Browns Predicted to Land First-Round QB as Watson Successor

The Cleveland Browns may begin planning for a future without Deshaun Watson as soon as next year.

Browns Andrew Berry, Kevin Stefanski contract extension updates from  ownership - Dawgs By Nature

Watson’s tenure in Cleveland has been turbulent since he arrived via 2022 via a blockbuster trade. It’s been defined by off-field issues, injuries and mostly subpar play on the field. If Watson doesn’t meet expectations during his third season in Cleveland, the Browns could start moving in a different direction.

In a much-too-early 2025 mock draft, FOX Sports draft analyst Rob Rang has the Browns selecting Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe with the No. 18 overall pick.

“To earn a first-round NFL draft selection, Milroe will have to show significant improvement as a pocket passer, but he has a head coach in Kalen DeBoer who can develop his accuracy and anticipation and, of course, already boasts elite size and athleticism,” Rang wrote. “Milroe will be one of the most fascinating and closely scrutinized prospects in the country next season.”

Milroe’s draft stock aside, it’d be an interesting pick for the Browns, who are linked to Watson through the 2026 season on a fully guaranteed contract. Selecting a quarterback in the first round would signal that Watson’s time in Cleveland is at least limited.

That being said, next year’s draft is a year away and a lot can happen between now and then.

Browns Expect Big Season Out of Deshaun Watson

The Browns are expecting a big season out of Deshaun Watson.

Watson has had a rough ride so far in Cleveland. And he’s coming off season-ending shoulder surgery. However, the team has not wavered with their confidence in him. Browns general manager Andrew Berry expects his $230 million passer to have a big year.

“We feel very good about the transition. He is in a good spot mentally and physically,” Berry said during an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show. “Obviously, he’s been rehabbing the shoulder injury, but he is well on his way there and in a really strong spot. I think he’s a lot more comfortable within the organization. You know, we have a core group of guys on offense that have now played together for a number of years.

“We do expect to hit the ground running on that side of the ball, and I know he is very excited about returning to the playing field and getting over this injury. We do have high expectations for him and the offense this season.”

Browns Added Solid Depth Behind Deshaun Watson

The Browns added some QB depth this offseason behind Deshaun Watson.

The Browns made the playoffs last season but started five different quarterbacks. Cleveland is seemingly more prepared if Watson ends up missing time with injury issues.

The Browns signed former top pick Jameis Winston to backup Watson. The team also added Tyler Huntley, who has starting experience from his time with the Baltimore Ravens. They’ll join second-year QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson on the depth chart.

The hope for the Browns is that the backup quarterback spot won’t be as discussed as it was a year ago. And if Cleveland can get a full season out of Watson, it will give them a better read on the future of the quarterback position.

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