Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Dorsey trying to buck Browns quarterback history

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The Cleveland Browns will be the talk of the NFL on Thursday night when the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft opens at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The Browns hold the No. 1 overall selection in the first round (as well as pick No. 4) and general manager John Dorsey is almost a lock to select a quarterback with the opening pick of the night.

The correct pick would be Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, who possess the on-field production and moxie that teams look for in a franchise quarterback. If the Browns are scared off by Mayfield not being the “ideal” height for an NFL quarterback, Dorsey may turn to the safe pick, presumably USC’s Sam Darnold, who presumably has franchise quarterback written all over him, just as long as you ignore all the turnovers.

There have even been rumors that Dorsey will selection Wyoming’s Josh Allen, despite every piece of historical evidence pointing to Allen being the worst pick the Browns could make.

Whoever it is, when the Browns turn in the card and the selection is made, that player will become the eighth quarterback the team has selected in the first round of the regular draft in franchise history.

As the debate rages over which player the Browns should select – and make no mistake, that debate will not cool down anytime soon – let’s take a look back at the first-round quarterbacks the Browns believed to be the answer over the years.

(These summaries are all taken from our original series on the quarterbacks, which first appeared in 2014).

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Can Browns fans really trust John Dorsey to get it right?

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The Cleveland Browns have spent the past two years building toward the night of April 26, 2018.

Through all the losing, all the arguing, all the trades and, did we mention, all the losing, the organization has had its sights on the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, which will take place at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, in just two weeks.

The Browns have the No. 1 overall selection in the draft and will, in all likelihood, select a quarterback with the draft’s top pick. Get that choice right, and all the arguing, angst and agita will not only (hopefully) end for the next decade, but will have (definitely) been worth it.

Browns fans can only hope that the debate over which quarterback the team will be selected is being debated as fiercely within the halls of team headquarters as it is on Twitter.

Speaking of Browns Twitter, there is a growing movement among some fans that general manager John Dorsey and his rebuilt front office, which includes former Green Bay Packers executives Alonzo Highsmith and Eliot Wolf, have “got this” so there is no reason to worry that the Browns might screw up the pick.

But is that unwavering belief warranted?

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Browns to return to primetime in 2018 – well, sort of

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The Cleveland Browns, fresh off just the second 0-16 season in NFL history, will make a return to the primetime schedule in 2018.

Well, primetime in the preseason, as the Browns will host the Philadelphia Eagles on Aug. 23 at 8 p.m. in a game televised nationally by Fox.

The news came out this afternoon as the NFL released the full schedule for the preseason. In addition to the game against the Eagles, the Browns will:

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Cleveland is title town once again!

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We had planned to write something following the Cleveland Cavaliers claiming the first title in franchise history – and the first in Cleveland since 1964 – but, frankly, the game was so exhausting we had nothing left on Sunday night.

Then the plan was to do something during the day today, but it is still hard to put the emotions into words as we honestly had started to doubt if we would ever see the day that a Cleveland team won a championship.

We’ve been there for just about every disappointment since the Cleveland Browns won the city’s last title in 1964. The Miracle of Richfield that broke along with Jim Chones’ foot. Red Right 88. The AFC Championship Game losses to the Denver Broncos. The playoff frustrations against the Chicago Bulls. Game 7 of the 1997 World Series.

All of it bad. Until last night.

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Can the Cavs avoid another Cleveland moment?

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The Cleveland Cavaliers did the improbable on Thursday night in forcing a Game 7 against the Golden State Warriors.

Tonight, they have the opportunity to do the seemingly impossible in delivering Cleveland its first major pro championship since 1964.

On that December afternoon at Municipal Stadium, the Cleveland Browns defeated the supposedly invincible Baltimore Colts – a similar situation facing the Cavs against a Warriors team that many were calling the NBA’s best ever after a 73-win regular season.

Tonight’s game will be just the second time since 1964 that a Cleveland team has been in a title-deciding game and, again, the situation has a familiar feel to it.

