The Cleveland Browns own the top pick in the draft, but the team doesn’t seem intent on settling for just one top-5 selection.
Michael Silver of the NFL Network reported the Browns have discussed trading up from the No. 12 pick with three unspecified teams picking in the top eight. Trading up, presumably, would allow the Browns to land not only the draft’s top prospect in Myles Garrett, but also their preferred quarterback prospect.
After the Browns pick first, the teams in the 2-8 range are the 49ers, Bears, Jaguars, Titans, Jets, Chargers, and Panthers. Of those teams, only the Panthers and Titans are set at the quarterback position with established players. The Jaguars seem OK with Blake Bortles despite not coming through with the breakout season many expected. A wild card in this mix could be the Chargers, a team with stability at the position, but Philip Rivers will play the 2017 at age 36 and the Los Angeles-bound team could be in the market to draft an heir apparent.
This leaves the 49ers, Bears, and Jets as quarterback-starved teams that could throw a wrench in Cleveland’s plan on drafting Mitchell Trubisky (their presumed target) with the 12th pick. And while there isn’t a sure bet among the quarterbacks pegged as a top-10 talent, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York could ditch plans to draft defensive standouts to make an attempt at finding a long-term solution at the game’s most important position.
Hence, Cleveland’s draft day quandary.
You will recall, there is a report out there that the Bears are among the teams near the top of the draft “antsy” to trade down. However, it has also been reported that the 49ers are considering drafting a quarterback, which could make trading up to the third pick a fruitless endeavor for the Browns (or could push them to trade with the 49ers instead of the Bears).
With all that said, what would a potential deal look like from a Bears perspective? Here’s this from Greg Gabriel:
The cost for Browns to go to 3 is about 1000 points. Clevelands two 2's (33 & 53) are 960 points. I would think that would get it done
— Greg Gabriel (@greggabe) April 26, 2017
The Browns have hoarded picks for the 2017 and 2018 drafts, arming themselves to make a deal of this caliber to find the quarterback of their dreams. If Trubisky is that guy and the Bears can convince them to making a deal to move into the third spot, all parties could come away with what they want. Cleveland can snag two of the top three picks, adding the draft’s best prospect and top quarterback option in exchange for Chicago picking up additional picks in a deep draft, greatly aiding its roster rebuild.
Now, the biggest challenge for the Bears is to get it done without the 49ers getting in the way and mucking it up. San Francisco could offer the No. 2 overall pick, or even draft Trubisky (or another quarterback) themselves. As I said, either move would effectively neuter any hopes the Bears have of shopping that third pick to the Browns.
Brett Taylor contributed to this post.