We’re rolling into the first weekend of spring -- through some snow flurries, at that -- with five of your questions.
What would the Browns have to give up in terms of draft picks to move from our second-round pick back into a late first-round pick so that we can have that extra year on the player's contract and improve our odds of getting a starter Year 1? -- Philip H., St. Clairsville
This is a fun question, and it has a variety of answers. If you go off the old-school, Jimmy Johnson draft value chart, the Browns would need to surrender their second-round pick (No. 49) and third-rounder (No. 80) just to move into the bottom of the first round. If you go off the newer, Harvard trade value chart, Cleveland could move as high as the 22nd pick just by parting with its second-rounder and fourth-round selection (No. 119).
So those charts don’t offer us a ton of help. A better guide might be looking at some recent trades made by teams to get back into the first round.
- Last year, the Ravens parted with very little in the present to move back into the first round to take Lamar Jackson with the 32nd pick. Along with the second-round pick, Baltimore swapped spots with Philadelphia in the fourth round -- a difference of seven picks -- and also sent a 2019 second-rounder.
- In 2017, the Browns traded back into the first round to snag tight end David Njoku with the 29th pick. To do so, they gave up the No. 33 selection and a fourth-rounder (No. 108).
- And Browns general manager John Dorsey was at the center of a similar trade in 2016. He parted with the Chiefs’ 28th overall selection and a seventh-rounder for San Francisco’s second-rounder (37), fourth-rounder (105) and sixth-rounder (178).
The Browns still have eight picks after their big trade to start the league year. That’s more than enough assets to make a move back into the first round if they choose to do so. Dorsey made moves both forward and backward in his time with the Chiefs, so it’s hard to peg him as a guy that prefers to go one way or the other at that time in the draft. Only time will tell.
Will the Browns sign another quarterback? If so do you predict he will come from free agency or the draft? -- Stu F., Punta Gorda, Florida
As it stands now, with Tyrod Taylor signing a two-year deal with the Chargers, the Browns have just two quarterbacks on the roster with Baker Mayfield and Drew Stanton. By the time Cleveland hits the field for OTAs in May -- or even its voluntary mini-camp before the draft -- you’d think it’s more likely than not the team adds an arm or two to the mix simply to take the load off the shoulders of Mayfield and Stanton. If the Browns do so through free agency, a handful of veterans remain available, including David Fales, Blaine Gabbert, Mike Glennon and Sean Mannion. The draft, as always, has a handful of options in the later rounds. In the most recent edition of “Best Podcast Available,” USA Today Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling identified Penn State’s Trace McSorely as a potential option for Cleveland in the fifth round, where it holds three selections, or later.
My answer to the second part of your question? It wouldn’t surprise me if the Browns use both avenues to fill out the room.
View the top linebacker prospects participating in the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Is there a trade, free agent or draft pick that would add quality depth at linebacker? -- Gunner G., Cleveland
Speculating on trades at this point in the offseason is a fruitless exercise. When it comes to free agents, there aren’t many, but a handful remain on the market nine days into the league year. The biggest name is Zach Brown, who has a combined 372 tackles over the past three seasons. Some others include Antonio Morrison (Colts) and Gerald Hodges, who played for new Browns defensive coordinator Steve Wilks last season in Arizona.
In the draft, there’s a big divide between the first-round caliber linebackers (LSU’s Devin White and Michigan’s Devin Bush) and the rest of the crowd. Easterling projected just one linebacker to come off the board in the second round (Minnesota’s Blake Cashman), and that’s well after the Browns make their pick at No. 49. Some names to keep an eye on in the third or fourth round include Germaine Pratt (NC State), Te’Von Coney (Notre Dame), Terrill Hanks (New Mexico State) and Joe Giles-Harris (Duke).
Is there a solid backup at right tackle if the holding penalties continue at that position? -- Steve F., Greenville
The Browns made an important, under-the-radar signing last week when they added Kendall Lamm to the roster. Lamm, who will provide some competition for returning right tackle Chris Hubbard, spent the past four years with the Texans and really came into his own in 2018, when he started 13 games at right tackle. Texans coach Bill O’Brien heaped praise on Lamm in early November, calling him “one of the most improved guys that we've had since we've been here.”
“He made the team as an undrafted free agent out of Appalachian State,” O’Brien told the Houston Chronicle. “I'll just tell you, he's one of our favorite guys. He really works hard. He's had some ups and downs. He's dealt with being on the practice squad, being on the 53.”
And, for what it’s worth, Hubbard was flagged for holding once in 2018.
Will John Dorsey recruit Scot McCloughan for help in the draft? Can Dorsey find good players in late round picks? -- Gurjit S., Rocklin, California
Asked at the NFL Combine, Dorsey said McCloughan would not be involved in a capacity similar to last year’s. As for Dorsey’s ability to find good players with late-round picks, what do you think about Antonio Callaway, Genard Avery, Tyreek Hill, Zach Fulton and Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff, to name a few?