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Casserly: Cleveland Browns likely to pass on QB with No. 4 pick


Run down the list of quarterbacks taken by the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the NFL draft, and you're bound to wince at each name.

Brandon Weeden. Brady Quinn. Tim Couch.

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That distinguished group is one reason why the new regime in Cleveland will probably opt to bypass the position with its No. 4 pick even though one of the top quarterbacks in this draft class is likely to be available.

Where could the Browns and general manager Ray Farmer go instead? NFL Network's Charley Casserly thinks they'll bypass a signal-caller but will stay on that side of the ball.

"I think it will be an offensive position, and I think Ray Farmer will take the best player available and not take a quarterback here," Casserly said on NFL Network's "Path to the Draft." "One option is right tackle if [Sammy] Watkins is gone. I think you have a couple of players that could be terrific here. First off is Greg Robinson of Auburn.

"The fallback to me is Texas A&M's Jake Matthews. Excellent technician, athletic guy, very good pass blocker, and he sustains well at the line of scrimmage."

Depending on the dominoes the Texans set off once they pick first overall, it's not hard to see the Browns landing a dynamic talent like Watkins to pair with Josh Gordon and the recently signed Andrew Hawkins.

But Casserly indicated that tackle was more of a need than most think despite the presence of pro bowler Joe Thomas.

"Thomas has been a good player for a long time, but I think he slipped some last year," Casserly said. "I plug Robinson over at right tackle as a massive, strong guy. This guy could be Orlando (Pace) in a couple of years. That's a pretty tall statement, but I think he can do it."

Because they also hold the No. 26 pick in the first round, the Browns have plenty of options to boost the club's talent level as they look to get back to the playoffs. In the latest mock drafts, analysts have the team taking everybody from Watkins to Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack to quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Still, one wonders if it will be hard for new head coach Mike Pettine to bypass a talent like Mack or UCLA's Anthony Barr, given his defensive background. There are clearly more pressing needs on offense, but adding an elite young linebacker could solidify an already stout defense as one of the league's best.

Either way, it's probably time to stop thinking quarterback early on for the Browns in this draft.

Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.



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