By Andrew Zuhosky
It’s only one week until the 2017 NFL Draft, held this year in Philadelphia for the first time since 1961.
The draft will also be held entirely outside on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway this year.
Unless you happened to be in a coma during last football season, you already know that the Cleveland Browns have the first and 12th picks in next Thursday night’s first round. Cleveland ended last season with a 1-15 record. The Browns’ only win came on Dec. 24 last year against the now-Los Angeles Chargers.
If you remember, about a week before last year’s NFL Draft, the Browns and Philadelphia Eagles traded their respective first round selections, with Cleveland holding the eighth selection before trading it away to the Tennessee Titans, who traded away the 15th pick after getting it from the Los Angeles Rams.
The Browns chose former Baylor University wide receiver Corey Coleman after the series of trades, while the Eagles drafted former North Dakota State University quarterback Carson Wentz.
This year, the Browns will be followed in the selection order by the San Francisco 49ers, who also posted a 1-15 record last season. It’s been well documented that the Browns don’t know who to utilize the top selection on.
Will it be former University of North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who passed for 3,748 yards and 30 touchdowns en route to the Tar Heels’ appearance versus Stanford University in last year’s Sun Bowl?
Or will it be Myles Garrett, the defensive end out of Texas A&M University, who recorded 7.5 sacks and 33 tackles, along with two passes defended last year for the Red Raiders?
Here’s another question to ponder, do they pick someone else? Will they even keep the pick?
Let’s begin with sizing up Trubisky. This is a guy that several NFL teams could easily plug into the starting lineup and there’d be a chance for success.
Think about it.
If I were an NFL general manager and my team had to suit up and play a game this weekend, I’d want Trubisky out on the field at quarterback. 30 touchdown passes, 3,748 yards thrown, making for a per-game average of 288 yards.
Given the choice of Trubisky and Garrett, I’m drafting Trubisky in a heartbeat.
OK, now let’s put Garrett under the microscope. In his Texas A&M career, he notched 147 tackles (61 tackles for loss), 31 sacks, seven forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and one interception.
The Browns were 31st of 32 franchises last year in total defense, so I think Garrett would also be a good fit.
However, the Browns could also pass up both Trubisky and Garrett in favor of former University of California and Texas Tech University quarterback Davis Webb, who threw for 9,852 yards and 83 touchdowns in college, 37 of which came last year at Cal.
In my opinion, Webb is more of a pro-ready quarterback in this year’s draft compared to Trubisky. If I were a GM and my team had to play this weekend, given the choice of Trubisky and Webb, I’d draft Webb.
Then again, the Browns could trade the pick away, clearing the path for the 49ers to draft either of them, in which case I think Webb, being a California product, would have the advantage over Trubisky.
Bear in mind that we’re still seven days out from the draft, and while the Browns organization has the toughest call of the event, we have it easy, deciding between TV coverage on ESPN and NFL Network.