Q: The recent addition of veteran QB Drew Stanton indicates the Browns are serious about sitting whichever rookie quarterback they take for as long as necessary. While I definitely welcome this smart approach, it does mean that our (likely) No. 1 overall pick won’t be paying dividends until 2019. New GM John Dorsey has gone to great lengths to make sure there are enough quality players on both sides of the ball to allow him to approach this year’s draft with a true BPA (best player available) mentality. Given that Dorsey has talked frequently about putting a team on the field in 2018 that can score points and be competitive, how likely do you think it is that we focus more heavily on offense in these first two rounds? While his BPA approach won’t allow him to pass up a defensive talent that he thinks is good value and can make a true impact, certainly we can expect him to get a jump on building up a roster of good, young offensive playmakers that can get a year’s worth of experience under their belts while they wait for their young QB to ascend in 2019. Do you agree? What are your thoughts on this?
— Brian Scott
A: Your premise and logic are sound. And assuming no more offensive additions before the draft (Odell Beckham Jr.), I would expect “playmaker” to be a priority. However, I don’t see one fitting at Nos. 1 or 4, unless Dorsey surprises me and decides Penn State running back Saquon Barkley is too good to pass up.
More likely is the Browns take a receiver at No. 33, or trade back into the first round to grab one. As for running back, No. 35 or No. 64 feel like the sweet spots.
Q: I have settled in that the Browns will draft a QB at 1, I’m guessing Sam Darnold. Will the Browns stay put at 4, and are you still holding to your pick of Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick?
— Justin Nalley
A: A trade is definitely in play at No. 4 — not more than a few spots down — but I think the Browns will end up staying put and picking the best defensive player on the board. If North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb goes No. 2 to the Giants, the choice at No. 4 will be between Fitzpatrick and Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward.
John Dorsey has talked often about the importance of speed in the secondary and Ward ran a 4.32 in the 40 at the combine. And it’s a projection whether Fitzpatrick can play outside cornerback full time. So I’ve shifted and am leaning toward Ward at No. 4, or preferably No. 5 or No. 6 after a trade.
Q: I read somewhere that Bradley Chubb can also play weakside linebacker, which means that the Browns could potentially have Myles Garrett, Emmanuel Ogbah and Chubb on the field at the same time rushing the passer. Any thoughts?
— Nicholas Carroll
A: At 6-foot-4, 269 pounds, Chubb is too big for 4-3 outside linebacker. Jamie Collins plays on the strong side at 6-3, 250 and Christian Kirksey on the weak side at 6-2, 235.
But that wouldn’t preclude Garrett, Ogbah and Chubb playing together on passing downs, which is about 65 percent of the time. Coordinator Gregg Williams could easily line up Garrett and Chubb at ends and slide Ogbah (6-4, 275) to tackle for a pass rush that should scare quarterbacks from inside and out.
Q: Do the major TV networks and the NFL Network factor in free agent signings and the draft when developing the fall TV schedule? Do the Browns have an opportunity to play in some prime-time games this fall?
A: Free agency, yes. The draft, to a degree. The NFL is always secretive about exactly when the schedule will be released, but last year it came out before the draft and that’s expected again. The NFL realizes the Browns have two picks in the top five and will land a couple of big names, so that will be considered.
After 1-15 and 0-16, the Browns don’t deserve a place in prime time. But after being shut out last year and adding a lot of new blood, I’m guessing they’ll get one Thursday night appearance.
Q: I know we need a lot but please tell me we will get a top-three RB in this draft.
A: That’s entirely possible but not a given. I don’t think they’ll take Saquon Barkley in the top five and I think LSU’s Derrius Guice will be gone in the second half of the first round. So to get a top-three back, the Browns will have to grab one at the top of the second round, which makes sense but isn’t a sure thing.
John Dorsey will have to weigh running back vs. wide receiver vs. defensive tackle.
Q: Will I be able to sleep peacefully until the draft, knowing that the Browns will take Sam Darnold or Josh Allen at 1, or will coach Hue Jackson exert his influence and stick just with Tyrod Taylor as a reclamation project like RG3? I like Tyrod, but he’s not “the guy.”
A: Hue Jackson wants a quarterback at No. 1 as much as you do. So don’t forget to set an alarm because you can sleep comfortably until April 26.
Jackson has faith that Taylor will be able to lead a substantial jump in the win column but knows the team must identify a franchise quarterback at the top of the draft.
Q: I read a mock draft where the Browns trade 4 to Buffalo for 12, 22 and a second-round pick. Then trade 35 and that new pick to Seattle for 18. Trade 33 and something to get back in the 1st round in the late 20s. You own the draft with 1, 12, 18, 22 and 20-something. Sam Darnold, Denzel Ward, OT at 18, RB at 22, WR at 20-something. Feasible?
A: That’s a lot of moving pieces, so I’m going to say highly unlikely. The biggest reason not to make those moves is that with the youth of the roster the Browns don’t need to add five rookie starters. They’d be better off picking at Nos. 1 and 4, then trading back into the first round to target a specific player or position.
Plus, I don’t think Ward will be around at No. 12 if he’s the target.
Q: What are the chances the Browns release Kevin Hogan, draft two QBs and try to slide one to the practice squad that they really like for development? You can never have enough arms in OTAs and training camp.
A: If the Browns see a quarterback they like in the mid to late rounds, they should grab him. You can never have enough quality quarterbacks.
If they draft a second quarterback, then Hogan should be released. If they only take the one at No. 1, Hogan has value as a fourth quarterback through the offseason and training camp.
Q: If the Browns don’t draft a QB or Barkley at 1 and 4, what are the two best picks they could make and why?
A: I don’t like the idea of passing on a quarterback in the top five — at all. But for the sake of your question … Bradley Chubb and Denzel Ward.
Chubb might be the best player in the draft, and Ward fills a big need at cornerback. Let me add a caveat: If John Dorsey and Hue Jackson believe Minkah Fitzpatrick can make the transition from safety/slot corner to No. 1 cornerback, I’d consider him in place of Ward.
Q: New uniforms. Isn’t Dee Haslam overdoing it? Honestly, people will complain about anything. My point being that I’m sure the new, changed uniforms are fine. It doesn’t matter what you change them to, somebody will complain about it. Look at the Steelers in their stupid bumble bee uniforms. The only thing that matters is that they win.
— Greg Papcun
A: I’m not a uniform expert and don’t really care that much about them, but I tend to agree with you.
I wasn’t a fan of the recent changes, and neither were many of the fans. But I wonder what the Browns can do to improve the look from now and a few years ago. Hopefully a fashion expert at Nike will come up with something that excites the majority of fans without venturing too far from the traditional.
With that said, a playoff appearance would make any wardrobe look much better.