It has been suggested, mostly as a joke, that the Browns could ensure that they’ll get a great quarterback by using both the No. 1 and No. 4 overall pick on that position. Apparently, it’s not as big of a joke as many had believed.
Kevin Clark of TheRinger.com reports that the Browns have “thought about it, discussed it, and investigated it.” The work progressed to the point where one unnamed source with whom Clark spoke was able to “rattle off every previous instance of teams drafting two passers high because he’d done the prep work on the idea.”
The thought process doesn’t only mean that that Browns could take a quarterback at No. 1 and No. 4. They could trade down from No. 4 and take a quarterback later in round one. They also could take a second quarterback with one of the other picks they hold in the first 64 selections (five in all) and in the first 123 picks (eight in all).
The most notorious example of a pair of first-round quarterbacks came in 1989, when the Cowboys took Troy Aikman and then invested a first-round pick in the supplemental draft on Steve Walsh. (A year later, the Cowboys traded Walsh to the Saints for a first-round pick and a third-round pick in 1991, and a second round pick in 1992, which perhaps prompted the Vikings to say, “Man, the Cowboys screwed them.”)
Six years ago, Washington traded up from No. 6 to No. 2 to draft Robert Griffin III, and then picked Kirk Cousins in round four. Cousins, by 2015, supplanted Griffin as the starter.
As Clark notes, the problem with drafting a pair of quarterbacks comes from the lack of practice reps necessary to develop both of them, especially with Tyrod Taylor under contract for 2018. The fact that the Browns are even considering it underscores the team’s recent trend of failing to pick apparent franchise quarterbacks (Carson Wentz, Deshaun Watson), along with the uncertainty as to which quarterback will emerge as the best quarterback from the 2018 class.
Recent history suggests that, whoever he is, he probably won’t end up being a Brown.