The speculation is almost over, thankfully. The NFL Draft is finally upon us.
And when the commish steps up to the microphone Thursday night to announce the No. 1 pick, we will almost certainly hear these words: "With the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select Myles Garrett, Defensive End, Texas A&M."
And if we do, it'll be the rare example of the endless predictions and mock drafts actually calling it right, at least when it comes to the Browns.
Would it surprise you to know that only once in the past seven years has Mel Kiper, ESPN's draft expert, correctly predicted the Browns' first round pick? (Danny Shelton, two years ago).
Would it surprise you to know that only twice in those seven years has Todd McShay, ESPN's other draft expert, correctly predicted the Browns' first round pick? (Shelton, two years ago, and Trent Richardson in 2012).
Further proof that the draft is anything but an exact science. As recently as two days ago, there was still speculation that the Browns would use that No. 1 overall pick to select QB Mitchell Trubisky instead of Garrett. The more likely scenario, though, is that they'll try to trade up from the No. 12 spot (their second first round pick) to get Trubisky, the Mentor native, in the Top 5.
According to Mike Silver of NFL Network (a close friend of Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson), the Browns have had trade talks with five of the other seven teams in the Top 8.
Obviously Hue and Sashi Brown will have a detailed draft discussion at some point tonight.— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) April 26, 2017
And of course, there's still the speculation (shot down by ESPN's Adam Schefter) that they'll send the No. 12 overall pick to New England for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Me? I'd take Garrett at No. 1, trade back into the Top 5 to land former Ohio State safety Malik Hooker, and on Day 2 of the draft take Cal quarterback Davis Webb. Let Webb, Brock Osweiler and Cody Kessler battle it out behind that revamped offensive line, and hope your new and improved defense reminds you of those great, game-changing Ravens defenses of years past.
You've heard multiple scenarios for months. Any of them are possible. The only sure thing is that the Browns are on the clock, and there is enormous pressure on this regime to finally get it right.
We won't actually find out if they got it right Thursday night. It'll take a few years. But at least the speculation will be over. Which is great. It finally opens the window for the second-guessing!
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