The Browns’ trade for Bills veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor on Friday doesn’t prove Cleveland is more or less likely to draft a QB with the first overall pick on April 26, holding both the No. 1 and 4 picks with the Giants and Colts positioned at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively.
What Browns GM John Dorsey’s collective Friday actions did reveal, however, in his trades for Taylor, Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry and Packers defensive back Damarious Randall, is that Dorsey is going to be decisive in identifying the players he wants and aggressive in pursuing them in his first year running the Browns.
The trade for Taylor does confirm that Dorsey intends to draft a quarterback with one of his two picks at the top of the first round; that hasn’t changed.
Taylor, 28, carries only one year of starter’s money ($18 million cap hit, per overthecap.com) on his current contract, so he sets up as a perfect stop-gap for a more affordable rookie quarterback who can sit for a year and learn, or replace Taylor halfway through 2018 if he’s ready.
But my bigger takeaway from Friday was Dorsey’s bullish tone and what it could mean on draft night. Think about it: Dorsey now has made clear that A) he will trade for/take what he wants, and B) he knows what he wants.
The Browns, for example, think the world of Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, like every other team in the Western Hemisphere. But the difference is Cleveland has the first opportunity to take him, plus another pick three choices later to still get a top-notch QB.
If Dorsey badly wants Barkley, clearly he is not the type who will go QB at one — especially not just because of the pressure of the franchise’s futility at the position — and cross his fingers hoping Barkley still will be there at four.
He more likely would act and draft Barkley at one, then maybe offer the Giants the moon to move up from four to two to get his QB. Or he could take his surefire franchise QB at one and then offer a load of picks to the Giants to get Barkley. Or at least try.
It also comes down to this for Dorsey and quarterbacks at No. 1, just as it does for the Giants’ Dave Gettleman at No. 2: he has to decide whether there is a can’t-miss, clear number one quarterback that he can’t live without.
On a side note, Buffalo also cannonballed into this draft’s quarterback hunt, holding both the No. 21 and 22 picks in the first round, armed and prepared to move up for their guy.
Friday, though, mainly was a reminder that this is not Dorsey’s first rodeo, with 26 years of NFL player personnel experience including four years as GM of the Kansas City Chiefs, and that this draft will proceed as he sees fit.
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