Cleveland Browns provide no clear answer concerning plans for No. 1 pick or quarterback

Wednesday March 1st, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS — Cleveland’s Sashi Brown sounded Wednesday like a GM determined to upgrade at the quarterback position this off-season. Whether that means using the No. 1 or 12 or 33 pick on a prospect, swinging a trade or even dipping into free agency, Brown is not entirely sure. At least, not yet.

“I don’t think we look at it as we need to take a quarterback,” Brown said at the NFL scouting combine. “That said, that’s a position of emphasis for us. ... Anytime you don’t have your starting quarterback, there should always be an emphasis on [the position].”

Brown would not entirely rule out the possibility of the Browns heading into 2017 featuring a trio of Robert Griffin III, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan at QB—“that could be the reality that we’re faced with, so it’s something you have to prepare for,” he said.

But he added that none of those current options on the roster provides a clear answer at the game’s most important position.

“Those are three guys on our roster and we’ll continue to develop and work with them,” Brown said. “Doesn’t mean that’s necessarily our aiming point. We want one of those guys to develop and establish themselves as a good, quality long-term starter for us that can win a lot of games, but each of them has a ways to go to establish themselves.”

Barring a trade between now and April 27, Cleveland stands to have first crack at a potential franchise QB via the draft. The consensus for now, though, is that Texas A&M edge rusher Myles Garrett will land in that No. 1 spot. Brown did say, without revealing any further specifics, that the Browns had an early order of preference in mind for the draft’s top quarterbacks.

“I wouldn’t [say] at this point and this goes for ... I know there will be questions about Garrett and [Jonathan] Allen and all the guys at the top of the draft,” Brown said. “I just think it would be inappropriate for me and not wise to comment on how we feel about any individual player.”

In his brief time in charge of Cleveland’s roster, Brown has shown no qualms about pulling the trigger on a trade. He was active at last year’s draft, then shipped off a pick to New England for linebacker Jamie Collins during the 2016 season.

Not surprisingly, then, Brown left the door ajar ever so slightly that the No. 1 pick could be up for discussion.

“We’re going to—I think, responsibly—listen to any opportunities that are out there,” he said. “I think we have to do that, [but] that’s not a design of ours. We have to see what might come and what player might be available there as we get through this process.”

A likelier result could be Cleveland swinging that 12 or 33 pick elsewhere for a veteran QB like, say, Jimmy Garoppolo. The Patriots may be ready to throw some cold water on that—a report early Wednesday indicated that New England would hang onto its valuable backup.

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