Q: Since the Browns have acquired a 6-foot-1, accurate, non-interception-throwing Tyrod Taylor via trade, is it a reasonable assumption GM John Dorsey, with input from consultant Scot McCloughan, will draft 6-0 3/8 Baker Mayfield? What’s 5/8 of an inch when it comes to all Mayfield’s other attributes and intangibles?
— Roger Fierst
A: Well, Roger, if you believe the scouting combine measurement (6-0 5/8), it’s less than a half-inch difference between Mayfield and Taylor. And I see where you’re going with your question.
One of the first thoughts I had after the deal for Taylor was that it could pave the way for Mayfield or Louisville’s Lamar Jackson. If coach Hue Jackson and coordinator Todd Haley commit to an offense to take advantage of Taylor’s running skills, Mayfield or Jackson would be a natural fit in the scheme. So I think it would be silly to dismiss a possible connection.
Having said that, the acquisition of Taylor could simply be that he was the best available quarterback option and Dorsey will draft whichever quarterback he likes best, regardless of size, shape or style. I’m still leaning toward this explanation, and Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen at No. 1.
Q: After four trades in 24 hours the Browns have gone quiet, at the time of this question at least, so my questions are: Will the Browns make any more trades before Wednesday? And what should the Browns’ first free agent transaction be now?
— Justin Nalley
A: I wouldn’t rule out anything with general manager John Dorsey regarding a trade and would guarantee he’ll be working the phones before and after the league year starts at 4 p.m. Wednesday. Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry is reportedly available and seems like a natural target, depending on the asking price. I think a veteran pass rusher would really help Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah.
As for the start of free agency, the focus has shifted after the trades for Tyrod Taylor and receiver Jarvis Landry. Despite the trade for Damarious Randall, I would put cornerback at the top of the list. The position is so important and the Browns need more help. Safety, pass rusher, tight end and receiver should also be targets.
I have one giant caveat: If Joe Thomas retires, left tackle jumps to the top of the list.
Q: Help me, please, as I’m struggling to comprehend the urgency over dealing Danny Shelton. The team is also surrendering this year’s fifth-round pick for a third-rounder next year. This means Cleveland has access neither to the player nor the compensatory pick. New England will theoretically have had a full season of audition with Shelton before John Dorsey and the Browns experience a dividend from the transaction. By that time, the Pats may have dealt him elsewhere for even more than Cleveland is getting. While the Browns will no longer possess the potential of trading him elsewhere in the event an injury affects a 3-4 squad, thereby creating a degree of leverage clearly not on display from Dorsey’s end presently. This appears to be a senseless maneuver. At least at this rushed time.
— Mark Leonard
A: I can’t argue with you. The time element involving Shelton was the deadline to exercise his fifth-year option — which would be guaranteed for injury — in May. But that gave Dorsey a couple of months to shop Shelton. The assumption here is that Dorsey didn’t see a market for him, didn’t expect one to develop and took what he could get.
While another first-round failure is infuriating to fans, Shelton wasn’t a fit in Gregg Williams’ attacking 4-3 defense, so moving on from him makes sense. But I’d agree the timing seems rushed.
Q: Given the importance of the QB position and the availability of four quality prospects, do you think it’s likely that four QBs will be taken with the first four picks of the draft? I think it would be ideal to get a QB with the first pick and to trade down with the second.
A: I would say possible but not likely. I expect four quarterbacks to go in the top 10.
Either way, I expect the Browns to get offers for the No. 4 pick, with the Broncos at No. 5 and Jets at No. 6 possibly in the market for a quarterback, depending on free agency. The Browns already have enough draft picks and need difference-makers, so I don’t see an urgency to trade down. However, if they could get a second-round pick in 2019 to move down a couple of spots, that could be worth it.
Q: With the recent trades, is it more likely picks Nos. 1 and 4 are both offense, or one offense and one defense? I’m assuming two defensive players is a non-starter.
A: The trades haven’t affected my thinking here. I still expect the Browns to go with quarterback at No. 1 and Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick at No. 4. Free agency could alter this, but for now I’m going one and one.
Q: Do you think the Browns will go after another cornerback in free agency, or will they address it in the draft?
A: I think they will go after another corner in free agency. If they can convince Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson or New England’s Malcolm Butler to sign, they should do it. The position is too important.
And the additions of two corners wouldn’t preclude them from drafting Minkah Fitzpatrick, who could slide in at free safety.