The Cleveland Browns made some noise to kick off the weekend before the stat of the new league year by agreeing to four separate trades involving NFL veterans. In one of the trades, new GM John Dorsey acquired former Buffalo starter, Tyrod Taylor. I think that deal could shine some light on the team’s draft plans.
First, I’m under the assumption that Taylor was acquired to be a bridge to whichever signal caller the Browns draft in the first round. It wasn’t wise to trade the 65th selection, a potential starter who could have been cost-controlled for the next four years, for a quarterback Bills fans are glad to be moving on from with a year and a $16 million cap hit left on his contract. However, the bigger error would be passing on a rookie quarterback with the 1st or 4th overall selections.
I’d have to imagine the Cleveland brain-trust knows Taylor isn’t a long-term answer so it would make sense that the team was looking for a veteran to run the offense for part of next season until the future of the franchise is dropped into his spot. With that logic, I’d also guess that the Browns would target a veteran who can run the same offense that is imagined for whichever rookie is decided upon.
That’s where the choice of acquiring Taylor gets interesting. He sure isn’t a conventional pocket passer, so why would you spend that kind of draft capital on him if the plan is to insert Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen into the starting spot at some point in the next year? It doesn’t make sense. If the Browns wanted one of those two, it would have made more sense to try to lure Sam Bradford on a one-year deal or to monitor the market on A.J. McCarron in hope of him taking a deal similar to Mike Glennon’s 2017 contract. Heck, even signing Josh McCown would have made more sense.
This leads to me to believe that Cleveland may be targeting one of the more athletic prospects at the position in April and Dorsey thought it was a priority to bring in an athletic placeholder for the immediate future. In this case, the options are Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, and Lamar Jackson.
I don’t prescribe to this theory that Hue Jackson and company are going to be ok taking Penn State running back, Saquon Barkley 1st overall and just seeing who falls to them at 4. That’s a fantasy football mindset that real NFL executives don’t mess around with when dealing with potential franchise quarterbacks. If Allen or Mayfield is the choice, then that player will likely become the 1st overall selection in the draft. If Lamar Jackson is prefered, then the Browns are likely going to have to take him with the 4th pick overall. That wouldn’t be viewed positively by most draft critics, but they can’t mess around if they’ve identified him as the best fit.