Cleveland Browns 2014 NFL Draft Fact or Fiction
We are less than one month away from the NFL draft, and the rumor mill is really heating up. The Cleveland Browns are the center of attention because they own the fourth overall pick, need a franchise quarterback and are the subject of a blockbuster movie that will soon hit theaters.
During this time of year, it is tough to wade through the murky waters. Sometimes what seems to be fact is merely seaweed rubbing up against your leg. Other times what you perceive to be fiction can end up being a great white shark of truth.
Despite general manager Ray Farmer’s best efforts, there are still rumors and speculation surrounding what the Browns will do with their fourth overall pick. What about center Alex Mack? Will he remain in Cleveland?
We cover all this and more as we play fact or fiction with the latest rumors and buzz surrounding the Browns.
Jaguars Will Offer Mack a Monster Five-Year Deal: Fact
When the Browns placed the transition tag on center Alex Mack, there was instantly a chance he could end up with a different team. Under the transition tag, the Browns only have the option to match any offer sent Mack’s way.
According to Schefter’s sources, this is expected to happen by Friday, and the Browns will have five days to match the offer. The Jaguars will try to make the offer sheet as difficult as possible for the Browns to match so they can snag one of the premier centers in the NFL.
He also cites sources close to Mack saying that he wants to play in Jacksonville now and not Cleveland. This is starting to look like the beginning of the end. His departure would create another need to be addressed through the draft.
Browns Will Match Any Offer for Mack: Fiction
If and when the Jaguars do sign Mack to an offer sheet, the Browns were thought to be ready and able to match. Last week ProFootballTalk reported the Browns would match a $22 million guaranteed offer.
Then, at the premiere of the movie Draft Day, owner Jimmy Haslam hinted that Mack would end up with the Browns. He even went as far as to say, “We remain optimistic that Alex Mack will be a Cleveland Brown for a long time.”
So that means the Browns would match any offer, right? Wrong. The Jaguars could format their offer for Mack to give the Browns such a large cap hit this year and next that they would need to restructure his deal before 2015 or cut him.
Seeing as how Mack seems to not want to be in Cleveland anyway, it looks like he will be playing for the Jaguars next season.
I applaud the Browns if they do not match the offer. Mack is good, but he is not a game-changer and certainly does not deserve the kind of money that sets the bar for centers around the league. If he ends up with the Jaguars, the Browns will need to select a center in the first four or five rounds of the draft.
Browns Will Take Carr with the Fourth Pick: Fiction
The Derek Carr-to-Cleveland train is picking up steam, and it sounds like the next stop is his selection with the Browns’ fourth overall pick. According to Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Browns are strongly considering using their pick on Carr.
I find this one very hard to believe. I could see them taking Carr in the first round. To me, however, it would be after trading down a few picks or with the 26th if he happened to fall.
Most general managers will draft the best available player, and even if Carr is the best available quarterback when they draft at No. 4, they will likely have other players rated higher.
Carr might end up as the quarterback of the Browns, but I doubt it happens with the fourth pick.
Browns Could Select Two QBs in the Draft: Fact
Currently the Browns have just one legitimate quarterback on their roster. Brian Hoyer will be patiently waiting to see whom he will compete against in training camp.
That does not mean the Browns would not follow the lead of the Washington Redskins two years ago and draft two quarterbacks, according to Mary Kay Cabot.
#browns Pettine said it's possible the team will draft two QBs like the redskins did in 2012.— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) March 25, 2014
While this is a very real possibility, I cannot see the Browns selecting two quarterbacks in the first few rounds. They know that Hoyer can compete, and bringing in two more guys for one position would limit their ability to fill other holes.
If they bring in a second quarterback, it will be in the later rounds, and he will most likely be wearing a headset and holding a clipboard every Sunday.
The Browns May Not Select a Quarterback with the Fourth Pick: Fact
This one is obvious. Depending on who is available at No. 4, the Browns could wait until later in the first round or perhaps later in the draft to take a quarterback.
If the Browns love Jadeveon Clowney and he falls to them, they would certainly pass on the quarterbacks. As NFL.com’s Marc Sessler points out, the Browns are not dead set on drafting a quarterback and could end up taking a defensive player fourth overall.
This is why the Browns are such a wild card come draft day. No one knows who they really like, if they place high value on any of the quarterbacks, how much they truly like Hoyer and how Farmer will react when the clock starts ticking.
Browns fans are just hoping that however it plays out, Farmer is smarter than the other guys who did his job for the past 15 years.
The Browns Would Pass on Teddy Bridgewater If He Fell to No. 26: Fiction
In the last two mock drafts done by ESPNCleveland.com’s Tony Grossi, he had Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater falling all the way to 26 and the Browns passing on him.
He cites small hands, light weight and needing a glove to grip the football as reasons the Browns would not take him at the bottom of the first round. I think this is crazy.
Sure, the Browns may not want Bridgewater with the fourth overall pick, but at a certain point, his value is too high to pass. That point comes well before the 26th pick.
In fact, I would venture to say that if the Browns do not draft a quarterback at No. 4 and Bridgewater falls out of the top 10, the Browns will be burning up the phone lines to trade up and get him.
Guess what? They will not be the only team that does it, either.
He was considered the best quarterback in this draft for quite a while, and many experts still feel that way. One bad pro day will not make him fall to the bottom of the first round.
The Browns Are Happy with the Press from the Draft Day Movie: Fact
In the movie Draft Day, which is set to release to the nation this week, it portrays a downtrodden franchise in need of a savior general manager. A team that desperately needs an answer to correct years of poor play on the field.
It seems somewhat odd that the Browns would embrace the movie so much, but they do. They gladly opened their arms and doors to the film crew and allowed them to tape wherever they needed inside their building.
They allowed them to use some of their players in the move, and even the owner attended the movie premiere on Tuesday night. Truth be told, the Browns love all of this.
For years they were the forgotten franchise with a recluse owner, but not anymore. That is not how Jimmy Haslam rolls. He allowed a Travel Channel reality show to follow the team two seasons ago and is always present to speak at press conferences.
He loves the flare and the spotlight and feels as though the success will follow once the brand is revived. Let’s hope he is right. At the very least it could create some excitement for the young players the Browns bring in through the draft.