(As it stands now, the Browns have the first and 12th overall picks in the upcoming NFL Draft as well as the top pick (33rd) in the second-round. We've taken a consensus of the majority of mock drafts and will profile the players that have been most associated with the Browns in the upcoming draft.)
Mitchell Trubisky (6-2 1/8, 222) Quarterback
Trubisky is scheduled to work out with the Browns in Berea on Friday.
What experts are saying about Trubisky's strengths:
Trubisky was described by Pro Football Weeky this way: "Ideal size for an NFL quarterback. Has really good athletic, ability with speed, quick feet and change of direction. Very strong arm. Can make all the NFL type throws. Shows good accuracy and ball placement...Has a quick overhand delivery and throws a tight ball. Generally, a good decision maker."
Pro Football Focus summarized what Trubisky does best this way: "Compact, accurate, quick arm with a three-quarters release...Quick release allows him to get rid of the ball even when under heavy pressure...Polished passer with consistent footwork and mechanics...Athletic within and outside the pocket. Very accurate throwing on the move...Anticipates well on timing routes as well as windows in zone coverage...Quick-minded and reacts quickly from the time he sees it to time of release...Discipline with his reads and shows ability to scan the field in full field progressions...Natural feel and instincts in the pocket...Consistently accurate ball placement in the short passing game maximizing catch and run opportunities...Has the arm to drive the ball outside the numbers. Consistently hits the “cover-2” hole in between the cornerback and the safety, much more often than most college quarterbacks...Values the ball and is a good decision maker."
The description sounds like something Hue Jackson would like.
"There's no substitute for arm talent," Jackson said at the NFL Combine. "There's no substitute, can a guy really process what they're trying to accomplish and then can it fit into the National Football League. I think we all know it's been tough trying to evaluate that position because it's so different in college than what it is in the National Football League, but those things won't change. I think there's a couple of key characteristics that you've got to have. Can you throw? Can you process? Can you lead your team? Those are three very fundamental things that I think will show itself from a college quarterback."
ESPN Draft Analyst Todd McShay gave his synopsis after Trubisky's Pro Day: "The anticipation he throws with, the quick feet you see on tape, and just hitting spots in the short, intermediate and down the field in terms of all three phases of the game, I just thought it was a really indicative workout of what you see on tape and I just think he's a more natural passer as I mentioned than Deshaun Watson.
"Now, Watson is 32-3 as a starter and played in two national championships and threw for 825 in two games against Alabama. There's a lot more to work off of there, but if you're just looking at the two in terms of natural passing skills, I give Trubisky the edge."
What experts are saying are Trubisky's weaknesses:
Pro Football Focus listed the biggest concerns for Trubisky, starting with the obvious that he started just one season or 13 games: "One-year starter with limited amount of game tape...Inconsistent deep ball touch. Ball hangs and forces receivers to adjust too often...Poor blitz recognition at times leaving him surprised where defenders are coming from post snap...Feet/mind can start to move too quickly under pressure leading to inaccuracies...Can get stuck on the spot in the pocket with feet bouncing instead of pushing up in the pocket...Will overstride getting too long resulting in lost power at times when needing to drive the ball downfield."
What Trubisky is saying: At his Pro Day at North Carolina last week, Trubisky said he can be the leader an NFL team wants.
“Once you get to know me and you sit down with me, you start to pick my brain, I’ll pick yours, and you just know that I’m a football guy,” Trubisky said. “I love the game, I’m a student of the game, I’m a very quick learner. I am that guy you want in that locker room. I am that guy you want to lead your franchise.”
How Trubisky fits with the Browns: Trubisky threw for 3,748 yards, including 30 touchdowns and six interceptions in 13 starts last season, completing 68.2 percent of his passes. With the release of Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown, the Browns current quarterback situation is murky, at best.
The Browns traded for Brock Osweiler, but do not seem to be interested in keeping him around and thus far, the Browns have not brought in any veteran quarterbacks through free agency or via trade, thus leaving second-year quarterbacks Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan on the roster. The Browns are expected to draft a quarterback (or maybe two), but it is not known if they plan on playing him immediately or having him sit until he has to play due to injury.
Trubisky grew up and played high school football at Mentor High School and Jackson said one of the keys is figuring out if a hometown kid can handle the pressure that goes along with playing quarterback in the NFL.
"Oh yeah, I think all those things are important," Jackson said. "Because you have to understand. Some guys play better when they are at home, some guys don't. We would have to know all those things. And we'll do the digging on all these guys that way, to find out can they really matriculate to the National Football League and still play at a high level and understand the demands of playing the position, especially for the Cleveland Browns.
Bottom line: PFF boiled it down to this on Trubisky: "Despite being a one-year starter, Trubisky is very polished as a passer playing with good balance and consistent mechanics, which leads him to throw with great accuracy in the short/intermediate passing game. Although he comes from a version of the spread in his college offense, he was asked to do many full field progressions and showed he can click from receiver to receiver quickly and efficiently.
"Has very good pocket instincts and ability to keep eye level up to see receivers down the field while moving within the pocket. His three-quarters release may lead to more batted balls at the LOS but is likely not a huge issue at the next level. Will need to work on hitting his deep shots with more consistent accuracy to keep defenses from sitting at the break point. Shows all of the tools to develop into a very solid NFL starting quarterback and appears to be the safest option of the 2017 quarterback draft class."
Pro Football Focus ranks Trubisky as the top quarterback in this year's draft class and the 10th overall player available in the draft. If the Browns agree with Pro Football Focus about him being the next Browns candidate for franchise quarterback, they need to draft him and not worry about the draft position. If they feel the difference between the top quarterbacks is not enough to make a difference, then they can wait for their pick at 12 or 33.
Next Up: We'll take a look at QB DeShaun Watson