Temptation to take Trubisky over Garrett a test of Browns patience


For some time, it has appeared that the first pick in the 2017 NFL Draft has seemed a foregone conclusion.

Myles Garrett, who looks every bit a once-in-a-generation pass rusher, is comfortably the best player in the class and would significantly improve a Browns defence that ranked 31st in the NFL as Cleveland narrowly avoided the embarrassment of a winless season in 2016.

However, with the draft on the horizon, there is increasing talk the Browns could pass on Garrett and draft Mitchell Trubisky, who many regard as the top quarterback in the class, or even use the 12th overall pick to trade back into the top 10 to ensure they do not miss out on the North Carolina passer.

This speculation comes despite a draft process that has seen the quality of the quarterback class widely criticised.

Few observers believe that Trubisky, nor the likes of DeShone Kizer, DeShaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes II, are worthy of a top-10 pick. Indeed, many are of the view that none of the top quartet of quarterbacks should even be taken in the first round.

With 11 selections in this draft and in 2018, the Browns have a bounty of picks with which to rebuild a roster lacking in talent.

In addition, Cleveland also boasts a quarterback in Cody Kessler who head coach Hue Jackson is an outspoken fan of.

Upon drafting Kessler in the third round last year, Jackson pleaded with Browns fans to "trust me on this one."

So why, after making that plea, would the Browns suddenly reach or send picks to another team to draft a quarterback high rather than restocking other areas of the team and giving Kessler at least another year to develop?

It is a particularly intriguing question given that next year's crop of draftable quarterbacks are regarded as superior to the 2017 group, and the answer comes back to a lack of patience in the modern-day NFL.

Despite going 1-15 last year, the Browns did show some signs of progress, but they have not featured in the playoffs since 2003, last recording a season with more than seven wins back in 2007.

The 2007 season was also the last time the Browns had a capable quarterback in the form of Derek Anderson, and it remains extremely difficult for any team without a serviceable starter to threaten success.

In that sense any urgency the Browns may be feeling to reach for a player like Trubisky makes sense. Competing in a city where the NBA's Cavaliers and MLB's Indians have recently been among the best teams in their respective leagues, Cleveland's fans are tired of seeing their NFL representative serve as a laughing stock.

But the Browns are not even close to being a quarterback away from the postseason, they have a lot of holes to fill on both sides of the ball and, even if Cleveland's only need was under centre, Trubisky - who displays impressive arm strength and mobility but has also demonstrated questionable footwork and accuracy - is far from a sure thing.

That is not to say Cleveland should not take a quarterback in this draft, in fact it is a wise policy for teams to take one in every draft until they find their franchise passer.

However, using the top pick or executing a costly trade to land Trubisky would be an unnecessary and panicky move by a franchise that is starting to get on the right track.

Cleveland would be better served taking Garrett and waiting for the board to come to them when it comes to quarterbacks. If they do that, it will show that there is still some patience in the NFL.