BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns are more or less on the clock.
With the first pick in the 2018 NFL draft, the Browns need to take the best quarterback available.
It's past time.
It's way past time.
Because the Browns' pastime the past couple of seasons has been to fill the most important position on the team with uncertainty. The Browns need to draft a quarterback.
This doesn't dismiss DeShone Kizer. Although Kizer has yet to definitively show that he should be the guy going forward, he has more games this season to display his skills. He will be on the roster in 2018. If he's a competitor, he'll welcome the challenge, and if he's good enough, he'll be the starter.
But the time to take a quarterback first overall arrives in April. There are many reasons the Browns need to think quarterback, but the main one is that they are beyond overdue at the position. There are expected to be three top-tier quarterbacks in this year's draft, so the choice will be a matter of evaluations.
But if the Browns don't walk away from this draft with Josh Rosen of UCLA, Sam Darnold of USC or Josh Allen of Wyoming, then they should accept relegation to some semi-pro league and turn the team facility into a call-in center.
It's that obvious.
And if the Browns trade out of the first pick and wind up with Baker Mayfield, then it will be time to disband the franchise. The team does not need a repeat of Johnny Manziel-style football or behavior. The Browns need a quarterback from the top pick.
Mel Kiper's top 25 has Rosen as the best quarterback and the second-best player available. Darnold, who could stay in school one more year, is fifth overall, and Allen is sixth. Todd McShay has Darnold first, Rosen fourth and Allen eighth. The difference in evaluation is negligible. Any of them should work.
Allen has the strongest arm. Darnold is considered the best in the pocket, though he has turned the ball over a lot as a third-year sophomore. Rosen is the best passer. He has the size (6-foot-4), arm strength and ability to get the ball in tight spaces.
The only other players considered worthy of the top pick at this early stage of the pre-draft process are Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, Florida State safety Derwin James and Alabama cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Barkley might be the best overall player, but he's a running back, and teams are loath to use the first overall pick on a running back. That doesn't mean a good running back drafted high won't work. Todd Gurley (Rams), Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas) and Leonard Fournette (Jaguars) show the position's value with the right fit and team.
If the Browns decide to go with Barkley, they better know that they can get a quarterback with their second first-round pick, the one they acquired from Houston that projects to be in the top 10 after the injury to Deshaun Watson.
But there are no guarantees on landing a top quarterback -- the fourth option is Louisville’s Lamar Jackson -- with that second pick. Several teams drafting from second through 10th will need quarterbacks, among them the Giants, Jets, Cardinals and perhaps the Broncos (based on draft position projections at this point).
With the first pick, there is certainty.
The Browns need to decide who is the best football player and base their choice on how he played in college and how he projects to play in the pros. That's why they have scouts and tape, and that's why teams pay personnel guys and why coaches' input is essential: to assess and make decisions such as this one.
When April rolls around, the Browns need to take the best quarterback they can find with the first overall pick in the 2018 draft.