Buckle up. Anyone who has enjoyed the craziness of silly season in the lead up to the 2017 NFL Draft is in for a treat. There is one week before the Cleveland Browns select Myles Garrett, defensive end from Texas A&M, with the first overall pick.
Whoops. Sorry. Did I ruin the surprise? The most obvious selection since Andrew Luck was taken by the Indianapolis Colts has yet to come to fruition, but even the media intent on spinning every possibility are struggling to link the Browns to anyone other than Garrett. Heck, the drama should have ended when defensive coordinator Gregg Williams told a room full of fans that they were taking the most athletic pass rusher to come out of college in years. For those keeping score at home: football person Hue Jackson is on record as wanting Myles Garrett as is Williams, the Browns analytics have reportedly given Garrett an astronomical grade, and every website that favors analytics has done the same.
Such obviousness doesn’t stop the attempts to garner more clicks with salacious headlines. Some of these are rooted in actual NFL sources throwing a mix of real and false information in order to attempt to throw others off the scent of their intentions. One potential damaging rumor has been about a division between the football people and front office folks in Berea. Despite a disdain for playing into rumor season, Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown decided to debunk it when he said “Yes, that would be false, but I am not going to comment on every rumor that is out there. It would take me a lot of time to do it because every day there is a new rumor.”
Indeed, with seven days until the actual draft takes place, the narrative has shifted in the media on the Browns. With the Garrett selection proving to be difficult to lead elsewhere after people laughed off the Leonard Fournette rumors, the No. 12 pick has become the recent focus.
— Walter Cherepinsky (@walterfootball) April 19, 2017
Charlie Campbell is a well-thought of NFL Draft analyst who does have connections throughout the league. There should be little doubt that he has been told about talks between the New York Jets and Browns regarding a potential trade up to the No. 6 overall selection. He mentions that the current contention between the teams is that the Jets want the No. 33 pick and No. 108 pick to drop from No. 6 to No. 12, but the Browns are offering the No. 52 and No. 145 selections instead. The rumored target for the Browns is said to be quarterback Mitchell Trubisky from North Carolina though the name attached has less certainty than the talks taking place.
The Browns refuse to answer questions about specific rumors, and fans would be apt to remember there were few connecting the team to wide receiver Corey Coleman in the build up to the 2016 NFL Draft. The front office is also reticent on their intentions with potential movement in the draft, but they did note they would be open to moving up if the situation presented itself when Browns noted “We don’t want to get into a habit of turning two picks into one, so to speak. We just don’t think that is a good way to do business over time. We have studied this around the league, and it is just our inclination. It does not mean that if there is a player there we might not go take a shot. We think we are positioned to be able to do that without impacting our draft much.”
Whether the Browns consider Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, or Patrick Mahomes worthy of reversing roles with the Jets from the Mark Sanchez trade remains to be seen. Jumping ahead of teams such as the Buffalo Bills and New Orlean Saints who have been also linked to quarterbacks might or might not be a concern. Being silly season, it is also entirely possible that any trade up to No. 6 would be for an elite defensive playmaker who happened to play college ball in the great state of Ohio.
As for that first overall pick, Brown replied “Stay tuned next Thursday (laughter). I knew you were going to ask that, Pat (McManamon).”
Too bad the internet investigators already have their answer.
Unless you are still among those who believe Derek Barnett, defensive end from Tennessee, will be a better NFL player.
After talking to sources I've realized Charles Harris will be selected higher than most believe, possibly ahead of Derek Barnett. #NFLDraft
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) April 19, 2017
Enjoy the week, just try not to take what you hear between now and Roger Goodell announcing the actual selections so seriously.