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If Jameis Winston goes No. 1, will Browns give Titans a call just in case?

1/7/2015

CLEVELAND -- The 2015 NFL draft will include 16 weeks of exhaustive comparisons, evaluations and anonymous quotes about the pros and cons of selecting Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota with the No. 1 overall pick.

With Winston officially declaring for the draft and Mariota likely to follow, these two scenarios are on the table:

  • The Bucs select Winston (which I think will happen, by the way).

  • The Titans welcome all calls for Marcus Mariota, trying to pull off the ransom St. Louis commanded for Robert Griffin III three years ago.

I haven't given up on Johnny Manziel like some others have -- seven quarters of play, no matter how bad, isn't enough to truly evaluate what you have in him. Yes, those two starts were ugly. There's still untapped talent there.

But here's the thing: the Browns' two first-round picks are just dangling there. Cleveland is the only team with two first-rounders (Nos. 12 and 20 overall). Those picks almost accentuate the Browns' past quarterback problems, daring Cleveland to do something about it.

No doubt the sophisticated Cleveland faithful has considered those two picks, plus a first-rounder in 2016 and maybe more ammunition, as a way to entice the Titans to relinquish the No. 2 spot. What hurts Tennessee's chances is that Washington hasn't gotten the return on investment it hoped out of Griffin III. But Mariota doesn't seem like bust material, at least on the surface.

My guess is Ray Farmer wouldn't pull the trigger on such a trade. He'll see the Manziel project through and try to improve the talent around him, possibly with a receiver in the first two rounds. They can use one of those first two picks on a pass-rusher and go get a quarterback in free agency for competition.

But if his personnel department is as thorough as Farmer says, this very discussoin will take place at some point. Have to at least bring it up, right?

Just in case.