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Browns GM John Dorsey: Handful of QB prospects 'make you think' with No. 1 pick

MOBILE, Alabama -- When John Dorsey arrived for his first Senior Bowl as Kansas City's general manager in 2013, he held the No. 1 pick and was looking to shore up the quarterback position for years to come.

The circumstances are nearly identical for Dorsey as Cleveland's new general manager at the 2018 Senior Bowl, but the options in front of him are much more plentiful. On top of the No. 1 pick, he carries the fourth overall pick, which was acquired in a draft day trade last year with the Texans, and three second-round selections, including No. 33 and No. 35 overall.

There's also a significant difference in the kind of options he views as palatable from the college ranks. In 2013, there simply wasn't a quarterback worthy of a top-10 selection, let alone the No. 1 pick. The Chiefs opted to find their quarterback through trade (Alex Smith) and used the first overall pick on left tackle Eric Fisher. Both started at their respective positions throughout Dorsey's entire Kansas City tenure.

But in 2018, Dorsey sees a class loaded with talent, potential and intrigue.

"There are four or five prospects in this class that make you think at least whether they're worthy of that position," Dorsey said Tuesday in between practices at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. "So I now think you let the process unfold."

The process started under sunny skies Tuesday, as more than 100 top prospects from around the country gathered for their first of three practices leading up to Saturday's game. Among them were two quarterbacks pegged by numerous draft analysts as potential options for the Browns at No. 1 or No. 4: Wyoming's Josh Allen and Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield.

Allen and Mayfield shared the field and often split repetitions as members of the North team, which is being coached by the Denver Broncos -- a team also on the hunt for a quarterback. Each had their share of hits and misses in a typical Day 1 practice that was heavy on installation and chemistry-building between quarterbacks and pass-catchers who have known each other for less than 24 hours.

Dorsey said he understandably saw much more of Mayfield, the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner, than Allen during the college football season. That included an in-person viewing of Mayfield's emotion-fueled performance at Kansas, when he threw for 257 yards and three touchdowns in a rout of the Jayhawks.

"He made the fans at Kansas upset, I can tell you that," Dorsey said. "He's the Heisman Trophy winner. I think that speaks for itself. He's had a wonderful season, kind of where he came from and how he's gotten to where he is today I think it's tribute to him and the Oklahoma Sooner organization and the coaching staff there, so it should be fun to watch him participate here this week."

Allen, who has already elicited plenty of attention and curiosity since he arrived in Mobile, has a big week in front of him as he tries to convince teams he's worthy of a high pick. The Browns are certainly among them, as Dorsey vowed he'd meet with all of the quarterbacks in the mix for one of the team's two first-round picks.

More than three months remain before the Browns are officially on the clock with the first pick in the 2018 Draft, and the Senior Bowl is just the start of the endless planning and research that will go into the all-important decision. Next month at the NFL Combine, the Browns will get a closer look at the rest of the draft's top quarterback prospects, a group that includes underclassmen Sam Darnold (USC) and Josh Rosen (UCLA).

"I think you get to know each and every one of the prospects we're talking about," Dorsey said. "We're months away from this process, we're at the beginning stages, let's understand who they are as people, let's understand them as football players, let's see if they can be the face of the franchise and are they the guys for the Cleveland Browns."

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