Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey wasn’t bluffing after all.
More than a month ago, he said he liked quarterback Baker Mayfield. Everyone thought it was a smokescreen.
Fooled me, fooled you, fooled everybody.
The Browns took the 6-foot-plus QB with overflowing confidence and later came back at No. 4 to fill a need at cornerback by taking the best one in Ohio State’s Denzel Ward.
But let’s sit back and analyze.
Let’s hope Mayfield turns out to be better than Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson, because trading away those picks in 2016 and 2017 resulted in the Browns going winless and the Eagles and Texans finding their franchise quarterbacks.
Sure the Browns got a load of picks, actually parlaying the five Eagles picks into 10, and got Ward with the fourth overall pick from the Texans. But by getting more picks the Browns also gave the Titans an All-Pro offensive tackle in Jack Conklin while ending up with guys like WR Corey Coleman and S Jabril Peppers, as well as rejected QBs DeShone Kizer and Cody Kessler.
Despite all the excitement in Cleveland, this whole draft process over the past three years has been a miss.
Traded No. 10 to Arizona for No. 15, No. 79 (third round), No. 152 (fifth) to Arizona. Traded No. 79 for Steelers WR Martavis Bryant.
Basically, they traded Josh Rosen for Kolton Miller and Martavis Bryant. Miller is a one-year starter who has big upside. But no one saw the UCLA offensive tackle as a top-15 pick. Bryant has already been suspended and is barely a No. 2 target.
Traded No. 18, No. 248 (seventh) to Packers for No. 27, No. 76 (third round), No. 186 (sixth).
Rashaad Penny? Really?
Of all the running backs available, Seattle pulled yet another draft surprise (Remember Bruce Irvin No. 15 in 2012, or even Malik McDowell in the second round in 2017) by selecting the very versatile Penny.
Seattle dropped nine spots and only picked up third- and sixth-rounders. Then, to compound it all, the Seahawks used it on a running back, where so many others such as Sony Michel, Derrius Guice and Ronald Jones II were available.
A month ago, San Francisco won a coin flip with Oakland and got the No. 9 overall pick. Unlike last year, the 49ers couldn’t parlay it into anything exciting except offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey, a mid-first-round projection whose selection elicited muted reaction at the 49ers draft party.
However, on deeper inspection, left tackle Joe Staley is 34 and right tackle Trent Brown is coming off shoulder surgery and was reportedly quite out of shape. Brown also is in his contract year.
Pre-draft trade of No. 6, 37 (second), 39 (second) to Colts for No. 3.
They paid a bunch to move up to No. 3 overall and possibly got a player most thought would go No. 1 in QB Sam Darnold.
Darnold is the quarterback former players (Troy Aikman and Steve Smith) and all those draft analysts preferred. He has the same skill set as No. 1 pick Baker Mayfield but is bigger.
When asked by Deion Sanders what the Jets can expect from him, Darnold said: “A lot of wins.”
How’s this tidbit, though, a USC quarterback has never led a team to a Super Bowl win.
Traded No. 16, No. 154 (fifth) to Bills for No. 22, No. 65 (third).
Traded No. 22, No. 215 (sixth) to Titans for No. 25, No. 125 (fourth).
Traded No. 52 (second), No. 125 (fourth), 2019 second for No. 32, No. 132 (fourth).
Baltimore came in sitting at No. 16, adroitly maneuvered to land two first-rounders without damaging their future and came away with Hayden Hurt, the top tight end, and Lamar Jackson, the most exciting two-way quarterback in the draft.
Traded No. 14 to Saints for No. 27, No. 147 (fifth round) and 2019 No. 1.
Traded No. 27, No. 76 (third round), No. 186 (sixth) to Seahawks for No. 16, No. 248 (seventh).
Green Bay really needed defensive help, especially at corner, its No. 1 need. After all the trade smoke had cleared, the Packers moved down just two spots, picked up a No. 1 next year and still got possibly the top cornerback on their board in Jaire Alexander (5-foot-11, 192, 4.38).
Traded No. 7, No. 255 (seventh) to Bills for No. 12, No. 53 (second), No. 56 (second).
It was natural partnership, an NFC team with an AFC team desperate for a quarterback. The Bills took wild-armed QB Josh Allen. The Bucs got the best interior defensive lineman in Vita Vea, plus two second-rounders. Vea is mobile and immovable. He throws 300-pounders around. He should free up defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Vinny Curry, who came via trade and free agency.
Traded No. 15, No. 79 (third), No. 152 (fifth) to Arizona for No. 10
Arizona was desperate to get a quarterback and just needed a trading partner. Luckily, the Raiders obliged. The Cardinals didn’t give up much to move up into the top 10 to get UCLA’s smooth-slinging Josh Rosen, whom many considered the best pure passer in the draft. He’s like Carson Palmer — immobile but with a talented arm.
The Steelers linebacker who suffered a spine injury last December showed great determination in walking out with his fiancee to introduce the Steelers’ No. 1 pick, the 28th selection overall, bringing many of the analysts to tears.
“That was an awesome moment,” NFL Network draft host Rich Eisen said.
“I got chills, bumps walking out there with his fiancee,” NFLN analyst Mike Mayock said.
His presence overshadowed the pick of Terrell Edmunds (6-1, 217, 4.47), a third-round projection.
READY AND WAITING
Top players available or Day 2 include center-guard James Daniels, outside rusher Harold Landry, guard Will Hernandez, cornerback Josh Jackson and quarterback Mason Rudolph.