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Browns’ dream draft: Top QB plus Barkley, Chubb or Fitzpatrick – Cleveland Browns Blog

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Imagine this NFL draft for the Cleveland Browns: They select the quarterback they want first overall, then three picks later they select the best player at every other position.

It could be defensive lineman Bradley Chubb or running back Saquon Barkley or defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. Any of the three combined with a quarterback would give the Browns a special first round — with three more picks awaiting in the second.

This draft scenario would be akin to the Browns having two first overall draft picks, one for the quarterback and one for every other position on the field.

Don’t discount this possibility. The New York Jets traded up to the No. 3 pick. The Jets will be drafting a quarterback. The Browns are almost obligated to take a quarterback first — and if they don’t they risk missing on the guy they truly want. At this point it would be football malpractice not to take the quarterback the Browns like first overall.

If the Giants decide to take a quarterback at No. 2 — Eli Manning is 37 — or if they trade the pick to another team that wants a quarterback, the first three picks will be quarterbacks and the Browns would be left with their choice of everyone else.

The three teams that could trade up with the Giants are Buffalo, Arizona and Denver. Any of those teams would secure that the first three picks are quarterbacks. That would give the Browns their choice of players, any of whom — on paper — should make an immediate impact.

The top options:
 Chubb has always been an intriguing guy for the Browns, but with the Colts picking third it was generally thought he would go to Indianapolis. With the Jets now picking No. 3, Chubb could be there at No. 4 — though it’s also possible the Giants choose Chubb as a replacement for Jason Pierre-Paul, who was just traded. All the chatter about Chubb speaks to his ability.

Chubb is a big, fast, aggressive pass-rusher. He has lined up on both sides. In his last two seasons at NC State, he had 21 sacks and 46.5 tackles for a loss. There is nobody close to him as a pass-rusher in the draft.

Adding Chubb would be adding to a position of strength. The Browns have Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah, both of whom are projecting as future Pro Bowlers. But adding Chubb, a guy the Browns like, would give Gregg Williams several pass-rush combinations.

There is also one truth in the NFL: The most important guy on the team is the quarterback and the next most important guys are players who can affect the quarterback. That happens either at corner or on the defensive line.

Chubb’s addition would make the Browns defensive line young and formidable.

Barkley’s addition would give the Browns’ offense a weapon it needs, and would give the team a player who many rank as the best in the draft. Barkley has balance, vision and breakaway speed. Two noteworthy stats: Barkley had 54 receptions last season and has the all-time record for touchdowns at Penn State with 43.

At 230 pounds, he ran a 4.40 40-yard dash at the combine, something that isn’t supposed to happen. The NFL compared his workouts to previous combines, and found that Barkley’s 29 reps on the bench press were one more than Joe Thomas. His 10-yard time was better than receiver DeSean Jackson. His 40 time was better than Devin Hester’s.

The Browns signed Carlos Hyde in free agency to go with Duke Johnson in the backfield, but that will not keep them from taking Barkley if they feel he is the best option. Hue Jackson and Todd Haley should easily be able to find roles for all three.

Fitzpatrick, the third option, is the only one of the three top players under discussion who would fill an immediate need. The Browns badly lack a shutdown corner, and though Fitzpatrick played safety during his final season at Alabama, he has played corner as well. The Browns like him at either position.

Fitzpatrick checks all the boxes. He’s talented, aggressive and versatile. Williams could use him all over the field defensively. The Browns need someone who can turn the ball over, and Fitzpatrick had nine interceptions at Alabama, four that he returned for a touchdown.

One other option at corner would be Ohio State’s Denzel Ward, a guy whose stock seems to improve as time goes on. If the Browns wanted to recoup the third-round pick they traded for Tyrod Taylor, they could move down from No. 4 to later in the first round and take Ward. Draft analysts generally have Fitzpatrick ranked ahead of Ward.

The bottom line: The Browns — thanks to Sashi Brown dealing for the Texans’ first-round pick and then Deshaun Watson‘s injury hurting the Texans’ record — are in great shape in this draft. They will likely come out of it with the quarterback they choose, and then either Barkley, Chubb or Fitzpatrick.

There will be discussion and debate about which of the three is the best option, but there won’t be discussion that any of the three would be a significant addition to a team coming off a winless season.

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Los Angeles Chargers put cornerback Chris Harris Jr. on IR

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The Los Angeles Chargers placed cornerback Chris Harris Jr., on injured reserve Tuesday with a foot injury.

Harris suffered the injury midway through the third quarter of Sunday’s loss to Carolina and was out the rest of the game. The team did not put a timetable on how long he’d be out, but he will miss at least the next three games by being on injured reserve.

He had played every defensive snap up until the injury and was considered integral to the Chargers’ secondary.