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Cleveland Browns: 5 options to replace Alex Mack

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While it came as no surprise that Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack opted out of the final three years of his contract on Wednesday to become a free agent, that doesn’t mean the Browns have an easy solution in hand.

The easiest path is to simply suck it up and sign Mack to a contract that makes him the highest paid center in the NFL, which is what he is most likely going to be, whether it is in Cleveland or somewhere else. With around $48 million in salary cap space, that is a realistic option for the Browns, especially since Mack may be open to staying in town.

A new deal for Mack will reportedly make him the league’s first $10 million a year center, surpassing the deal of current Miami Dolphins’ center Mike Pouncey, who is the current top-paid center with an average annual salary of $8.95 million. Mack is tougher and better than Pouncey, so giving Mack a contract that exceeds Pouncey’s should not be an issue.

However, if the Browns pay Mack it could make it difficult to come up with a contract to keep right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, who is also scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins on March 9. But, similar to the situation with Schwartz, the options of replacing Mack are not that enticing.

If we have seen the last of Mack in a Cleveland uniform, we offer five options to replace him in our latest at Dawg Pound Daily.

Could the Cleveland Browns target George Iloka?

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With Monday’s decision to not place the franchise or transition tag on Tashaun Gipson, the Cleveland Browns may find themselves in the market for a free safety when free agency opens on March 9.

But unlike right tackle, where there are limited options for replacing Mitchell Schwartz if he leaves, the Browns may have a ready replacement just down the road in George Iloka of the Cincinnati Bengals.

While their first preference should be to retain their own players in free agency, if that doesn’t work out with Gipson then Iloka could be an attractive option for the Browns. He knows the division, knows head coach Hue Jackson and would represent the opportunity to weaken a division rival.

To find out more, check out our latest at Dawg Pound Daily.

Donte Whitner once again calls out Justin Gilbert

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With so much focus falling on quarterback Johnny Manziel, cornerback Justin Gilbert has flown a bit under the radar.

While not as spectacular a failure as Manziel, Gilbert has been every bit as much of a bust after two years in the NFL as Manziel.

Manziel’s time in Cleveland will be coming to an end next week when the new NFL league year begins and the Browns can release him, but Gilbert may have one more opportunity to salvage his career in Cleveland.

Of course, as it has been since the beginning, it is up to Gilbert to want it.

To find out the latest, check out our post at Dawg Pound Daily.

Cleveland Browns should avoid Colin Kaepernick

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The Cleveland Browns are expected to select yet another quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft, if not in the first round then at some point during the weekend.

Holding the No. 2 overall selection, the Browns should have their choice of one of the two top quarterbacks – presumed to be Cal’s Jared Goff and North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz – or, if they don’t like what they see, could dip into the second tier of prospects, a group that includes Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott and Michigan State’s Connor Cook, among others.

Of course, for a team that has been searching for its next franchise quarterback for 23 years, the Browns will always find themselves linked to any quarterback that has fallen from grace.

Which brings us to Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers.

To see why he would be a bad fit for the Browns, visit our latest at Dawg Pound Daily.

Cleveland Browns: 10 options if Mitchell Schwartz leaves

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The Cleveland Browns may not have much going for them, but one unquestioned area of strength on the team is the offensive line.

Of course, as luck would have it, the start of free agency on March 9 may change all of that.

The Browns are facing the possibility of seeing both starting center Alex Mack and starting right tackle Mitchell Schwartz hit free agency. While executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said that the Browns have “identified the guys that can really help us and fit within the schemes we’ll be running,” you never what will happen when a player has the opportunity to speak with another team.

While the Browns may believe that they have a contingency plan if Mack leaves in second-year player Cameron Erving (although the person lining up behind Erving may not agree), no such option is currently on the roster, which puts Schwartz in an enviable negotiating position.

Knowing that, if the Browns do lose Schwartz they will need to turn to either the draft or free agency to fill the vacancy at right tackle, paths that are certainly no guarantee of success.

Visit our latest at Dawg Pound Daily to see 10 players – five in the draft and five in free agency – that the Browns could look at as the team’s next right tackle.

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