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Browns Mailbag: What’s the cost to trade up, trade back, wait on QB?

Posted Jan 30, 2018

Senior Writer Andrew Gribble answers your questions every week

Making up for no Friday edition with a five-question Browns Mailbag to get you through your Tuesday.

Doesn’t it make more sense to grab Saquon Barkley at 1 and then a QB at 4 since the Giants want Josh Rosen at 2 and the Colts will grab an OL at 3 unless Barkley is available? -- Rob G., Port Clinton

I have a hard time getting on board with this strategy because there are too many assumptions and one big possibility not addressed. First off, what if UCLA’s Josh Rosen is the quarterback Cleveland covets? Then you’re taking him at No. 1. It’s also a fool’s errand to convince yourself of another team’s draft plans and operate under those assumptions unless you have some serious intel to support it. Secondly and most importantly, you can’t, under any circumstance, assume the Colts will hold steady at No. 3. Sure, it’s safe to assume they won’t be in the market for a quarterback because of the expected return of Andrew Luck, but their position in the draft could fetch a fortune on the open market. Every quarterback selected in last year’s first round landed with a team that traded up to that particular spot. There are no shortage of QB-needy teams, and those franchises will do whatever it takes to land the player they view as the best available signal-caller. The safest play is to take the quarterback you want at the spot where no one else can.

If the Browns decide to take a quarterback with their first pick, would it be wise for them to swap their fourth pick and a second- or third-round pick to the NY Giants? We could then grab Barkley with the second pick, and the Giants could still have their pick of the rest of the available quarterbacks and add another valuable pick for the draft. I believe that Barkley will have a greater impact than a rookie quarterback. Barkley looks like another Jim Brown. The quarterback picks are always a crap shoot. -- Bob K., Ravenna

We can debate whether or not this would be a wise move for the next few months, and we probably will, but let’s examine the cost of this kind of hypothetical move. First off, as mentioned in the previous answer, the Giants can’t operate under the assumption Indianapolis will make its pick at No. 3. So they’d be assuming some risk in that kind of deal if they were truly looking for a quarterback with their first-round pick. Last year, Chicago made a similar type of trade to move up from No. 3 to No. 2 in order to secure its quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears parted with the No. 3 pick, a third-rounder (No. 67), a fourth-rounder (No. 111) and a 2018 third-round pick. A second- and third-round pick might be enough to complete your hypothetical trade, but it might be hard to convince the Giants to assume the risk.

I was wondering what the mindset is on Shaquem Griffin of Central Florida. I watched him play this year and this guy has a motor that doesn’t stop and a knack for the ball like few I have seen in recent years. Thoughts on a late second- or third-round pick for the Browns? We could use a special teams stud! Thanks! -- Chris H., Tampa

Griffin is more than just an inspirational story. The Central Florida pass rusher, who had his left hand amputated when he was 4 years old, flat out produced during his college career and continued to show his merit at this past week’s Senior Bowl. He was named the top overall practice player, showing he can hold his own against players who will hear their name called at some point in the NFL Draft. Griffin received his official invitation to the NFL Combine on Tuesday and remains a viable prospect who projects as a Day 3 selection.

Concerning Jabrill Peppers, I understand that he needs to be paired with another safety that complements his skill set. What safeties in free agency or the draft would be the right fit? Is this something the team will look to address? Thanks! -- Boris B., San Jose, Puerto Rico

The Browns are looking to upgrade at a number of positions across the roster, and free safety figures to be among the ones addressed in free agency, the draft or both. Some notable free safeties poised for free agency in March include Tre Boston (Chargers), Lamarcus Joyner (Rams), Michael Thomas (Dolphins) and Reggie Nelson (Raiders). The head of the class in the draft is Minkah Fitzpatrick, who could play at a number of spots in the defensive backfield. Some Day 2 and 3 options include Quin Blanding (Virginia), Armani Watts (Texas A&M) and Justin Reid (Stanford).

I keep seeing mock drafts with only three or four WRs in the first round. I was wondering how Simmie Cobbs from Indiana stacks up against those first-rounders. He seemed to step up in the big games. And he's a big body out there, too. -- Ryan S., North Olmsted

Rankings are all over the map for Cobbs, who torched Ohio State in last year’s season opener. He caught 11 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown in what would be his best game of his final year with the Hoosiers. WalterFootball.com ranks Cobbs as the sixth-best receiver prospect, which slots him somewhere in the Day 2 range, while CBSSports.com puts him at 23rd. At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Cobbs brings an enticing skill set to the table. The Combine could be a big opportunity for him to show off his athleticism and attract teams looking for a big target on the perimeter.

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