A Mistake The Cleveland Browns Must Avoid in 2018 NFL Draft

It’s true for every mock draft you find. And yet, they are all wrong.

No matter what website or expert you use to get your NFL draft coverage, every one of them has the Cleveland Browns drafting a quarterback with the first overall pick; Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold and Josh Allen are the popular choices.

But the unpopular opinion is the one that would help the Browns best: Don’t draft any of them.

This year’s playoffs taught us two things: 1.) Beating Tom Brady is still damn near impossible. 2.) Even a team led by Blake Bortles can make it to the conference championship, and come within four points of a trip to the Super Bowl.

If you put a really good team around a mediocre quarterback you can still have success.

So instead of swinging for the fences looking for that franchise quarterback who will probably struggle in his first season or two anyways, the Browns should try and build around the quarterback position they already have. Which is why, with the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns should select Penn State running back Saquan Barkley.

Barkley is touted as one of the best running back prospects in the last ten years. He can run with a mix of speed and power. He’s a great pass catcher, and he can pass protect. If he can avoid whatever ghastly curse has been placed on the Browns, he can be a pro bowler.

With their No.4 pick the Browns should take Minkah Fitzpatrick, a defensive back from Alabama. Fitzpatrick can play both safety and cornerback. He can slide inside to play nickel back, and his football IQ is through the roof. He’ll start from day one and instantly elevate the Browns’ defense.

With their first two picks the Browns just arguably took the best two players in the draft. And there isn’t a big of risk factor with Barkley and Fitzpatrick as there would be with taking any of the quarterbacks.

I know what some of the arguments will be to taking a running back with the first pick. Look at what guys like Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara did this season making the Pro Bowl, and they weren’t taken the first round.

Very true, you can find good running backs in the later rounds. But the Browns can’t pass up Barkley’s potential of being an elite player. And, the Browns need all the elite skill on the field as they can get.

Cleveland also has the first and third picks in the second round. I would look for a right tackle and wide receiver in those spots.

Most football games are won in the trenches, and adding a high-level rookie on the opposite side of staple Joe Thomas would bolster the offensive line to help protect Barkley and company. Some options for the early second round are Kolton Miller out of UCLA or Brian O’Neil from Pittsburg.

A wide receiver such as Christian Kirk from Texas A&M or Equanimeous St. Brown out of Notre Dame would help whoever is under center next season. Corey Coleman has been hurt his first two years, and I’m not sold Josh Gordon is going to come back and be his vintage self.

So now to the obvious question you’ve probably been asking throughout this entire article.: Who’s their quarterback going to be?

Well I have three options and I can rank them in order of best scenario to worst.

  1. Kirk Cousins – Now that the Redskins have traded for Alex Smith, Captain Kirk will become a free agent, and the most sought after one hands down (I’m sure he’ll like that). Cousins is a great Midwestern guy that can play in the elements. He’s not elite by any standards, but he’s a quality starter that with the right team around him can win 9-10 games yearly.
  2. Anyone from the Minnesota Vikings – The NFC North champs will have a tough decision to make this offseason. Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Bradford and Case Keenum are all free agents. Bridgewater was their franchise quarterback before destroying his knee two years ago, and Keenum just led them to the NFC Championship. My gut says they sign Bridgewater, which if they do I’d look to Keenum and then Bradford.
  3. DeShone Kizer – The Browns latest throw at the dart board didn’t have a stellar rookie campaign in 2017 but I wouldn’t call it quits on the second round pick just yet. Coleman and Gordon played in a combined 14 games last season, and lets be honest Isaiah Crowell isn’t exactly Walter Payton. Kizer’s top receiver this past year? Crowell’s backup Duke Johnson who was targeted 93 times, and caught 74 balls for 693 yards and five touchdowns.

The Cleveland Browns shouldn’t draft a quarterback in the first round. They’ve played that fiddle for what seems like forever, and it hasn’t worked out. So why continue to do it? They need to build around their quarterback, and that starts this year with the bevy of early draft picks they have.

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Geoff is back from his sexless vacation in the same place where Dave was a couple of weeks ago. We get Geoff’s take on the Lions draft before talking to Lions reporter from the Detroit Free Press, Dave Birkett to get his spin on the Bears fiasco, Lions draft, and we play some true or false. Turd Tursday makes it’s triumphant return. The Broncos are trying to control their secondary market sales, and Lavar Ball is going to turn his son into the next failed Marinovich project.

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(Marianne O’Leary/Wikimedia Commons)

Lions SRD is back to start off a new season as Ben and Mike discuss the Bob Quinn’s second draft as Lions GM, what the guy’s biggest surprise was, the Lions not drafting a running back, if Quinn has earned your trust as Lions GM and more.

Click the link below to listen.

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