The Cleveland Browns Should Select...
We're currently in the midst of the 2016 playoffs, but it's never too early to look ahead when it comes to the NFL. The draft is just around the corner, and this is usually the time of the year when chatter begins about a few particular players rising up draft boards and into consideration for a top selection. Many times, these players turn out to play the quarterback position and lead teams to believe they are worthy of becoming their next franchise quarterback. However, the 2017 draft class isn't exactly loaded with big time players at that spot. Instead, the honor of being selected with the number one overall pick should go to a player at a different position...
The Cleveland Browns are unfortunate enough to select first in the draft, as they have no shortage of needs on their roster. Obviously, quarterback is a glaring need as Josh McCown and Robert Griffin III just won't cut it (although I do like young Cody Kessler). They also have the twelfth pick, thanks to the Eagles who traded up in last year's draft to select quarterback Carson Wentz. This pick could become particularly useful later on.
At the time of this writing, there are only a handful of passers who can be considered first round worthy. These guys are Mitch Trubisky, Deshone Kizer, and Deshaun Watson. All three are very talented, and absolutely have the potential to lead an offense in this league, but no one really stands out above the rest.
Considering the drop off from each of these guys doesn't appear to be overly drastic, there isn't much sense in Cleveland spending their first pick on a passer (and missing out on this specific defender) when one of the top three could still be there at the time of their second selection.
What should Cleveland do with the number one pick?
With this in mind, let's discuss who should indeed be the first player drafted in 2017. From Texas A&M, Myles Garrett wreaked havoc for the past three years. He is a pass rusher who is projected as 3-4 outside linebacker (similar to the role Von Miller plays for Denver), and has the explosiveness to cause mayhem for opposing quarterbacks.
Don't get me wrong, Garrett is not a "perfect" prospect (there is no such thing as a sure thing when it comes to college players entering the NFL), as he could stand to add more moves to his pass rushing arsenal. He is guilty of relying on his explosiveness more than he needs to. Having said that, he is widely considered the best overall talent of this entire class. In his three seasons, Garrett has averaged 47 tackles, ten sacks, and two forced fumbles per year - these are very good numbers.
Cleveland has a few solid pieces on defense in Jamie Collins and Emmanuel Ogbah, but the addition of the Texas A&M product could finally give opposing offenses something to fear while game planning.
The Browns could grab the best player in this draft at number one, and still get their franchise passer eleven slots later. Now, it is possible that all three qurterbacks are gone by then (and the option of trading down to acquire more picks is always on the table), but there will be plenty of talent available. Guys such as wide receiver Mike Williams, running back Leonard Fournette, or a cornerback like Teez Tabor or Desmond King would make a great first round pairing with Myles Garrett.
Like I mentioned before, this pick is not a lock by any means. The transition from college to the pros is not something that can be predicted with consistent accuracy, as every player is different when it comes to learning the playbook, adjusting to the speed of the game, or is simply not as good as we all thought. However, based on the evidence we have at our disposal, Myles Garrett has the look of a future pro bowl pass rusher. Cleveland would be wise to take full advantage of this, and pounce on the opportunity to add him to a team in need of as much help as it can get.
What do you guys think? Is this a smart move, or do you have a different opinion? Let's hear about it in the comment section! If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to give some feedback.