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Pettine: Browns wouldn't have drafted Bortles at No. 4

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Brian Hoyer is making his case for a new long-term contract with the Browns even after Cleveland used a first-round draft pick last May on Johnny Manziel.

In another universe, would Hoyer have wound up battling Blake Bortles for the job, had the Jaguars passed on the rookie quarterback at No. 3?

"There wasn't any quarterback in the discussion for us at four, but we certainly had a first-round grade on him," coach Mike Pettine told WKRK-FM on Wednesday, four days before his Browns travel to Jacksonville to face Bortles and the winless Jags.

Pettine told reporters that the Browns, who ultimately traded the No. 4 pick to the Bills -- who in turn grabbed wideout Sammy Watkins -- likely would have taken Watkins themselves had they kept the selection.

It's fascinating to ponder what might have happened had the Jaguars -- and Browns -- passed on Bortles. It's fair to assume he would have wound up with the Raiders at No. 5 or the Bucs at No. 7. We doubt he would have gotten past the Vikings at No. 8 or the Bills at No. 9. In NFL.com's recent draft do-over, Gil Brandt believes the Texans wouldn't hesitate to take Bortles with the first overall pick.

Pettine acknowledged that Jacksonville's choice to grab Bortles near the top of the round "surprised a lot of people." Even more surprising is the reality here in mid-October that a guy named Brian Hoyer has outplayed every one of those rookie passers to date.

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