The Cleveland Browns could make history. USA TODAY’s Draft Wire has the Browns taking a safety with the first position of the 2017 NFL Draft. While the consensus pick across the draft analysis industry is for the Browns to take the highest rated pass rusher in the past decade in Myles Garrett, there are a few outliers having them reach for a quarterback. Luke Easterling, however, is the first to have them go outside the realm of either and choose another player without a trade down.
Defensive backs are considered to be of lesser value than quarterbacks, pass rushers, or those who excel in pass protection. As such, only one defensive back has ever been drafted No. 1 overall. Gary Glick was the Pittsburgh Steelers first pick in the 1956 NFL Draft. He also served as their backup halfback and kicker.
The Browns themselves have had mixed success taking defensive backs high in the draft. Eric Turner was the No. 2 overall pick in the 1991 NFL Draft and Antonio Langham was the No. 9 pick in the 1994 NFL Draft, who both went on to have fantastic careers. Justin Gilbert was the No. 8 selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, who went on to have a less than stellar career.
No. 1 Jamal Adams, S, LSU
First off, don’t tell me the Browns aren’t crazy enough to do this. Second, Adams is the most polished, complete player in this entire draft, and that includes Myles Garrett. If there’s a flaw in Adams as a prospect, whether it’s between the lines, off the field or in the locker room, I’ve yet to find it.
Easterling goes on to have the San Francisco 49ers take Myles Garrett and calls it a dream scenario for them. Indeed, any scenario that has Garrett not being taken with the first selection—Browns or not—might well be considered fantasy.
Still, Adams is an incredible prospect who is worthy of being a Top 5 selection and could well be a target of the Browns should they listen to WFNY’s Craig Lyndall and consider a trade down. Adams is the son of former New York Giant running back George Adams, who was a noted vocal leader for the LSU Tigers defense. He is a fierce hitter who should become a feared strong safety. His range and coverage abilities will limit him to the strong side and he was limited in turnovers generated, but there is still a major place in any defense for a talent such as Adams.
No. 12 Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
If the Browns don’t take a quarterback with the top overall pick, they’d love to see one of the top passers still be available here. In this scenario, only one quarterback is off the board, and I think Trubisky would get the edge here.
Deshaun Watson went to the Chicago Bears in this mock draft, but most analysts are selecting quarterbacks more based on the team than the player in the first round. Watson, Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes, and DeShone Kizer have been seen in almost any order. The team tendencies and preferences might decide which quarterback is taken amongst this group.
Former Mr. Ohio Football only started one season for the North Carolina Tarheels, but he proved himself worthy enough for an early look by NFL teams. His pocket mobility has helped give him a calmness in the pocket. He also is capable of making all of the NFL throws with accuracy. But, his offense being a mixture of Air Raid and read-option limited his progression maturity even more than only starting a single season. He has footwork to learn and complicated defenses to read, which he struggled with even in his limited system. Trubisky would have a few passes a game that would be true “wow” throws, but his overall consistency was lacking. The question would be how quickly Hue Jackson can clean up his game.
Other Browns selections
No. 33 Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida
No. 50 Curtis Samuel, RB/WR, Ohio State
No. 65 Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech