Jan 6, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston (5) pretends to drop the Coaches Trophy after the 2014 BCS National Championship game against the Auburn Tigers at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Many expect the Cleveland Browns to draft a quarterback #4 overall in this year’s draft. Yet the one thing we have learned from the Browns this year is to expect the unexpected. No one expected the coach to get fired after 1 season. Even less expected Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi to be out of the organization after the season. Mike Pettine was not on the radar when the coaching search started and Ray Farmer was a well respected personnel guy who was going to get a chance at the big chair, GM job, at some point in time, just not this year and not with the Browns. All of that changed and with it comes the possibility of changing how we think about the up coming draft and the quarterback position. Lets look at hypothetical situations that could lead the Browns to looking at a QB in 2015 draft instead of the 2014 draft.
2014 Draft Picks 1 – 3
With the first 3 picks the Texans, Rams and Jaguars have needs in a variety of areas. The Texans and Jags need a quarterback and could easily select two of the supposed top 3, Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles. The Rams could look to replace Sam Bradford but are reportedly looking to give him another season and a better opportunity to succeed coming off his injury. Theoretically the Rams could take a QB or could trade down with the Raiders or Vikings who also have QB needs. If not the Rams most likely will look at a offensive tackle or wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Jadeveon Clowney is a unique talent but the Rams strength is their front 4 pass rush, passing on Clowney would be difficult but understandable given their current talent level. For this we will assume that at least 2 QBs and a offensive tackle have been selected in the first 3 picks. Three QBs being selected would only strengthen this hypothetical.
2014 Cleveland Browns Selection #4 Overall
With the Browns down to the last of the big 3 quarterbacks, at this point it could be any one of the three, or none of them, the team looks in a different direction. This is especially true if the team is not sold on the remaining QB options, who knows what they think of all 3 of them as of now anyways. They could look to draft Clowney and put him in as a 3-4 defensive end, which we did in our weekly Mock Draft, draft Watkins and put him across from Josh Gordon or draft and offensive tackle to solidify the offensive line. They could also take another tact, trade down. While many Browns fans would not be excited about this possibility it could be the best chance to make a play for a QB in the ’15 draft. Atlanta, Tampa Bay and others would be greatly interested in trading up for Clowney. The Browns could attempt to make a bidding war between, especially the Falcons and Bucs who play in the same division. Trading #4 for either #6 or #7 and a ’15 first rounder would make sense for both teams. The Falcons, in a more win now mode, could make the move to jump the Raiders and keep the Bucs from getting the star defender in the draft. At minimum the Browns could acquire the Falcons 2nd rounder this year and a little bit more. Yet with Clowney’s unique talent level expect a trade that gets the Browns a ’15 first rounder.
2014 Cleveland Browns Selection #6 Overall
We won’t get too crazy here and have the Browns trade back again but the Vikings may be interested in moving up for the last QB of the top 3, if the Raiders do not select him. They could have some concern of the Bucs making him their selection if they are not sold on Mike Glennon. But for the sake of this hypothetical we have all 3 quarterbacks off the board, a offensive tackle and Clowney. The Browns now can select from Watkins or the remaining offensive tackle, either Robinson or Matthews. Most Browns fans want Watkins if a QB is not selected so we give the Browns that selection. Watkins adds to Gordon and Jordan Cameron to comprise a great core for Brian Hoyer in ’14.
2014 Cleveland Browns Selection #26 Overall
If the Browns are not able to secure a ’15 first rounder in trading down at the top of the draft, and do not select a QB, we fully expect this pick to be traded for a ’15 first. The Browns could still look to move this pick to a team looking to move up from the second round to pick up a falling player. Adding a mid 2nd rounder and a 2nd rounder next year could be fair value for this pick. That would leave the Browns with 2 ’15 first rounders and 2 ’15 second rounders.
2014 Cleveland Browns Two Second Round Selections
If the Browns don’t find anyone they love in the second round they could move a pick for a ’15 first rounder. It is a deep draft for wide receivers but drafting a second after Watkins wouldn’t make sense. With these two picks they could pick up a running back, Carlos Hyde, and an offensive lineman. If they trade one of these they still would of made 2 picks in the first two rounds.
2 Round Overall Hypothetical ’14 Draft
Originally – 2 first rounders and 1 second rounder
Hypothetical – Sammy Watkins, Carlos Hyde, 2 additional first rounder and 1 additional second rounder in 2015
Obviously many things must happen for these things to take place. All or some of these moves would help the Browns in the drive to acquire a high level QB. In 2015 Marcus Mariotta and Jameis Winston, as well as others are suppose to come out the Browns would have a number of assets to acquire one of them. What would you think of only getting 2 picks and none a QB in the first 2 rounds? Is the possibility of adding a picks next year, if the team isn’t sold on a QB this year intriguing to you?