ORLANDO — The Browns spent last week trekking across the country on a tour of the top quarterbacks in this year's NFL Draft. Now, they'll host those signal-callers on pre-draft visits next month as Cleveland continues its search for a long-term answer at the game's most important position.
"That's another piece of information for us," head coach Hue Jackson said Tuesday at the league's annual meeting. "That's probably the last piece of the process for us to bring them to campus and have an opportunity to sit down with them in a different environment and talk through the things … that will be the final piece for us."
The Browns, owners of the first and fourth overall picks, will use at least four of their 30 pre-draft visits on quarterbacks USC's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen, Wyoming's Josh Allen and Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield, whom they met with in back-to-back workouts last week.
Cleveland is in position to select a quarterback at No. 1 for the first time since 1999 and end what's been years of instability at the position. Jackson, who enters his third season as the Browns' head coach, believes there's a franchise-caliber quarterback in this year's group of passers.
"I think the guy's in there," he said. "I really do."
Darnold, Rosen, Allen and Mayfield are all projected to be first-round picks next month, though there's no consensus on which signal-caller might be the best of the bunch. In the span of four days, Cleveland's front office -- a group that included Jackson, general manager John Dorsey, owner Jimmy Haslam and assistant general manager Eliot Wolf -- met with all four players in hopes of gathering more information and establishing "clarity of thought."
Jackson said all four quarterbacks are all deserving of being the No. 1 pick in different ways. "I think we all have a pretty good understanding of who the guys are, what they bring to the table," he said. "They're all very worthy candidates. They're all kind of different. But then again, we have to see what's the best fit for us."
Jackson, Dorsey and Cleveland's front office will try to figure that out with less than a month until the draft. While the Browns haven't trained their focus on one signal-caller, Jackson said the team's executive group is "very close" to a consensus.
"We'll get together here soon," he said, "and put our heads together and see what's best."