Ryan Leaf knows something about being a draft bust, and he thinks the key to avoid being a bust is to avoid going to the wrong place. And in Leaf’s mind, that means avoiding Cleveland.
Leaf said on FS1 that he would urge a top quarterback like USC’s Sam Darnold to tell his agent, “We can’t end up in Cleveland,” and then figure out a way to keep the Browns from drafting him first overall.
“I don’t want anybody to be a bust,” Leaf said. “I want them to be successful. And there is no evidence to show me that Cleveland is going to be successful. It’s a place where quarterbacks go to die. How many quarterbacks — 27 quarterbacks in the last 10 years? If I were Sam Darnold and I have this leverage right now and I know I’m going to be the first pick in the NFL Draft, I’m going to my agent and saying, ‘Figure out a way for me to not to go Cleveland. Eli Manning this for me.’”
Leaf said John Elway with the Colts in 1983 and Eli Manning with the Chargers in 2004 had the right idea: Simply refuse to play for a team you don’t think will represent your best interests.
“Do something like John Elway or Eli Manning did,” Leaf said. “What if he plays five years there and is mediocre because they never win?”
There’s been no indication that Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield or any of the other top players in this year’s draft would actually go so far as declaring that they wouldn’t play for the Browns. But Leaf thinks they should.