There has been a small amount of speculation that the Cleveland Browns might trade down from the fourth overall pick in the NFL draft.
The thinking goes that the Browns could recoup the third-round pick they traded to get quarterback Tyrod Taylor and still wind up drafting a talented defensive back.
Little has been discussed about another possibility: the Browns moving up from No. 4.
For the second year in a row, the Browns have the wherewithal to explore getting the top two players in the draft, if they want to do so.
There has been little chatter or speculation that the Browns would do this. There also is little indication they want to. But the team has revealed little about its intentions or plans.
The bottom line: If the Browns covet two specific players, they have the ability to get both. The Giants have the second overall pick, and if they do not love a specific player, they might be willing to trade down to get a number of picks to rebuild a roster that badly needs it.
The Giants also might want to trade down because they could move to No. 4 and still wind up with one of the top three quarterbacks. The Browns would take a quarterback first and a position player second. The Jets would take a quarterback at No. 3. The Giants then could draft the heir apparent to Eli Manning and pick up a couple of extra picks.
At this point, that kind of discussion is merely part of the pre-draft chatter. It could or could not happen, but if the Browns want to make it happen — if they have two specific players targeted — they could.
ESPN’s draft value chart awards the second overall pick a value of 2,600 points. The fourth pick is worth 1,800.
The Browns have three second-round picks: 33rd, 35th and 64th overall.
The 35th and 64th picks are worth a combined 820 points. The Browns could go from the fourth overall pick to the second by giving the Giants the fourth pick and the latter two that they own in the third round. If the Browns wanted to keep one of those picks, they could offer a future third-round choice in addition to one of this year’s, or they could wrangle a more complicated deal.
The positive: Completing this deal would give the Browns three of the top 33 players, including the first two. They would be taking bold action to be great. The negative: The Browns would go from three picks in the second round to one and would go from No. 33 to No. 114 without a selection.
Why would the Browns do this?
For one reason: If they love a guy, they do not want to risk losing him by staying at No. 4.
That player could be Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. Many analysts call Barkley the best player in the draft. Almost as many say he is a can’t-miss prospect whose talent overrides the adage that a running back should not be taken early.
The Giants are believed to have interest in Barkley, so if the Browns want him, they might have to be aggressive. At the fourth spot, they might or might not wind up with Barkley.
Pass-rusher Bradley Chubb and defensive backs Minkah Fitzpatrick and Denzel Ward have also been included on the list of Browns possibilities. The only one of those players who could also interest the Giants would be Chubb, as New York needs a pass-rusher to replace Jason Pierre-Paul.
If the Browns want Barkley or Chubb, they could ensure that they get their guy with a trade up. The Browns would take a quarterback first and wind up ensuring themselves of their dream draft: the top quarterback and the top non-QB.
It’s possible the Browns could stay at No. 4 and still see their dream scenario play out. If the Giants took a quarterback or traded to a team that drafts one, the Jets will follow at No. 3 by taking another quarterback. That scenario leaves the Browns with a quarterback first overall and the player of their choosing at No. 4.
But if the Browns truly want Barkley or Chubb — if they must have one of those players — they would have to move to ensure they can get him.
The good news: They have the wherewithal to get it done — if they really want it to happen.