The Browns could consider draft a quarterback in their first round. Cleveland Browns Blog

MOBILE, Ala. – The Cleveland BrownsHave not drafted a quarterback in the past since selecting Baker MayfieldThis is the 2018 top overall choice

Could they repeat this streak in 2022

Mayfield will be the focus of Cleveland's major decision, regardless of when it occurs. After their 26th consecutive playoff win, the Browns had high expectations for this season. Mayfield played a major role in that playoff run. He finished with 10 points.ThQBR, was 27th in the league. However, Mayfield finished 27th in QBR in the league in 2021 after a season plagued with injuries. Now, he’s entering the final year of his contract.

The Browns publicly have declared that they are moving forward with Mayfield, who is rehabbing from last month’s surgery that repaired the torn labrum in his non-throwing left shoulder. However, Mayfield's team will be looking at all options in private, given that the Browns have a ready-to-compete roster for the Super Bowl.

This could involve trading for a veteran quarterback. The No. 13 overall pick could be used to select a quarterback. 13th overall selection in the upcoming NFL Draft.

A number of Browns officials attended the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama last week. There, a host of interesting quarterbacks led the stories. The Cleveland brass that attended included Andrew Berry (general manager), Glenn Cook (vice president for player player personnel), and Dan Saganey (director of player player personnel).

Browns did interview a variety of players at other positions. But they also got a close look at this year’s quarterback class, highlighted by Senior Bowl starting quarterbacks Malik WillisLiberty and Kenny Pickett of Pittsburgh, as well as North Carolina’s Sam Howell and Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder.

Senior Bowl Week was Willis's best week. He showed the potential and upside of Liberty playing at Liberty, turning heads.

“The way the ball just explodes off his hand is different than the rest,” ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay wrote, comparing Willis to the other quarterbacks. “Arm strength can be overrated at times, but Willis' snap-of-the-wrist effortless velocity on his throws was impressive all week long. He was able to throw outside the pocket without even having his feet underneath him, which is a lot of times. The NFL defense will have to be constantly watching Willis for his escape. He can get out of trouble with ease, turning a 5-yard sack into a 5-yard gain.”

All of that was on full display in Saturday’s Senior Bowl game, exemplified by Willis’ electrifying 28-yard scramble in the first half.

Ridder threw an impressive two touchdowns during the Senior Bowl game. Pickett, however, had his moments. On his opening drive, Pickett threw a touchdown with a swing-pass pass. In Mobile, the Heisman finalist was not always at his best during practice. However, he was a shining star indoors Thursday.

“He was in control, excelling with his reads and getting the ball where it needed to go on time. The red zone work was outstanding,” McShay wrote. “That's where things get tight and the reads get faster, and it was interesting to see him really put on a show there. Pickett will give you a clear picture of what to expect. He's more polished than Willis, but his ceiling might be lower.”

From Pickett’s polish to Willis' athleticism, drafting a quarterback in the first round — or even the second — would allow Cleveland to straddle the fence on Mayfield’s future.

The Browns could give Mayfield another chance in this scenario, instead of dumping him and committing other important assets to a quarterback trade. This would prove that 2021 wasn't an injury-ridden aberration. Cleveland could even extend Mayfield, franchise tag him or give him another chance if Mayfield does well in 2022. Mayfield would be Mayfield's quarterback of choice. If he fails, the Browns will have a younger alternative for the 2023 season.

But such a plan has its downfalls. Cleveland’s championship window is now. Even though young stars quarterbacks like Patrick MahomesAnd Joe BurrowThey were the only ones to reach the Super Bowl in their second season. Usually, young quarterbacks need time and experience before they’re ready to spearhead playoff runs.

If the Browns believe that Willis or Pickett, or another , like Ole Miss’ Matt CorralIf they have the potential and desire to be exceptional, they should take every opportunity they can. However, the promise of last week's quarterback class isn't being considered a breakthrough.

On top of that, expending the 13th pick on a quarterback this year would negate Cleveland’s chance to bolster a receiving corps in need of a talent infusion. Cleveland has the chance to pick a future No. 13 pick. 1 receiver, like, say, Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson.

All of this highlights the difficult predicament Browns are in as a quarterback heading into an important offseason.

Do they believe Mayfield will return to 2020 form? Do they want to bet on Mayfield rekindling his 2020 form? Aaron RodgersOder Russell WilsonIf both are willing to waive a no trade clause and become available, They may pursue a second-tier pass like a Kirk CousinsOder Jimmy Garoppolo? Or do they gamble on the draft of another potential quarterback?

Cleveland is feeling the pressure after a disappointing season. Berry and the Browns will not be satisfied when it comes to quarterback.


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