elliott helped aggressively change the direction their respective teams were headed in just one season. Barkley, by all measures, appears to be better than both.
If winning the offseason means anything, the Cleveland Browns are already working on a banner to unveil Week 1. How perfect that their new franchise running back can help lead the celebration?