Surprise, surprise: The Cleveland Browns hold the first overall pick in this year’s NFL draft. And, thanks to a trade with the Texans before last year’s draft, Cleveland also has the fourth overall pick. However, given that this is easily one of the most unpredictable drafts in recent memory, there’s no clear consensus of who the Browns will—or should—take with each of their picks. The DC Sports Section weighs in on who Cleveland should take with their two first-rounders on Thursday night.
Jorge Eckardt – Campus Correspondent
With the first overall pick the Browns have to take Saquon Barkley. They could wait until the fourth pick to grab him, but there is just too much of a risk that the Giants or the Jets will scoop him up. Saquon is a game changer and is just too good to pass up. With the fourth pick, I believe they should take Bradley Chubb. With Chubb, they could pair him up with last years first overall pick Myles Garrett and form one of the best defensive lines in the game. Many people may want the Browns to take a quarterback, but I believe they already have the answer for that position. Tyrod Taylor was in the top half of the league in QBR last season, ahead of players like Kirk Cousins, Jared Goff and Cam Newton. There is no doubt that the three of them are all capable of leading a team, however for some reason the doubt is there with Taylor. However the numbers say otherwise, and now that he would be paired with Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon and potentially Saquon Barkley he will have more talent around him than he has ever had. Therefore, I believe the Browns should stick with Taylor at QB and focus on other positions by taking Barkley and Chubb.
Sean Janos – Campus Correspondent
The Browns have the first pick in the draft (that just seems to roll off of the tongue at this point) and they should draft Saquon Barkley. I know the Browns have been punished once recently for taking a running back high in the first round (sorry Trent), but I really believe that Barkley is the most talented running back coming out of college in a long time. We saw what Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette did their rookie years while being picked in the top five, and I think Barkley can be even better than them.
With the fourth pick, the Browns can find their long term answer to the most important position in football by drafting Josh Rosen. While odds are that Sam Darnold and Josh Allen fly off of the board before Rosen because even NFL GMs love to buy into hype, I believe that Rosen is the best QB in this draft. He has to footwork and guts that Darnold lacks and the accuracy and IQ that Allen doesn’t have. Rosen can already read complicated defenses, making him an immediate challenger to Tyrod Taylor for the starting gig. Don’t get me wrong, Taylor is still a talented NFL QB, so even if Rosen isn’t ready, there won’t be pressure for him to start right away. He’s the best all around QB in this draft, and his ceiling is sky high.
Matt Severino – Campus Correspondent
When the draft order was initially released, I would have quickly answered by saying that the Browns needed to draft Barkley with the first pick and whatever quarterback they saw the most potential in with the fourth. That opinion has changed with the offseason moves that have been made and the talent that has been acquired. Since the Browns went out and got Carlos Hyde, it doesn’t make much sense for them to draft Barkley. Hyde has proven to be a reliable back, even on a subpar team like the 49ers last season.
My thoughts on drafting a quarterback haven’t changed, but I think they need to use the first pick on that position. Tyrod Taylor is a mediocre leader and, although never had a great team around him, has never shown any signs of being a winner. I think he is a temporary, duct tape kind of fix that will give whatever quarterback they draft a chance to develop.
With the fourth pick, I would like to see the Browns take Bradley Chubb out of NC State. If put in tandem with Myles Garrett, Cleveland may have solved another one of their laundry list of problems in just two picks.