The Hooley, Wednesday, April 26

posted by Bruce Hooley -

Ohio is a great state in which to live except for one day in particular and one weekend in general, and unfortunately for us, that day and that weekend have arrived.

Pick any other day among 365 on the calendar or any other weekend spring, fall, summer or winter and I wouldn't haven't the sense of dread that I do now that the first day of the NFL Draft and the weekend of the three-day draft marathon is upon us.

Why the feeling of foreboding?

Because as great as Ohio teams are most of the time -- boasting the current world champions of the NBA, almost World Series champions this past year, the legendary Big Red Machine teams of bygone days and perenniel college football title contenders in Ohio State -- we in the Buckeye State really, really stink at drafting college players to our NFL teams.

Oh, not always. There was that five-year period of bliss for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2009-2013 when Marvin Lewis channeled his inner savant and stockpiled his roster with savvy seelctions like A.J. Green, Carlos Dunlap, Tyler Eifert, Andy Dalton and others to form the foundation of five straight playoff teams.

But the past two years, the Bengals haven't done much, although their picks haven't been quite as disastrous as the old Akili Smith, David Klingler days.

For that sort of stupifying year-in and year-out ineptitude, I give you my Cleveland Browns, confounding the odds that the last shall be first since 1999.

That's how the draft is set up, of course. The worst teams pick first, thus getting a talent upgrade and thus improving rapidly so they are no longer among the NFL's dregs.

It hasn't, and doesn't, work that way in Cleveland. Unless they start getting the draft right Thursday night and beyond, which I seriously doubt given the way the Browns seem to be leaning.

The Browns have the No. 1 overall choice and the 12th choice in Round One. The Bengals are sandwiched in there at No. 9, and will likely pick a defensive player, which will be smart and make total sense.

Everyone is telling the Browns to do the same with their first choice. Texas A&M's Myles Garrett is the overwhelming smart-money pick, because Garrett tests off the chart in size, speed and athleticism.

There's only one problem. He's a pass rusher who doesn't have that many sacks in college, unless you value the 4 1/2 he had in one game last year.

That was against Texas. Texas-San Antonio, that is. Last time I checked, there are no commuter schools on the Browns' schedule next year.

But at least the Garrett pick is defendable. He's big, strong, fast and everyone agrees he has all the tools so if he busts, it's more a reflection on Garrett than the Browns.

It's what Cleveland may do instead of taking Garrett, or after taking Garrett, that has me worried.

In their unending and unrewarded quest for a franchise quarterback, the Browns may be toying with taking North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky either No. 1 overall or via trading up from No. 12 into the Top 5.

This would be only the dumbest thing the Browns have ever done in the draft. Admittedly, that's a high bar to get over, but there is no logic that supports taking Trubisky in the first round anywhere, other than he's a quarterback and Cleveland needs one.

Find me one elite NFL quarterback who, like Trubisky, started one year at a middling college program and didn't win a bowl game of any sort.

I will spare you the search, because there isn't one.

This would be way worse that Cleveland's other failed, first-round quarterback faceplants.

At least Tim Couch had a track record of success in college. At least Brady Quinn had four years starting in a pro-style offense at Notre Dame. At least Brandon Weeden had thrown the ball all over the lot in a passing league for two seasons. And at least Johnny Manziel had won a Heisman Trophy and made Nick Saban's defenses look back twice.

Mitch Trubisky couldn't beat out Marquise Williams -- who's not in the NFL -- for two years at North Carolina and went 8-5 his only year as a starter.

Someone please wake me and tell me this is all a draft nightmare that will soon be over. The good news is, it will be over -- by late Saturday, only to return again next spring.

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