With the No. 1 overall pick, the Cleveland Browns can have any player they want in the draft. Maybe that's a quarterback, and maybe it isn't.
Coach Hue Jackson said last week that he prefers not to start a rookie quarterback. That means the Browns could pursue a veteran option to give the rookie some time to develop.
The Browns also have the No. 4 pick so they could select a player at another position with the No. 1 pick and then pick a quarterback, although that would risk the QB whom they want being selected before they are back on the clock.
Peter King reported Monday in his MMQB column that the Browns' "preference" is to sign A.J. McCarron.
Jackson and McCarron worked together when Jackson was the offensive coordinator of the Bengals and reportedly coveted him at the trade deadline before a paperwork snafu prevented the trade from going through at the last moment.
According to King:
This comes from an executive with a historically reliable ear to the ground: Cleveland, with four picks in the top 35 of the draft, is still exceedingly interested in signing free-agent quarterback A.J. McCarron after the trade-deadline-day debacle last fall … and then backstopping him with a rookie quarterback in the draft. I’m hearing that’s coach Hue Jackson’s preference, having coached McCarron in Cincinnati as Bengals offensive coordinator.
Based on this approach, the Browns would still be selecting a quarterback in the draft, likely not helping the Bills by removing a QB-needy team from Round 1.