When the NFL draft begins Thursday it will be different for the Cleveland Browns. Typically, the draft is full of both excitement and anxiety for Browns fans used to losing seasons and a carousel of quarterbacks, coaches and general managers.
But this year, WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto thinks the Browns look more like a team headed for the playoffs than the bottom of the league. That means a lot of pressure is off the team come draft day.
Draft day for the Browns is usually full of questions. Will the team trade up in the first round? Will the quarterback with the strongest arm or the wide receiver with the fastest 40 time still be available? Will the general manager who makes the picks even be here next year?
Not this time. Those questions aren't even being asked this year. Pluto said it's because General Manager John Dorsey has built a team that has more answers than questions.
"It comes down to this: they actually have a quarterback," Pluto said of Baker Mayfield.
"Then when you have a quarterback your job is where should I get the weapons... guys that are ready to do it right now?"
Dorsey has had success getting good players both on draft day and on the trading block.
Then this off season Dorsey traded for Odell Beckham Jr., widely considered one of the best wide receivers in the entire league.
Pluto thinks the team that traded him to the Browns, the New York Giants, has far more questions than answers going into the draft.
"The Giants interestingly don't have a quarterback other than a 38-year-old Eli Manning and they don't have Beckham either. It's almost like they've kind of turned into the Browns."
Pluto points to Giants' GM Dave Gettleman, who said in a recent interview that a GM's job is to get two things right: the head coach and the quarterback.
Pluto said the Browns have at least half of the equation right and probably more.
The team has Baker Mayfield, who Pluto expects to be stellar this year. But the team also has rookie Head Coach Freddie Kitchens, who was promoted to the top job after stepping in as offensive coordinator for the last eight games of the Browns 2018 season.
"(The Browns) should feel reasonably confident that they have a coach who can put together an offense to make Mayfield look good because Kitchens has done it."
So for once, Browns fans can look forward more to the promise of the upcoming season than the hope--and anxiety--of the NFL Draft.
The NFL Draft starts Thursday. The Browns’ first pick is in the second round on Friday.