There is less than a week to go before the 2020 Virtual NFL Draft kicks off.
After the millions of mock drafts, rumors, and opinions are broken down and analyzed, there is one obvious conclusion.
Anything can happen.
As the frenzy grows, even the most unlikely scenarios can grow legs.
Sometimes, teams jump in to quickly deny a rumor that fans find too juicy to ignore.
Earlier this week, the Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns squelched Odell Beckham trade rumors.
#Browns DePodesta says they're not exploring trading Odell Beckham Jr.
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) April 16, 2020
But another rumor involving Cleveland hasn´t elicited such a reaction.
Multiple publications and pundits believe the Browns will trade their tenth overall pick to move down the board.
One trade partner emerged from the pack with some energy- the Denver Broncos.
Report: #Broncos could trade up to 10 with #Browns and jump the #Jets and #Raiders for a WR. https://t.co/QFRCdrEYsx pic.twitter.com/ZMlIDuTao1
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) April 16, 2020
Denver has their sites set on a wide receiver in the first round.
The Jets or the Raiders (at 11 and 12 respectively) could snipe Denver´s target before their 15th overall pick.
Trading up to number 10 makes sense for the Broncos.
But does it make sense for the Browns?
Why Would the Browns Trade Picks With Denver?
Cleveland has some areas of concern on their roster.
Paul DePodesta and Andrew Berry are expected to land at least one solid offensive tackle in the draft.
But the key to Cleveland´s use of their tenth pick is probably linebacker Isaiah Simmons.
Simmons slides to number 10 in multiple mock draft scenarios.
Isaiah Simmons falls to the Cleveland Browns at No. 10 overall in latest https://t.co/232dMr1Mrh mock draft:https://t.co/XTTUHPLjoR pic.twitter.com/G5vJNNHtTy
— 247Sports (@247Sports) April 7, 2020
In most of those scenarios, linemen and quarterbacks dominate the first nine picks.
That probably means the top three tackles are gone.
In that situation, it is hard to believe the Browns would pass up the chance to add Simmons to their defense.
But if Simmons gets chosen beforehand, all bets are off.
Especially because the Browns are widely thought to be interested in a tackle not as high on the draft rankings.
Ian Rapoport was among those reporting a potential Broncos-Browns swap on draft day.
Some buzz is building about the #Browns trading back and taking OT Ezra Cleveland in round 1. I wondered if it’s ever happened before where a drafted player shared the same name as his team’s city. Per @NFLResearch, it would actually be the fifth(!) time. pic.twitter.com/4ku8t1j2Sn
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 16, 2020
But he went a step further, speculating the Browns would use the 15th overall pick on Ezra Cleveland.
Cleveland is ranked in or near the top ten among offensive tackles in most major draft boards.
Is There a More Likely Scenario for the Browns?
Using the 15th overall draft pick on a lineman expected to fall deep into the second round would be a reach.
But the Browns are understood to be enamored of the Boise State lineman since the NFL Combine.
Early reports say the #Browns will host Boise State OT Ezra Cleveland and Iowa State OT Tristan Wirfs for Pre-Draft work outs after Combine Formals with both. The Browns also have a private visit with Cleveland #nfldraft2020 #thisiscle #dawgcheck pic.twitter.com/RPig6ilEbB
— BrownsTown USA Podcast 🎧 (@BrownstownUSA) March 12, 2020
There is a chance Cleveland will be available when the Browns´ second pick comes up at number 41 overall.
Mel Kiper has Ezra Cleveland drafted by the Titans at 29 overall.
Boise State left tackle Ezra Cleveland was a first-round pick in NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper’s latest mock draft. https://t.co/TUcJTOQspL
— Idaho Statesman (@IdahoStatesman) March 25, 2020
But there are other mocks that have Cleveland (Ezra) on the board well into the second round.
In a scenario where offensive linemen do not fly off the board as expected, the Browns might risk waiting for the second round.
The Browns would do well to use the 15th pick on a rarer commodity- an NFL-ready linebacker.
Kenny Murray or Patrick Queen is worth reaching for in a draft loaded with offensive line talent.
There are precious few impactful linebackers available after that pair.
What About Other Trade Partners?
Other teams might be willing to give up more than the Broncos can for the tenth pick.
Now that we know Odell Beckham is not headed to Minnesota, the Vikings emerge as an interesting draft day trade partner.
Minnesota needs an offensive lineman and is also in the wide receiver market.
The Vikings sit well behind the Broncos, Raiders, and Jets on the draft board.
But they have a second pick in the first round, too.
Doubt Minnesota trades 2 1s unless they can guarantee the top WR in the draft. They can jump as high as pick 7 with those 2 picks and beat NYJ, LV and SF for WR.
— Richard Brealey (@Rabrealey) April 10, 2020
Would Minnesota trade the 22nd and 25th overall picks for the Browns´ number 10?
If they have their hearts set on Ceedee Williams- or even Simmons- they might.
Cleveland, the team, could likely land Cleveland, the player, and either Murray or Queen at linebacker with Minnesota´s picks.
Miami, Las Vegas, and San Francisco each have a pair of first-rounders after the Browns, too.
If the right player falls to number 10, Cleveland can find their phones ringing off the hook.
Besides Simmons, there are rumors quarterback Tua Tagovailoa could slip since no team could work him out.
Would anybody put it past Bill Belichick to offer his 23rd pick along with his next three (87,98, and 100) to snag his future passer?
Trading the Tenth Pick is Becoming an NFL Tradition
There are few things the NFL likes more than building traditions.
Cleveland can do their part by becoming the fourth consecutive team to trade the tenth overall draft pick.
Denver traded away the tenth pick to Pittsburgh last season so the Steelers could land Devin Bush.
Arizona didn´t make as good a choice when they sent three draft picks to the Cowboys for their 2018 pick.
Josh Rosen was the prize at pick number 10.
Last year, the @AZCardinals moved up in the NFL Draft to get QB Josh Rosen with the 10th overall pick. Today, they traded him to the @MiamiDolphins. https://t.co/8Sse0nq1fg
— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) April 27, 2019
But the Kansas City Chiefs won big by sending a first- and third-round pick to Buffalo.
They landed Patrick Mahomes with the tenth overall selection in 2017.
Cleveland traded for a tenth overall pick once and also sent a tenth overall pick away.
In fact, the did both in the same year.
First, the Browns acquired the 10th pick from Atlanta in 1995 for Pro Bowler Eric Metcalf.
Then they sent the pick to San Francisco for the overall 30, 94, and 119th selections.
There isn´t a name among those draft choices you are likely to remember.
Perhaps the Ivy Leaguers in charge of the Browns´ draft board will have better luck this year.
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