It’s a snowy Friday in Berea, and we’re plowing through four of your questions before the weekend begins.
I am in love with Jaleel Scott. What are the chances of the Browns taking him at a high third-round pick or low second? -- Justin R., Mercer, Pennsylvania
The range you’re projecting for Scott is about where he’s slotted in numerous player rankings. WalterFootball.com ranks him as the 16th-best wide receiver in this year’s draft, lauding him as an under-the-radar prospect who may be attractive to teams because of his standout measurables (6-foot-4, 217 pounds). CBSSports.com pegs him as the 10th-best wide receiver and places him inside the top 100 prospects. A late bloomer at the collegiate level after bouncing around multiple junior colleges, Scott had a breakout season in 2017, catching 76 passes for more than 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns. In an interview with ClevelandBrowns.com at the Senior Bowl, Scott said he looked up to Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon and believed he had skills that were comparable to him. Cleveland will look to upgrade its receiver room in both free agency and the draft after a tough 2017 season for its current group. If Scott is one of the additions, he’ll have an opportunity to make an immediate impression.
Malcolm Butler would look good in a Browns uniform. Will the Browns try to go after him or will they go after Fitzpatrick early in the first round? -- Rich W., Cleveland
I’m not sure one move precludes the other. Cleveland needs to get better in the defensive backfield, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the team address its needs through both free agency and the draft. Butler is a true cover cornerback and could be one of the highest-paid, non-quarterback free agents this offseason. His 2017 season wasn’t his best, and plenty of questions continue to surround his Super Bowl benching, but he’s still going to command a lot of interest. The Jaguars committed plenty of money to last year’s top cornerback, A.J. Bouye, but they reaped major rewards, as he played a key part in one of the league’s best defenses.
As for Fitzgerald, he’s viewed as a versatile defensive back that could play as either a safety or a cornerback, depending on where he was drafted. He’s been projected to the Browns in a number of mock drafts and would certainly help a defensive backfield that features a mix of veterans and young, promising talent. If he’s viewed as the best player available when the Browns are on the clock, he’d be a welcome addition.
Foles in a trade? -- Don S., Waterford, Pennsylvania
There’s been plenty of chatter in the media about this in the days since Nick Foles played an absolutely incredible game to lead Philadelphia to a Super Bowl LII. Foles isn’t a free agent. To likely continue as a starting quarterback in 2018, he’ll have to be playing elsewhere because Carson Wentz is the Eagles’ franchise quarterback. Philadelphia, though, might not have much incentive to part ways with Foles, no matter the kind of asset it’d be able to receive. Wentz’s knee injury occurred late in the 2017 season and was pretty serious. He has a lot of rehab in front of him. And if there’s a team that understands the value in having a capable, strong backup quarterback, it’s the team that just won a Super Bowl with a backup quarterback.
One starting quarterback (Alex Smith) has already been traded this offseason, and there very well could be more. It’s just by no means a given Foles will be one of them.
Say the Giants do want Josh Rosen, and the Browns covet Saquon Barkley. Why not trade down with the Giants to No. 2, gain an extra pick, we draft Barkley with the second pick, and then a quarterback with the fourth pick? -- Cody R., Port Clinton
This kind of hypothetical has been posited all over the place lately. And while I agree it sounds like a sound plan if those are the exact players you covet, it’s risky in two areas. The first risk is assuming you know who the Giants are going to take after they make a trade with you. The second is the Colts at No. 3. If Indianapolis sticks with its pick, odds are it won’t be taking a quarterback. But the Colts could very well be open for business, and that would put the Browns at risk of being jumped by a team that might want the same quarterback as them.
This, in a nutshell, is why teams around the NFL meet day and night for months leading up to the draft. Every possible situation needs to be assessed and analyzed.