ORLANDO — With less than three weeks until the NFL Draft, the Browns find themselves nearing the finish line of what's been a long and comprehensive process.
And while Cleveland says it hasn't decided it'll do with the first or fourth-overall picks, one thing is certain: the Browns will dictate how the 2018 draft unfolds.
"The fun part about us is we get to win the draft," head coach Hue Jackson said at the league's annual meeting last week. "We get to kind of dictate how this thing unfolds."
Indeed, Cleveland is uniquely positioned with two picks in the top five. After years of instability quarterback, the Browns are poised to take a signal caller of the future and add an impact player to the mix, whether it's Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, N.C. State defensive end Bradley Chubb, Alabama defensive back Minkah FItzpatrick or Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward. Of course, the Browns can always trade the pick, too.
Whatever the front office, led by general manager John Dorsey, decides to do, it'll have a ripple effect on how the rest of the league approaches the the draft. While Cleveland has had multiple first-round picks in three of the past four years (2014, 2015, 2017), this April is a bit different. After taking uber-athletic defensive end Myles Garrett first overall last year, the Browns are expected to tab a quarterback at No. 1 for the first time since 1999. And over the past few weeks, they've visited the top signal callers and are in the process of hosting them, among other prospects at various positions, on pre-draft visits.
Faced with the notion that other quarterback-needy teams — like the Jets, who traded up to No. 3 last month — could attempt to trade up, Jackson said the Browns aren't concerned about the plans of other teams. Such is the luxury, he said, of where Cleveland stands in the draft order.
"I think after we pick, or if we don't pick in the first round, it'll all kind of show itself. Obviously people are positioning themselves to go get players that they want," Jackson said. "John has been a master at it. He knows what he's doing, he knows how to do it and I think we're going to feel really good on draft day about what we do."