It seems the Browns have made a decision.
Following a trade which sent former Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor to Cleveland, speculation amongst insiders was that the Browns would select former Penn State running back Saquon Barkley first overall in next months draft. It appears, however, that thinking has once again shifted. Congrats, Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde.
According to several sources, a Pro Day held in Los Angeles seemed to be enough to sway the decision in favor of drafting former USC quarterback Sam Darnold.
Sam Darnold back to back deep balls pic.twitter.com/xXceTbB69h— Jordan Zirm (@clevezirm) March 21, 2018
Following the remarkable rainy pro day showing, the consensus started to roll in.
FOX Sports' Joel Klatt: Sam Darnold Locked In At No. 1 After Pro Day https://t.co/9omFDWAZuP— The Spun (@TheSpun) March 21, 2018
NFL executives even went on record that they believe the competition is now over, and the onus falls on the Giants.
Fwiw: Team picking in the top 5 to me "he [Darnold] is a lock to them [Browns] at #1..."— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) March 21, 2018
As recently as March 7, ESPN's Todd McShay had Darnold going first overall to Cleveland, and it seems now this is the general consensus.
While prized quarterback prospects in the draft include the likes of Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, and Baker Mayfield, Darnold has been labeled the crown jewel after throwing for 3,086 yards, 31 touchdowns with just nine interceptions in 2017.
The above photo captured by Ryan Abraham, which features Browns owner Jimmy Haslam sitting with Darnold's folks, speaks volumes with regards to Cleveland's drafting intentions.
As the Browns have proven time and again (27 times since 1999 to be exact), star quarterbacks are hard to come by, and if the Southern California product is destined to be a star, it's about time the Browns get their man.