The consensus is that Myles Garrett will be the first pick in this month’s NFL draft, and that the Texas A&M DE can be a generational player. The consensus does not always turn out to be right, mind you—but it’s right more often than it’s wrong. The Cleveland Browns, picking No. 1, need just about everything, and Garrett’s been the projection now for a long time. But could we all just be getting okey-doked?
The Cleveland Browns have not made up their minds about who to select with the first overall pick in the NFL draft, a league source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Tuesday. The Browns’ decision appears to be between defensive end Myles Garrett and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, the source said.
Another NFL executive of a team that has a top-10 pick said, “Don’t be surprised if Myles Garrett isn’t the No. 1 pick.”
The likelihood is that this is the usual smokescreen, that the Browns know they’re taking Garrett but if they can convince a team that needs a QB—and there are a bunch in the top 10—that Trubisky might not be there, that team might be willing to trade up. It’s never a bad idea to see what you can get, and if the Browns weren’t obscuring their intentions, they’d be negligent.
But! But. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that there are people in Cleveland’s front office (since it seems like coach Hue Jackson is all in on Garrett) who believe Trubisky can be a franchise quarterback. And if he actually can, well, this decision gets quite a bit tougher.
This is a quarterback’s league and will be for the forseeable future. If the Browns hit on a QB at No. 1, with the NFL the way it is, he’d be more valuable to them than would Myles Garrett, even if Garrett turns out to be a Hall of Famer. You can win a Super Bowl without a great individual pass rusher. You’re much less likely to win a Super Bowl without a great quarterback. Drafting Garrett only feels like a no-brainer until you factor in the opportunity cost of not drafting a franchise QB. If that franchise QB is in this draft, that is—no certain thing, obviously.
I am glad I am not in the position to make this decision, but gun to head, Garrett’s still my pick. The worst thing you can do with a high draft pick is miss, and he’s the least likely to miss. Of course, making good decisions and accurately weighing risk and reward are among the things that separate successful franchises from ones that measure their dry spells in decades.
Note: All of this analysis holds only if Cleveland is somehow able to violate the inviolable rule of Browns drafts, which states that prospects are in a good/bad quantum superposition, and become bad if they are drafted by the Browns and good if they are not.