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Mailbag: Why the slow OC search? OK for Myles Garrett to play hoops? Trading down in the draft?

Q: Any thought to why the Browns have not hired an offensive coordinator yet? 

— Justin Nalley

A: Coach Hue Jackson started the process without a definitive commitment to hire a coordinator. Once interviews began and more candidates became available — Mike Mularkey, Ben McAdoo, Todd Haley — he decided to go slowly and wait for a full field of choices. He also needs to be convinced the right guy is available if he’s going to add a coordinator for the first time in three seasons and give up play-calling duties.

Haley emerged over the weekend as a serious candidate. Jackson has seen up close for years what Haley did with the Steelers and apparently would like to add him.

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Q: Are you concerned about Myles Garrett playing basketball on the side? I am fearful that we will be hearing about a torn ACL soon.

— @Brad_Bertke

A: I understand the concern, especially with a No. 1 pick who’s had a history of injuries, but players work out in a variety of ways throughout the offseason, including playing basketball. They are always going to be susceptible to injuries.

Josh Gordon, Joe Haden and Josh McCown are among those I know who play a lot of basketball in the offseason.

Q: Given all our picks, where does left tackle rate in terms of priority regardless if Joe Thomas comes back?

— @playballJB

A: Thomas made it clear Wednesday night at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards the organization will need to address the position soon, whether his retirement comes in a few weeks or after 2018 or ’19. With Thomas, left tackle is down the list of priorities, after quarterback, cornerback, safety, receiver and running back, to name a few. Without Thomas, it moves up right behind quarterback.

If Thomas retires this offseason, that should mean taking the best lineman with the No. 4 pick or waiting no longer than No. 33.

If he returns for 2018, the Browns should take a midround flyer on a left tackle with potential. If he doesn’t show enough promise in his first year, the Browns can then draft Thomas’ replacement in the first round whenever he decides to walk away.

Q: Who is the best running back in the draft to pair with Duke Johnson Jr. as a good 1-2 punch?

— @attilaLSG

A: The easy answer is Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, but I don’t like taking a running back in the top five, no matter how good he is. History has shown quality starting running backs can be found throughout the draft. New general manager John Dorsey got Kareem Hunt in the third round last year with the Chiefs, and he led the league in rushing.

I haven’t done enough draft preparation to give you an informed answer about other possible backs, but I know I like what I’ve seen of Georgia’s Sony Michel.

Q: Is there any legitimate reasoning for the Browns to trade back this year in the 1st round?

— @Bangarang81

A: Sure. But only if they get an offer they can’t refuse.

I don’t expect them to move out of the No. 1 spot — unless they sign Kirk Cousins — but they should be open to trading No. 4 if a team is desperate to trade up, especially for a quarterback.

The Browns are too young to use all 12 draft picks and should be looking for opportunities to move up and add quality over quantity, but if they could acquire multiple picks over the next couple of years in exchange for trading down a few spots, they should consider it.

Q: Any chance the Browns try to trade pick No. 1 or No. 4 for Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes instead of drafting a QB?

— @ZKA09

A: I don’t think so. The Chiefs seem high on Mahomes, especially after he impressed in Week 17. But if Dorsey covets Mahomes and Chiefs coach Andy Reid likes Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen better, then it’s not the craziest idea.

The more likely option is for veteran Alex Smith to be traded from the Chiefs to the Browns to create an opportunity for Mahomes in Kansas City and give Cleveland a bridge to whomever they draft No. 1.

Q: When will we see an 8-win season? Be gentle.

— @BMTBFisAlive

A: With the right veteran quarterback and an aggressive, intelligent approach in free agency, the Browns could challenge .500 this year. But more realistic is 2019. That should be the demand of ownership.

Q: Did coach Hue Jackson jump in the lake yet?

— @TheMMQBL

A: No. He said he’ll do it on his timetable. That means when the weather and lake warm up.

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.

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