Rick Scuteri/Associated Press
This mock draft is built around two powerful NFL offseason forces: the Garoppolo Ripple Effect and Front Office Slingshot Principle.
The Garoppolo Ripple Effect (or Garipple Effect) states that the 49ers priced everyone out of the quarterback free-agent market except teams with gee-golly gonzo cap space when they forked over $42.6 million in first-year cash to Jimmy Garoppolo two weeks ago. The Browns are now one of the few teams that can afford Kirk Cousins since they can drop a salary-cap depth charge on him in 2018 without any long-term financial consequences.
The Front Office Slingshot Principle states that new regimes always veer as hard as possible in the exact opposite direction from the previous regime. So general manager John Dorsey and his all-star cast of Real Football Guys (TM) will make the least analytical decisions possible, despite the fact there is still a Moneyball faction in the Browns front office. Or, more accurately, because there's still a Moneyball faction in the Browns front office.
Drafting a running back first overall is the least Moneyball thing a rebuilding franchise can do; overpaying for a quarterback who has proven he needs top talent around him to succeed ranks a close second.
Still, a Cousins-Saquon Barkley backfield has plenty to offer. Barkley gives Cousins a security blanket, head-coach-by-December Todd Haley a Le'Veon Bell surrogate to build the offense around and the Browns a clear direction and identity. And while it's possible to parlay the Browns' draft-pick bushel into a much cheaper Sam Darnold-Barkley backfield, Cousins takes the developmental guesswork out of Hue Jackson's hands.
Yep, the Cousins-Barkley ripple-slingshot backfield will immediately catapult the Browns toward 8-8. And there's nothing Real Football Guys (TM) enjoy more than proclaiming success after an 8-8 season.
Source : http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2758739-2018-nfl-mock-draft-mike-taniers-guesstacular-first-round-predictions