The most clear-eyed Browns fans have spent the pre-draft process dreaming of a scenario where Cleveland selects consensus top prospect Myles Garrett at No. 1, then uses its second first-rounder (No. 12) to swoop in and nab the top quarterback on the board.
It represents the tidiest of possibilities for Cleveland, a team that not only needs a bevy of foundation players to make up their roster but a franchise quarterback of the future.
According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, that might very well be in the works.
"The Bills pick No. 10 and then the Browns' second pick is No. 12. There is the thought process that the Bills want Mitchell Trubisky from North Carolina, that if they pick a quarterback, (he) would be their top quarterback," Rapoport said Thursday on Good Morning Football. "And he also may, in fact, be the Browns' top quarterback. If the Browns want this guy, they'll have to leapfrog the Bills. You start to look at where that actually can be. The Carolina Panthers at No. 8 -- I would not be surprised if they were willing to move back. What about the Bengals at No. 9? Could there be an intra-division trade between the Browns and the Bengals helping each other out? Maybe that's a little far-fetched, but that's what everyone is looking for in the first round."
While we are dead center in the cough-inducing, eye-burning thickness of pre-draft smokescreen season, this is a possibility that makes too much sense. A reasonable person could surmise that the 49ers, Bears and Jets will all pass on quarterbacks or at least pass on Trubisky. That would create a showdown between Cleveland and Buffalo at the No. 10 pick, which the Bills currently hold. Carolina would be more than willing to move down given its handful of needs heading into the draft, which takes place in Philadelphia on April 27-29.
Browns executive vice president Sashi Brown tossed some cold water on the theory during his pre-draft news conference Wednesday, noting that the Browns are typically averse to bundling picks for just one selection. Still, he didn't dismiss the possibility.
"We are open to it," Brown said. "Generally, we value picks. We think no matter how prepared you are there is always a lot of uncertainty in the draft. Every team misses. We are not going to be different in that regard. We like young talent. We have said the draft is going to be the pipeline. We don't want to get into a habit of turning two picks into one, so to speak. We just donât think that is a good way to do business over time. We have studied this around the league, and it is just our inclination."
He also knows that the Garrett-quarterback 1-2 punch might not be possible without it, and that Cleveland has a treasure trove of picks over the next two seasons. Is this the time to spend?