2020 NFL Draft rumors: Browns, Broncos working on first round trade?

The Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos appear to be working on a trade involving first-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft.

The 2020 NFL Draft is now officially just one week away from commencing on Thursday, April 23. And naturally, that means that the NFL Draft rumors are about to reach a fever pitch. But as they do there is always some truth to mine from the smokescreens and the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos may be doing just that.

Most people have long assumed the Browns are ready to take an offensive tackle with the No. 10 overall pick. It’s clearly their primary need and Cleveland could use a player at the position to build with Baker Mayfield and a young core on offense with new head coach and former Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski.

In the same vein, the Broncos have been connected with wide receiver Henry Ruggs III in the first round for quite some time as they own the 15th overall pick. The belief has been that the organization wants to get a speedy young wide receiver to pair with Courtland Sutton and Drew Lock in the passing attack.

But while those needs may both be addressed, how it happens could be changing given some of what’s floating out there. In the simplest terms, we can piece together that the Browns and Broncos seem to be talking about a potential first-round trade. Michael Lombardi of The Athletic essentially said as much on Thursday:

As Lombardi points out, it stands to reason why the Broncos would want to move ahead of New York and Las Vegas at No. 11 and 12, respectively. If Denver covets Ruggs that highly, then moving up in the NFL Draft makes sense for them. And in case you think it’s someone other than Ruggs, NFL insider Benjamin Allbright not so subtly affirmed it’s the Alabama speedster Denver wants.

But for Cleveland’s side of the deal, they aren’t just trying to sit in the catbird seat and milk Denver dry. Apparently they are motivated to trade down. The reason, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, is that the Browns are reportedly interested in moving down and taking offensive tackle Ezra Cleveland out of Boise State.

The Boise State product is projected by most as a second-round pick, which makes the notion of trading down interesting. However, it could indicate that the Browns are considering something along the lines of trading down to No. 15, acquiring a third-round pick this year (and maybe more) and then taking a linebacker such as Kenneth Murray or Patrick Queen at that spot before taking Cleveland at No. 41, when they would next be on the clock.

If the Browns are confident that Cleveland would be on the board in the first-third of the second round, then that may be their best option. This is a thin linebacker class and, if the team is confident in Ezra Cleveland, then trading down to take Murray or Queen and getting their tackle in Round 2 could behoove them.

Next: 2020 NFL Mock Draft: Packers trade back, Browns move up

Should this actually be a viable trade brewing between the Browns and Broncos in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, it could wind up being a win-win. Denver clearly believes they are on the cusp of competing with a player like Ruggs while Cleveland could get more draft capital and address their primary needs. Time will tell, however, how much validity there is to this deal.