Harris came to the Chargers via free agency last offseason after spending nine seasons with the Denver Broncos, where he made four Pro Bowls and won a Super Bowl.

The Chargers (0-3) appear to be without eight starters now because of injury.

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Atlanta Falcons secondary takes hit as Darqueze Dennard hits IR

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The Atlanta Falcons placed veteran cornerback Darqueze Dennard on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, meaning he’ll be sidelined at least three weeks and unavailable for Monday night’s matchup at Green Bay.

Dennard, who signed a one-year deal with the Falcons before the season, is coming off his best game with an interception in the end zone in a 30-26 loss to the Chicago Bears. Dennard played 77 snaps before exiting with the injury with 2 minutes, 12 seconds left in regulation.

Dennard, who had been playing the nickelback role, started at left cornerback against the Bears because rookie first-round draft pick A.J. Terrell was placed on the reserve-COVID-19 list the night before the game. Terrell remains on the list and his status for Monday night’s game in unclear. Kendall Sheffield, who was projected to start at cornerback, has yet to play this season due to a foot injury but he’s out of a walking boot.

Another key member of the secondary, safety and captain Ricardo Allen, missed the Bears game with an hyperextended elbow.

Falcons secondary coach Joe Whitt Jr., who spent 11 years in Green Bay, addressed the banged up secondary in preparation for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

“This in the NFL. Everybody has to be ready,” he said. “We’re not played to go out there and play well. We’re paid to go win this week against Aaron. It’s going to be a great challenge. I was with Aaron for 11 years. I know what type of quarterback he is. Their offense is rolling. … There as good as any offense in the league.”

Depending on the status of both Terrell and Sheffield, the Falcons might have to start veteran Blidi Wreh-Wilson at left cornerback opposite Isaiah Oliver, who is expected to remain at right cornerback despite his noticeable coverage struggles. The team activated cornerback Jordan Miller from the reserve/suspended list Monday so he could be in line for action if ready to step in. The Falcons played Delrick Abrams some at cornerback against the Bears but then moved him back to the practice squad.

The Falcons are 0-3 after blowing double-digit leads in consecutive weeks against the Bears and Cowboys following a season-opening loss to the Seahawks.

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Brett Rypien to start for Denver Broncos against New York Jets

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In an injury-riddled season that has led to a major slump on offense, the Denver Broncos (0-3) will start their third different quarterback in four weeks when Brett Rypien opens the game behind center Thursday night against the New York Jets.

Broncos coach Vic Fangio told the team Tuesday morning that Rypien, who played on the Broncos’ final drive in Sunday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, would start against the Jets. Rypien said Fangio informed him of the decision Monday.

Fangio also said there is a chance Jeff Driskel, who started the Buccaneers game, would play in some situations against the Jets.

“We’ll just see how the game unfolds,” Fangio said. “We may change it up a few times.”

Drew Lock started Denver’s first two games, but suffered a right (throwing) shoulder injury in Week 2 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He is expected to miss at least another two games.

Rypien, nephew of longtime NFL quarterback Mark Rypien, was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster last week. He will be the ninth different quarterback to start a game for the Broncos since the start of the 2017 season.

The Broncos also signed Blake Bortles, a 2014 first-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars, last week, but Fangio said Monday it was “unrealistic” to expect him to be an option to start against the Jets.

Rypien entered last Sunday’s game in relief of Driskel with 9 minutes, 56 seconds remaining. He completed his first eight passes but his last attempt was intercepted in the end zone when he tried to squeeze a throw in to Jerry Jeudy. Rypien finished the game 8-of-9 for 53 yards.

Fangio said he liked how Rypien got the ball out quickly on a day when the Broncos struggled with Buccaneers’ pass rush.

“He played pretty good in there,” Fangio said. “… We want to see if that can continue.”

Added offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur: “He executes well, he’s quick-minded, he gets the ball out quickly.”

When asked what attributes he has that have helped him the most in his time with the team, Rypien said, “I think fast and get the ball out.”

The move comes with the Broncos’ offense struggling. The team has surrendered 13 sacks (all in the past two games), tied for second-most allowed in the league.

The Broncos are also ranked 30th in scoring in the league (15 points per game) and 29th in both total offense (289.3 yards per game) as well as third-down conversions (34.2 percent). Their quarterbacks have just four touchdown passes this season (one by Lock, three by Driskel).

Rypien, who came to the Broncos as an undrafted rookie in 2019, spent most of last season on the practice squad and was initially signed to it again after this year’s training camp when the Broncos kept two quarterbacks on the roster in Lock and Driskel.

“It was good to get in there for a drive [last Sunday],” Rypien said. “Hopefully that can carry over to this Thursday.”

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