With the draft less than one week away, I figured it's time for me to put my two cents in on a more consistent basis. When looking over all the mock drafts out there (100% of which are bullshit) the Browns are constantly being given either of the two top receivers (Jones or Green) or Robert Quinn. Here's the point: regardless of which direction the Browns choose to go, the Bengals will have had the biggest impact on that selection. Lets play through a couple scenarios:
For clarity lets assume picks 1-3 pan out as follows:
1. Carolina: Cam Newton
2. Denver: Marcel Darius
3. Buffalo: Von Miller
Option #1: Bengals select AJ Green, WR, UGA
If this pick happens the Browns are obviously not going to be taking AJ Green. But the more important aspect of this pick is going to be that Arizona could very well pass on Blaine Gabbert as well. Many people see the Cards taking Gabbert, but I'm not as sure. It's definitely a possibility, but I see them feeling much better about taking their luck and trying to find a serviceable QB via trade or free agency. This scenario would be a god-send from the Browns perspective. Teams such as Washington, maybe even Tennessee or Minnesota would be on the phones trying to work a trade because they know that San Fran sits at 7 with a monstrous hole at quarterback. The Browns could very well trade back, scoop up a pick as compensation, and still come away with a top 12 pick.
Option #2: Bengals select Blaine Gabbert, QB, Mizzou
If this is the case then the Browns are in a tough spot. Do they draft the best player available (assuming the consensus best players available are AJ Green and Patrick Peterson, at least one of which is bound to be there at 6) or do they draft for need and still come away with a top 10 talent in a player such as Robert Quinn? The point is that if Cincy drafts Gabbert and both Newton and Gabbert are off the board at #6, the Browns are in a much more difficult spot.
Option #3: Bengals select Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
Here me out here. SI's Peter King recently wrote that the Bengals have had 5 contacts with Dalton thus far (interviews, workouts, meal) and that one scout told him that "it's getting hard for Jay Gruden to hide how much he loves Andy Dalton." Dalton originally emerged as a mid-round prospect, but has shot up draft boards and many 'experts' are predicting him to be chosen in the first round by teams like Miami (#15). It only takes one team to fall in love with a prospect. This scenario is exactly like the first one mentioned in this post because it would almost surely open up a ton of trade options for the Browns at #6, assuming Gabbert gets by Arizona.
Keep an eye on pick #4. The Browns have a lot riding on who the Bengals end up selecting.