In what may be the dream scenario for many, both ESPN draft analysts have the Cleveland Browns landing a play-maker and a quarterback in the first round of the impending NFL Draft.
There’s been plenty of debate over the last week about whether this could be Johnny Manziel’s landing spot, but I think Browns general manager Ray Farmer will settle on the assurance of a young, experienced (even though he’s still just 20) difference-making talent at this slot. Watkins gives the Browns a viable No. 2 next to Josh Gordon, and a player that ultimately could be a star No. 1 wideout. If you get a QB later on — keep an eye on No. 26 — he’s in a better position to succeed with Watkins as a target. A sleeper here could be Jake Matthews, a safe pick, but probably not one the fan base will be thrilled about.
And from McShay:
I had slotted Johnny Manziel here in Monday’s mock draft update, but it now seems more likely that the Browns will pass on a quarterback at No. 4 and instead take the fourth of this class’ four elite players. In this scenario, that’s Watkins, who would provide Cleveland with a dynamic playmaker opposite Josh Gordon and potential insurance in the event that Gordon is injured or deals with any more off-field issues. The Browns can look to take a QB later in the first round or in the second.
As Kiper intimated, if the Browns pass on a quarterback at No. 4, look for them to land one with their second pick of the first round. Specifically, both men have the Browns selecting Louiville’s Teddy Bridgewater with the No. 26 pick.
The Browns didn’t take a QB at No. 4, but with Bridgewater on the board, I don’t think they’ll wait around and assume they still get a guy they think has the chance to start early further down the draft board. What Bridgewater lacks in arm strength, size, and escapability, he gives you back in anticipation, accuracy, smarts and work ethic. I really don’t think there’s a more consistently accurate QB available in this draft, and you have to feel better about his chances if you have Watkins, Gordon and Jordan Cameron as the weapons.
And from McShay:
The Browns passed on a quarterback at No. 4 in this scenario — instead taking Clemson WR Sammy Watkins — but they get one here. We’ve heard that the Browns like Bridgewater more than some other teams do (and more than the Browns like Fresno State’s Derek Carr), and this is a logical spot in the first round for him to come off the board.
There has been plenty of rumblings surrounding Bridgewater and the Browns. Late Wednesday, it was reported that the team commissioned an expensive analytical study that resulted in Bridgewater being the top quarterback in this year’s draft class. If he were to fall to the Browns at No. 26, he would likely represent the third quarterback taken. If the team were to address these glaring needs with just two of their 10 picks, it’s tough to envision any scenario that isn’t met with open arms from a fan base that has long been scorned by this very weekend in years past.