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Tough choice: Browns mulling 4 quarterbacks with No. 1 pick

Tue Apr 24 3:41pm ET
AP Sports Writer

In this April 19, 2018, file photo, Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey answers questions about the draft during a news conference at the NFL football team's training camp facility, in Berea, Ohio. With the NFL draft quickly approaching, the teams die-hard supporters, and there have been few groups in NFL history to suffer like this one has the past two seasons, are divided over which of the top four college QBs the team should select. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

CLEVELAND (AP) As far as Cleveland fans are concerned, only one quarterback fits all the essential criteria for the Browns to draft him with the No. 1 overall pick.

His last name? Darnoldallenrosenmayfield.

With the NFL draft quickly approaching, the team's die-hard supporters, and there have been few groups in NFL history to suffer like this one has the past two seasons, are divided over which of the top four college QBs the team should select.

There's the Sam Darnold contingent, which sees the two-year Southern Cal starter as the safest choice, the one who checks all the positive boxes. Josh Allen's supporters point to the big Wyoming QB's high-velocity arm, which could help him knife passes through those tricky home winds off Lake Erie.

Josh Rosen's backers love the UCLA star's accuracy and his cerebral game. And of course there's the Baker Mayfield army, which dismiss his 6-foot frame and believe Oklahoma's swaggering Heisman Trophy winner is the next Brett Favre.

Oh, and let's not forget the fans who feel Penn State running back Saquon Barkley is worthy of going first and that the Browns can wait until No. 4 to get their quarterback.

But while there's no clear consensus between fans as the Browns prepare for a franchise-changing draft, general manager John Dorsey and his staff will have presumably reached an accord by the time Commissioner Roger Goodell is handed their card on the stage at AT&T Stadium.

If not, well, these are the bumbling Browns.

Cleveland's inability to find a franchise quarterback - they've had 28 starters since 1999 - is the biggest reason for the team's sustained misery. And once again they have the chance to correct the problem after passing on Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson in the past two drafts.

Dorsey, who as Kanas City's GM got the Chiefs turned around with some solid drafts, has been aggressive in fixing mistakes by previous Cleveland regimes. Since December, he's traded for QB Tyrod Taylor and Pro Bowl receiver Jarvis Landry, revamped the secondary and spent months scouting the top quarterbacks.

He knows what he's looking for.

''The only thing I really care about is do the guys win?'' he said ''Does he have accuracy? Does he have a strong arm? Can he throw the ball in the red zone and in tight windows? Can he drive the ball? At the end of the game, does he win? That is kind of what I look for.''


Dorsey insists he's keeping his options open, and that he'd trade the top pick for the right package. ''My phone always rings,'' he said. And with several teams in the market for a quarterback, it's likely the Browns will entertain offers. However, that doesn't mean Dorsey will make a deal.

The Browns remain haunted by their decision to trade first-round picks with Philadelphia and Houston the past two years, swaps that cost them Wentz and Watson.


Dorsey raised some eyebrows last week when he cited the importance of hand size as one of his top criteria in selecting a quarterback. Cleveland's inclement weather can make gripping the ball a challenge, and therefore the bigger the hand, the better.

Using hands as an exclusive measuring stick, Allen (10 1/8 inches) would be Dorsey's favorite over Rosen (9 7/8), Darnold (9 3/8) and Mayfield (9 1/4).


The top pick isn't the only tough choice for the Browns, who may be torn at No. 4 between taking Barkley (if he's still available) or North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb.

The 6-foot-4, 270 pound Chubb would be a perfect complement to Myles Garrett, last year's top overall pick who had a solid rookie season despite being slowed by an ankle injury. Chubb led the ACC with 10 sacks last season, and the thought of having to block him and Garrett would give an NFL offensive coordinator nightmares.

''I would be thrilled to have a guy like that because he fits all of the models we talk about,'' Dorsey said. ''He is a good football player. He is a man of character. He would be great in the locker room. Really, he is a super kid.''


Garrett was a smart pick, but the Browns haven't been so savvy in recent years. Of the team's 11 first-round selections since 2012, only four are still with the team - and three were selected last year.

Wide receiver Corey Coleman (No. 15 in 2016) has struggled with injuries and inconsistency. The Browns did find a late-round gem that year in linebacker Joe Schobert (No. 99 overall), who made the Pro Bowl in his second season.

Player Notes
Josh Allen Oct 23 9:50pm ET

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Marcus Maye Oct 23 9:40pm ET

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Amari Cooper Oct 23 9:40pm ET

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Paxton Lynch Oct 23 7:53pm ET

Free-agents QB Paxton Lynch (Broncos) and TE Ben Koyack (Jaguars) worked out for the Tennessee Titans Tuesday, Oct. 23.

Josh Ferguson Oct 23 7:43pm ET

Houston Texans RB Josh Ferguson was released Tuesday, Oct. 23.

Doug Middleton Oct 23 7:33pm ET

New York Jets S Doug Middleton (pectoral) was sent to the Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Oct. 23.

Aaron Burbridge Oct 23 7:33pm ET

Free-agent WR Aaron Burbridge (49ers) was re-signed to the San Francisco 49ers' practice squad Tuesday, Oct. 23.

Albert Wilson Oct 23 7:00pm ET

While Miami Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson (hip) won't need surgery, he's still likely to be placed on Injured Reserve to give him time to recover, according to a source. He won't be eligible to return for eight weeks, so fantasy owners that added him last week off waivers will need to dump him already. Kenny Stills is also out for Thursday against the Texans, so Miami will go with Danny Amendola, Jakeem Grant and Devante Parker in three-wide sets. Amendola is the most attractive fantasy option in PPR leagues and could serve as a WR3 as a bye-week filler.

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George Kittle Oct 23 7:00pm ET

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle is emerging as a top-tier TE1. After adding 98 yards to his total in Week 7, Kittle now has 527 yards for the season, good for third amongst tight ends and 17th overall in the NFL. The second-year man continues to lead all Niners skill players in snaps (84%) and targets (49). With running back Matt Breida (ankle) questionable, Kittle could feature even more in the short-range passing attack. The 49ers face the Arizona Cardinals in Week 8, who have been stingy against tight ends. However, Kittle remains matchup-proof due to his high floor and prominent role in the offense.

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Everson Griffen Oct 23 6:50pm ET

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Albert Wilson Oct 23 6:43pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: This is a sizable loss for the Dolphins who are now shallow at wide receiver. Jakeem Grant, Danny Amendola and DeVante Parker will benefit this week with both Wilson and Kenny Stils out. Amendola is the most reliable Miami receiver, but Grant has the most big-play ability.

Kyle Williams Oct 23 6:40pm ET

The Buffalo Bills are 2-5 on the season and they really don't have much to look forward to for the remainder of the season. So why not take a look at who the team could select in the 2019 NFL draft? According to various outlets, the Bills will likely choose an offensive or defensive lineman in the first round. Depending on where exactly they pick, defensive tackle Ed Oliver (Houston) or edge rusher Nick Bosa (Ohio State), along with offensive tackles Jonah Williams (Alabama) and Yodny Cajuste (West Virginia), could be available. Any one of the four players would likely be counted on to contribute immediately. The Bills offensive line has been one of the worst in the league this year, while they also could use more depth on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive tackle Kyle Williams and outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.

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Jay Bromley Oct 23 6:03pm ET

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Obi Melifonwu Oct 23 5:33pm ET

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Sam Darnold Oct 23 5:30pm ET

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