Could the Browns take a quarterback with the first pick and the fourth pick? Yes. Will they? No.
As we get closer to the draft, smokescreens become more pronounced and speculation veers into ridiculousness. The Browns are a young team looking to add as much talent as possible – the opportunity cost of passing on a player from a different position with either of the Top 5 picks that the Browns hold is far too high to justify selecting two QBs.
Granted, there is the argument that Cleveland could take one of the quarterbacks and trade that player away. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of how trade value works. With the picks Cleveland possesses, it can leverage the interest of teams in any of the four quarterbacks. There are a few teams that think Josh Allen is the best quarterback, a few teams that think Sam Darnold is the man to get, and so on.
A draft pick is an open book – a team can take whichever quarterback it values highest. Once a player is actually taken, the market tightens substantially, because the only teams competing for the player are those that value the player highly. It is a much smaller universe, especially in this class where there is no clear-cut top quarterback. Additionally, if I am understanding the salary cap correctly, Cleveland would still be on the hook for the rookie quarterback’s signing bonus even if it made a trade.
The Browns have an opportunity to grab a quarterback and another 10-year starter at any number of positions, including EDGE, guard, and running back (depending how the chips fall). The best course of action would be to take the best quarterback available at No. 1, then trade down into the later first round for some other top players. If Cleveland swaps No. 4 with Buffalo for No. 12 and 23 (among several other picks), it is entirely feasible that the Browns could come away from the first round with QB Sam Darnold, CB Denzel Ward, and a tackle of their choice (Kolton Miller and Mike McGlinchey come to mind).
That is the best course of action – not drafting two quarterbacks. Don’t believe everything you read.