Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

April 29, 2018 at 10:44 pm.

2018 Browns draft: GM< Dorsey stakes his future on QB Mayfield

The Cleveland Browns passed on quarterback Carson Wentz in 2016 and quarterback Deshaun Watson in 2017 by trading the picks the Eagles and Texans used respectively to draft those players.

Now Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen can be added to the list of quarterbacks the Browns could have drafted but didn't. John Dorsey used the first overall pick in the 2018 draft, and his first pick as Browns general manager, on undersized Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma.

The Dorsey pick is going to define Dorsey's career as general manager one way or another.

"Those other guys are really good quarterbacks, too, but I just felt that this was the best fit for this organization moving forward," Dorsey said. "He has feet to extend the play. He has really good accuracy. He has a quick release. He has a strong arm. His efficiency in the red-zone offense is uncanny.

"He's hungry. He wants to be a really good football player, and he's going to be a really good football player. This is a guy that has earned everything he has ever had from high school to college and now up here. He's a winner."

The plan is for Tyrod Taylor to start and Mayfield to watch and learn. Mayfield was 33-3 as a starter at Oklahoma, so time will tell how long he sits without getting antsy.

The Browns followed the Mayfield choice by picking cornerback Denzel Ward fourth overall. Unlike Mayfield, Ward, who grew up about 30 miles from Cleveland in Macedonia, Ohio, is expected to start immediately.

"This has been my childhood dream just to get here to the NFL draft," Ward said. "To be drafted by the Browns and be able to go back to my hometown and play there is just a blessing.

"I love corner. The thing about corner is that it's man on man. It's you versus the man across from you. I love that competitive nature."

The Browns thought about using the fourth pick on defensive end Bradley Chubb, but decided Ward fit their needs more.

Ward fills an immediate need for a team that gave up 28 touchdown passes and finished 31st in points allowed last season. Mayfield, the Browns hope, will stop the quarterback carousel from spinning. Taylor will be the 29th quarterback to start for the Browns since 1999.

The Browns continued to bolster the offense in the second round by taking offensive lineman Austin Corbett from Nevada 33rd and running back Nick Chubb from Georgia 35th. They had the final pick in the second round (64) and traded it to the Colts for picks 67 and 178.

After passing on Chubb to take Ward, the Browns used pick 67 on defensive end Chad Thomas from Miami. Thomas will challenge Emmanuel Ogbah for playing time.

"We thought Chad was one of the most physical defensive linemen in the draft," Browns vice president of personnel Andrew Berry said. "We think his run defense will play immediately in the NFL as a left end in our system. He can kick down inside and rush the passer. We think his best football is ahead of him."

The Browns finished their draft on Saturday with talented but troubled wide receiver Antonio Callaway, versatile linebacker Genard Avery, wide receiver Damian Ratley and cornerback Simeon Thomas.

It's a curious draft for a team that was 0-16 last season because only Ward is as close to a guaranteed starter as there is from all the players they took.

"Either our guys that are here are going to step up and get it done or the players that we drafted are going to step up and get it done," head coach Hue Jackson said. "It's one or the other. I think that's an excellent problem to have because it means that you have a chance to have a better football team."




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