The Browns have four picks in the top 35 of the 2018 NFL Draft, but the biggest question they have to answer is how to use the first one, in an effort to find the elusive franchise quarterback.
And Browns General Manager John Dorsey wasn’t ready to narrow the field too much this week when asked at the Senior Bowl about the possibility of using the top pick on one.
He’s not used to having such choices. When he picked first in 2013 with the Chiefs there wasn’t a quarterback worth it and he ended up taking left tackle Eric Fisher. The highest drafted quarterback that year was EJ Manuel at 16, and he’s now the Raiders’ backup.
“In 2013, I had the first pick in the draft with the Kansas City Chiefs, and there really wasn’t a quarterback prospect there,” Dorsey told cleveland.com and a small group of reporters here. “Actually in this class there are four to five prospects that make you think at least are they worthy of that position. So now I think what you do is you let the process unfold.”
The conventional wisdom is that group includes Southern Cal’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen, Wyoming’s Josh Allen and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, though Dorsey mentioning a fifth could bring in a player such as Louisville’s Lamar Jackson or Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph into the mix.
Regardless, it’s a rare opportunity for the Browns to fix a long-standing problem, making it an important week for Dorsey. He’ll talk to Mayfield and Allen this week, and will meet with the others down the line.
“You get to know each and every one of the prospects we talked about and we’re months away from this process,” Dorsey said. “We’re at the beginning stages. Let’s understand who they are as people, let’s understand them as football players, let’s see if they can be the face of the franchise. Are they the guys for the Cleveland Browns? That’s how I look at this.”
Asked if it was safe to say he was taking a quarterback first, he replied: “It’s safe to say ‘you never know.”
But you kind of know. And at least this time, he has a choice to make.