BEREA, Ohio — If the Cleveland Browns want to draft quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in the first round, they should trade up from the 12th spot to get him after taking defensive end Myles Garrett first overall, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said Tuesday.
Kiper said the Browns have to get a quarterback, but he did not think they should bypass Garrett.
“If they think Trubisky is a franchise-caliber quarterback down the road, then they need to take a quarterback,” Kiper said on a conference call with ESPN NFL Nation reporters. “Do you feel that way? It’s going to be differences of opinion. I don’t.
“If they do, then you take Myles Garrett at No. 1 and you try to move up from No. 12, use some of those draft picks you’ve accumulated over the last couple years and move up. And get Trubisky maybe ahead of the Jets.”
One possible trading partner Kiper highlighted: The Chicago Bears.
“If the Bears want to move out of three I think that could be a spot for Cleveland to jump up and take Trubisky,” Kiper said. “This isn’t a draft where there are that many players that you would say, ‘I want to go up and get him.’ I just don’t see it. I don’t think you move up to get a safety or a corner. There is no wide receiver, there is no offensive lineman — you’re not going to go up and get a tight end like O.J. Howard. You’re not going to go up and get a defensive lineman who is not necessarily a great pass-rusher off the edge. These are good players — like Solomon Thomas and Jonathan Allen — but I don’t see anyone moving up to get them.
“I think the only player you move up to get is if you believe Trubisky is the No. 1 quarterback in this draft and his grade on your board is high enough then he is the only player that would be worth jumping up from No. 12 to No. 3 to try and get.”
The San Francisco 49ers have made it clear they would like to move down out of the second spot. A trade with the 49ers would ensure that the Browns draft Garrett and Trubisky. A trade with the Bears might have to wait until draft night, but likely would result in the same scenario.
Kiper never opined that Trubisky should be taken first. He said that Garrett is the right pick for that slot, even with concerns that Kiper called legitimate. Most redraft concerns on Garrett have centered on consistent effort on every play. Kiper said Garrett “kind of picked his spots little bit,” but attributed it to the larger number of plays run in college, an offshoot of the emphasis on running plays quickly and without a huddle.
“I wouldn’t say he’s one-dimensional,” Kiper said. “I think he got a little bit better against the run. But they play so many plays in college, these kids do, as opposed to the NFL, that they have to pace themselves. They do kind of get worn out, especially in college football where they’re throwing it all over the yard.
“So you got to kind of put it in perspective and say, in the NFL, less plays, you’ll have a better chance to go full-out every play than you will in college.”
Pace and tempo running plays is “the nature of college football,” Kiper said.
“You’re playing 90 to 100 plays a game,” he said. “That was the reason why Garrett, I think, maybe had a few issues along the way there.”
Kiper also admitted that some teams may be concerned by Garrett’s myriad interests. He’s an avid reader, enjoys paleontology and writes his own poetry.
“He’s multi-dimensional,” Kiper said. “He’s a smart, bright kid. I think in terms of football, I think football is important to him. Is it going to be something once he gets into the league that he becomes a more complete player?
“It’s up to him. I’ve said all along, Myles Garrett can be as good as he wants to be. It’s all on him. Nothing is going to limit him. The ceiling is high. He can be as good as he decides he wants to be once he’s in the league.”