The Cleveland Browns may have an “astronomical grade” on Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett, but at least one NFL draft analyst feels the team will go a different direction in the event they maintain their stronghold on the No. 1 pick in the 2017 selection show. ESPN’s Todd McShay, who released his first of a slew of mock drafts to be published between now and the spring, forecasts the Browns to go with Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen in what looks like a very defense-heavy first round.
While McShay doesn’t completely rule out Garrett as the guy, he does dispel any narrative that would put a quarterback at the top of the heap.
Let’s get this out of the way: No QB in this class is worth the No. 1 pick. The Browns just need more good football players. Allen is a total game-plan wrecker along the defense front (13 tackles for loss, 15 QB hurries). Texas A&M pass-rusher Myles Garrett also figures to be in the mix here.
Making matters a bit more interesting, despite all quarterbacks still being available with the Browns’ second first-round pick (currently tabbed for No. 9), McShay has the Browns loading up on more defense in the way of UCLA’s Takkarist McKinley.
Taking the versatile Jonathan Allen with the No. 1 overall pick would allow the Browns to target McKinley with the second of their first-round picks. The UCLA pass-rusher has elite speed off the edge, which has helped make him one of the biggest draft risers this season (18.0 tackles for loss and 10.0 sacks in 11 games). Florida State RB Dalvin Cook also could be in the conversation here for an offense that will be looking for more home run hitters.
In the top 32, McShay has 21 players being selected on the defensive side of the ball. For those wondering what the quarterback situation looks like, McShay doesn’t have a pass-hurler being selected until the No. 30 pick when Kansas City selects Cleveland native Mitch Trubisky, meaning both Clemson’s Dehaun Watson and Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer (who the Browns have recently been linked to) would be available for the Browns’ first selection at the top of the second round.
For what it’s worth, Pro Football Focus’ recently published mock has the Browns going with Garrett at No. 1 and Trubisky at No. 9. It’s safe to expect a cavalcade of combinations in future mocks, but when you have a team with so, so many holes, anything is possible.