Now that we are about a week past the start of NFL free agency, many top national draft experts have released updated mock drafts.
Just about everyone remains convinced that the Browns will indeed draft Texas A&M pass rusher Myles Garrett with the first overall pick after his impressive performance at last month's combine.
What will happen with the Browns other first-round pick, the 12th overall selection, is a mystery. If the Browns were to trade for New England backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo between now and draft time, that would definitely clear some things up. For starters, that 12th pick (among several others) would belong to Bill Belichick.
For now, let's stick to what we do know. Here's how the experts are forecasting the Browns to pick in next month's NFL Draft:
ESPN's Todd McShay: Myles Garrett with #1 pick--The Browns shouldn't overthink this: Garrett is the best pure pass-rusher -- and one of the best overall athletes -- in the draft. His freakish combine numbers (4.64 40-yard dash and a 41-inch vertical at 272 pounds) cemented his status as the No. 1 overall pick, in my opinion. Garrett can fit into any scheme. He's a transcendent-type player.
McShay then projects the Browns to take Clemson QB Deshaun Watson with the 12th overall pick--I'm not convinced Cleveland will use this pick on a quarterback, but it would make some sense, especially after landing Garrett at No. 1 overall. Watson will need time adjust to a pro-style system, but he has the tools to grow into a good starter in the NFL if developed and utilized properly.
CBS Sports' Dane Brugler: Garrett at #1--The Combine basically confirmed this pick. Cleveland choosing Garrett is the easiest decision for a team picking No. 1 overall since the Colts drafted Andrew Luck.
Like McShay, Brugler projects the Browns to take a quarterback with the 12th pick. Brugler goes with Mentor-native, Mitchell Trubisky from North Carolina to come to Cleveland--Ideal scenario for Cleveland? Garrett at No. 1 and then the hometown kid falls to No. 12. Trubisky has only 13 career starts, but all the traits are present for him to be a reliable NFL starter.
Just a note, I love the word 'traits' when talking scouting of players. Next.
Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke: Ditto for Garrett with the first pick to the Browns--Lest there was any lingering debate about what this pick would be (and there shouldn’t have been), Garrett likely put the Browns’ minds at ease with a show-stopping effort at the combine. In a class with little clarity even from No. 2 on, Garrett is an obvious choice up top.
Burke also believes the Browns will go with Trubisky at 12: Really, the dream scenario for the Browns: Garrett at 1 and all the other QBs falling to No. 12. Maybe the odds are against it, but I wouldn’t call this projected top 11 a huge stretch. From there, we’re all guessing at which quarterback Hue Jackson might want.
NFL.com and NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah: Yup, Garrett to the Browns--The Browns are still in search of their franchise quarterback, but they can't pass up the opportunity to land a premier pass rusher.
His choice for the Browns at 12 is intriguing: Alabama TE O.J. Howard--The Browns coached Howard at the Senior Bowl, and he's one of the safest players in the draft class.
In case you're wondering, Jeremiah has Watson going to the Chargers at #7 and Trubisky to the Saints at #32 (Remember, New England traded that pick to get Brandin Cooks last week).
Keep in mind, none of the top quarterback prospects has had their pro day yet, so draft stocks can still rise (or fall). But with the Bears spending a lot of money on Mike Glennon, and the Bills re-signing Tyrod Taylor, suddenly there are less QB-needy teams at the top of the draft.
The 49ers will be interesting to watch, as it's no secret that Kyle Shanahan would love to have Kirk Cousins running his offense. The Jets are another team that could be looking at a signal-caller early.
But if Belichick refuses to part with Garoppolo, it's starting to look like there may be options for the Browns with the 12th pick.
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