We’re rolling out Part 2 of this week’s edition with four more of your pressing questions.
Why would we pick a QB who didn't play all that well in SUNNY SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA and expect him to do well on the usual winter day on the lake? I watched some of what he did in the rain and his receivers were always making an effort to catch nearly every throw. PLEASE, am I the only one who sees that? -- Jerry A., Strasburg
Before tackling the weather aspect of your question, let me pick at a couple of things from your question. First, Sam Darnold played pretty darn well over two seasons at USC. He won 20 games as a starter over two seasons, a stretch that included a nine-game winning streak to end his freshman season and a 2017 PAC-12 Championship. He threw for more than 7,200 yards and 57 touchdowns. He was really good, and it’s why he’s projected as a top-five pick.
Second, I watched every throw from Darnold’s Pro Day and came away with a much different conclusion than you. I thought he was very accurate, especially when you consider the conditions. A number of well-placed throws were dropped.
As for the weather, it’s a common thing numerous players have to deal with as they adjust to the conditions of wherever they land in the draft. Not everyone can grow up in colder climates, and a number of college football’s top schools and states that produce the most NFL prospects are in warm-weather areas. Browns running back Duke Johnson Jr., for example, grew up in Miami and has admitted he’s not the biggest fan of cold weather. He still produces. One of the NFL’s best quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers, grew up in Chico, California, played at Cal-Berkeley and is now thriving in one of the NFL’s toughest-weather places. Eli Manning grew up in New Orleans and played at Ole Miss. He’s been just fine in New York.
Would it be a perk if Darnold played in some snow at some point? Certainly. I’m just not ready to hold it against him.
I'm pretty sure I'll like what the Browns do with their first and fourth picks, but it's No. 33 and No. 35 I'm wondering about. I like OL Orlando Brown at left tackle and OL Mike McGlinchey at right tackle. -- Patrick S., Cleveland
The Browns addressed some of their needs on the offensive line in free agency with the additions of Chris Hubbard and Donald Stephenson but could certainly do some more in the draft. Hubbard was brought to Cleveland to play right tackle, a move that will shift Shon Coleman, last year’s starter at the position, into a competition with Spencer Drango and others at left tackle. General manager John Dorsey’s charge is to improve the competition at every spot on the field, and I doubt the Browns are fully satisfied with the level of it at a spot that’s been occupied by a future Hall of Famer for 11 years. It wouldn’t surprise me to see an offensive lineman selected with one of those picks, and I think both of the players you mentioned would provide some good competition/have a chance to start at left tackle. I also wouldn’t be surprised if neither are available when the Browns are on the clock to start Day 2 of the draft.
Should they look for another kicker? -- Rick G., Ohio
The Browns have confidence in Zane Gonzalez, especially after the way he finished his rookie season, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see competition added at his position over the next few months. Most teams carry two kickers during part of the preseason, and the Browns have done so every year since Phil Dawson left.
Every fan has the person that they think should be the first pick in the draft and then what we should do with the fourth pick. I think I have heard every possible scenario regarding the first two picks. At this time I am much more interested in our three second-round picks and who do you think will be available and who would you like to see us draft? -- Dave S., Pittsford, New York
I won’t focus on specific players but there are some positions the Browns can target where they’ll be able to find some real value and impact with those three picks. If Cleveland opts to pass on Saquon Barkley, there’s a surplus of talented running backs likely to be available in the second round. LSU’s Derrius Guice could be a steal at that spot if he’s available and you can’t go wrong with either of the Georgia backs. The strength of this year’s wide receiver class is not in the top end, but in its depth. SMU’s Courtland Sutton, Notre Dame’s Equanimeous St. Brown or Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk could be good finds at that portion of the draft. And you can never have enough DBs, even after the team acquired three via free agency and trades. Auburn’s Carlton Davis, LSU’s Donte Jackson or Isaiah Oliver out of Colorado are intriguing prospects in that range.