Former Browns general manager Phil Savage, currently the executive director of the Reese’s Senior Bowl, joined Spielman & Hooley on Monday to throw water on the notion Cleveland will take Penn State running back Saquon Barkley in the NFL Draft.
A trade over the weekend moved the quarterback-needy New York Jets into the No. 3 spot behind Cleveland at No. 1 and the New York Giants second.
The Browns hold the fourth pick via a trade last season with Houston, which allowed the Texans to take DeShaun Watson No. 12 overall.
The Browns therefore whiffed a second straight season on what looks like a franchise QB, Watson in 2017 after trading down from No. 2 in 2016 so Philadelphia could take Carson Wentz.
Savage agrees that sorry history and the Jets’ trade into the third spot means the Browns will take a quarterback No. 1 overall.
The Giants remain a mystery, but could use a QB to either replace or succeed Eli Manning. New York may take Barkley, or pass-rusher Bradley Chubb from North Carolina State.
The Jets will take a QB third.
So if the Giants take their future QB in the rare year where they have top-of-draft access to one, Cleveland could be on the clock at No. 4 with every position player in the draft available to them.
In that scenario, there’s no doubt who Savage, the Cleveland GM when the Browns took Joe Thomas No. 3 overall in 2007, would select.
Asked if it bothered him that Barkley had eight games in 2017 where he rushed for less than 100 yards, Savage said:
“Oh, absolutely. I’m in the school of thought to this day that you can find a running back in later rounds. That’s one reason I never bought into the notion the Browns would take Saquon Barkley No. 1 overall, and I certainly don’t think that now that they’ve signed Carlos Hyde. That’s one thing John Dorsey will be very cognizent of.”
Savage expects the Browns to trade out of the fourth spot, particularly in the Giants take a position player, because of so many quarterback-hungry teams behind them in the draft.
“I still think at 4 you’ll see a flip between Cleveland and Denver (at No. 5),” Savage said, noting the Browns could “still get a player they really like” elsewhere in the Top 10.
“I’m more inclined that it will be a quarterback at NO. 1 and a trade down at No. 4 now,” Savage said.
To listen to the entire interview, click here:
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