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Browns Mailbag

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Browns Mailbag: Why did Browns take Mayfield, Corbett when they did?

It feels like the perfect week for two mailbags, so we’re knocking out one today before we return in our usual spot Friday.

Here’s five for you.

Why didn’t you take Saquon Barkley at No. 1 and Baker Mayfield at 4? Mayfield would’ve still been there. -- Mark G., Woodridge, N.J.

You sure about that?

For one, there’s absolutely no way to prove this because the Browns picked Mayfield with the first overall pick. Yes, the Giants took running back Saquon Barkley with the No. 2 pick. But maybe their plans would have changed if Mayfield was available. Maybe they would have received a trade offer they couldn’t refuse. Maybe Mayfield was the only quarterback they liked better than Barkley. The same logic can be applied at No. 3, where the Jets took Sam Darnold. Yes, the Jets have claimed Darnold was their top-ranked quarterback. That’s what 100 out of 100 teams in their position would say after the draft. The only way to figure out whether that was true was to take the risk, and the Browns weren’t willing to do it. They coveted Mayfield too much, and there would have been a deep sense of dissatisfaction if they didn’t land their top quarterback in a year when they held the No. 1 pick.

Simple as that.

I think the Browns had an awesome draft. Antonio Callaway could be the biggest steal in the draft in the fourth round if he can get his off-the-field issues sorted out. What are the chances of Callaway actually making the 53 man-roster? -- Daylon G. -- Caledonia, Ontario

Based on the limited amount of snaps I saw from him this weekend, I’d set his chances at very good. Though he fell to the Browns in the fourth round, Callaway was still taken in a spot where it’d be a surprise and disappointment if he didn’t make the initial 53-man roster. Callaway knows the Browns took a chance on him and vowed to not let general manager John Dorsey and his new teammates down. He’s clearly a gifted player, and the Browns hope they can utilize his talents to their fullest extent as soon as possible.

“Some of my choices that I made in my past caused me to fall a couple of rounds,” Callaway said. “I have learned from them, moved on and became a better person and learned from mistakes day by day. Taking it day by day still, growing and maturing.”

With the addition of Callaway, do you foresee Jabrill Peppers still returning kicks? Or will this move (along with the Damarious Randall trade) allow him to focus on his natural strong safety position? -- Joe F., West Valley City, Utah

It’s too early to tell, especially with OTAs still a couple of weeks away, but the moves Cleveland made throughout the offseason have certainly give new special teams coordinator Amos Jones some options. Peppers, though, figures to be in the mix in both, as Jones had plenty of praise for the second-year safety when he was asked about him early this offseason.

“All rookies are going to learn things, just like every day we all learn something,” Jones said. “I think he has a chance to be a really special returner. I thought he did when I worked him out that day. His college tape was obviously good. The other thing is he is a downhill runner. If you get the ball in his hands, he can be elusive enough to make people miss.”

With the new draft class and the UDFAs in, I was looking at the depth for each position. It seems we did very well fortifying about all of the positions. However, I’m unclear about center. Can you give a rundown on our options at center should JC Tretter need to miss time? GO BROWNS! -- Ed O., Naples, Florida

The one at the top of the list is Austin Reiter, who appeared in every game last year in some form or fashion. He’s back with the team after signing as an exclusive rights free agent. He showed a lot of promise in his one start in 2016 and provides a reliable backup to Tretter. Chris Hubbard, who was signed away from the Steelers to play right tackle, also has some center experience.

Although he had a very good Senior Bowl, most experts had Austin Corbett projected to go between mid-third to mid-fourth rounds. With quality offensive linemen like Connor Williams and Brian O'Neill still on the board at the 33rd pick, how have the Browns explained taking Corbett over more highly rated players? -- Jim C., Wadsworth

Vice President of Player Personnel Alonzo Highsmith answered this exact question shortly after Corbett was selected. It’s best to let him handle this one.

“First of all, I do not know who those guys are who are ranking these guys,” Highsmith said. “That does not matter to me. I am confident in my ability. I am confident in John Dorsey’s ability. I am confident in Eliot’s ability. I have confidence in what we do as a group in this organization. The only thing we are concerned about during the draft is getting the draft board right for the Cleveland Browns.

“We felt as though these guys were the best players where we ranked them. That is how we are going to roll with it. The funniest thing about the draft is it is all about nothing really because we do not know how any of these guys are going to be until two or three years. That is what the most important thing is. The thing that we have to find out, the most imperative thing is, are they football players? Are they real guys? Are they tough? Are they going to play the type of football players that we want to play? That is all that matters.”

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