Giants general manager Jerry Reese jersey got the last laugh. His free agent spending spree last March inspired raised eyebrows and widespread criticism from writers prone to pointing out that offseason championships rarely translate to the field.
The 2016 Giants proved to be an exception. Reese’s four big pieces in free agency — cornerback Janoris Jenkins jersey, end Olivier Vernon, tackle Damon Harrison and cheap jerseys and end Jason Pierre-Paul — keyed a dramatic Giants turnaround on defense. The massive dollars paid out don’t look so crazy now with exorbitant cap space all over the league and few great free agents to spend it on. Any one of the Giants’ big signings from a year ago would today rank among the top five free agents about to become available.
Speed like that in a pass rusher figures to make it all the harder on the Cleveland Browns jersey to pass on Garrett with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. All five NFL.com analysts who have released mock drafts project Garrett to the Browns at No. 1. Analyst Bucky Brooks said the clocking cemented Garrett’s status as freak athlete, while NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt clocked Garrett even faster at 4.52, and noted a scout behind him said “We can all go home now.”
That sentiment aligns with NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock’s belief that none of the quarterbacks in the draft merit a top-10 selection. Naturally, several teams most in need of immediate help at the quarterback position hold top-10 choices, including the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears and New York Jets.
Dorsey lamented the lack of options at quarterback who huddled at the college level, which results from the proliferation of spread offenses in the college game. In other words, regardless of the talent the quarterback class brings to the NFL, their adjustments to the pro game will come with a steep learning curve.
The day before, executive vice president Sashi Brown said he could envision a scenario where the team heads into the season with Griffin, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan as their quarterbacks. Jackson echoed those sentiments, but did hint toward a possible shakeup to come (he would not entertain a question about trading for a veteran quarterback).
“I think we have to feel that way because that could potentially happen,” Jackson said. “It depends on how this all unfolds. But I know we’re doing anything and everything we can to improve that position. I think that’s really important. I think that’s where Sashi was coming from. It can happen that way. It can be that way. But at the same time that’s a reality too. We’re going to do everything we can to find a quarterback for the Cleveland Browns.”
Watson suggested that the Dallas Cowboys make a trade with the Cleveland Browns to acquire him during his acceptance of the Davey O’Brien Award last month. Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett made a very similar joke, then tried to smooth it over just a day later. Friday was Watson’s day to smooth out the misstep at the NFL Scouting Combine, and when asked about his apparent disrespect for the Browns, he offered the longest, most detailed answer of any question he took during his media interview.
Brown said he’s not worried about getting a deal done with Terrelle Pryor before free agency, but did appreciate his willingness to stay. “We’ve had good discussions with Terrelle himself. He and I have spoken a few times. We do have some meetings set up with his representatives and we’ll see what happens there. We’re looking forward to working towards finding some middle ground.”
Brown would not comment on the team’s decision not to offer Pryor the franchise tag.