John Dorsey's fascinating background in quarterback study led him to Baker Mayfield last year. This week, he could be in the market to secure an insurance policy in case anything happens to "the franchise." How the Browns GM approaches the position is full of intrigue.

Browns fans might imagine Day 1 of the 2019 draft as a table in the no-eating section of the steakhouse.

"No first-round pick for you."

By Day 3, however, they can gorge on leftovers. One cluster of Cleveland picks is due at 144, 155 and 170. Don't be surprised if that's where John Dorsey applies the A1 to the rare cut that arrived with last year's choice of Baker Mayfield.

Having traded 2017 Round 2 pick DeShone Kizer in 2018 and cycled through the Tyrod Taylor project, Dorsey still has veteran Drew Stanton as a substantive backup.

But Stanton, going on 35, is signed only through 2019. And Dorsey has always been one to think about drafting extra QBs.

Within three drafts when Dorsey was general manager of the Chiefs, he spent a 163 on Aaron Murray and a 162 pick on Kevin Hogan. Neither passer became a K.C. masterpiece, but that's not the kind of thing that slows down the plucky Dorsey.

Gil Brandt, the personnel guru who is part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2019, ranks six draft-eligible QBs in the 90-150 range. They are Northwestern's Clayton Thorson at 94, Auburn's Jarrett Stidham at 101, Buffalo's Tyree Jackson at 108, Mississippi State's Nick Fitzgerald at 141, North Dakota State's Easton Stick at 147 and Washington State's Gardner Minshew at 149.

In 2016, in Dorsey's fourth draft with the Chiefs, he was scheduled for a pick at 165 but believed Green Bay at 163 or Philadelphia at 164 would draft Stanford QB Kevin Hogan. He traded into 162 by sending veteran safety Kelcie McCray to the Seahawks, grabbed Hogan, and wound up with wideout Tyreek Hill at 165.

Two years earlier, Dorsey drafted the Georgia star, Aaron Murray, at 163.

The Chiefs went to camp in '16 with Alex Smith, Murray, Hogan and Tyler Bray as the QB group. Bray, undrafted out of Tennessee in 2013, Dorsey's first year as K.C. GM, survived. Both Murray and Hogan got cut in September.

Kansas City's chance to keep Hogan as a practice squad member ended when he chose to instead accept an invitation to the Browns' practice squad. Hogan now is the No. 2 QB in Denver behind Joe Flacco.

Dorsey was fired shortly after the 2017 draft, in which he arranged a trade that left the Chiefs with Patrick Mahomes at No. 10 overall. Brett Veach, who had thumped the tub for Mahomes, was promoted to replace Dorsey.

Largely because old friends Dorsey and Andy Reid won't talk about it, the story behind Dorsey's dismissal is a mystery. The intrigue seeped into the middle of Dorsey's first year as Cleveland's GM. Mahomes and the Chiefs happened to be the next opponent when Dorsey, disturbed by a rough patch for his team and for Mayfield, fired Hue Jackson and Todd Haley.

Mayfield was no match for Mahomes coming off the firings, but the rookie soon went on a 5-1 hot streak.

Now, Dorsey has fingerprints on drafting a league MVP (Mahomes) and the exciting face of the revived Browns (Mayfield).

But can Dorsey draft a backup? He recently signed 27-year-old Garrett Gilbert, who was lighting it up for the Orlando Apollos recently before the AAF folded.

Gilbert's time in camps of the Rams, Patriots, Lions, Raiders and Panthers appeals to Dorsey but probably won't keep him from drafting a quarterback.

Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network's lead analyst, lists four QBs among his top-50 overall prospects: Oklahoma's Kyler Murray at No. 14, Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins at No. 18, Missouri's Drew Lock at No. 26, and Duke's Daniel Jones at No. 32.

Brandt's top tier is slightly different, slotting Murray at No. 7, Jones at No. 17, Lock at No. 20 and Haskins at No. 25. But it's the same four guys.

Next best on Brandt's board are West Virginia's Will Grier at No. 52 and N.C. State's Ryan Finley at No. 58.

Then one arrives at the group more likely to be under Dorsey's consideration, along the lines of his Chiefs picks in 2014 (Murray was the eighth QB off the board) and 2016 (Hogan was the 10th QB taken).

Thorson (6-4, 225) was a four-year starter at Northwestern who never overcame interception issues. He threw for 267 yards against Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game on Dec. 1, but his two interceptions were a factor in a 45-24 loss.

Stidham (6-3, 215) made three starts as a Baylor freshman in 2015, one a 27-16 loss to Mayfield's Oklahoma team. He transferred to Auburn and started two seasons, during which his signature win was 26-14 over then-No. 1 Alabama on Nov. 25, 2017.

Everyone notices Jackson's size (6-7, 245). He was no Big Ben in the MAC, but he did have a breakout 2018 for Buffalo, which got to 9-1 at one point.

Fitzgerald (6-5, 230) is a prospect despite shoddy passing stats because he is a size guy who can run (28 carries for 195 yards in a win over Auburn, one of 21 100-yard rushing games from 2016-18).

Stick (6-2, 220) was a redshirt freshman at North Dakota State in 2015 when he went 8-0 in place of injured Carson Wentz. He went on to a 49-3 record as the starter and was part of four NCAA Division I FCS national championship teams.

Minshew (6-2, 220) spent one season at Washington State after transferring from East Carolina. What a season: 4,779 passing yards and 38 TDs, an 11-2 year capped by an Alamo Bowl win over Iowa State.

For what it's worth, Mayfield's only regular-season loss in his final year at Oklahoma was to Iowa State.

There's enough here to give Dorsey something to chew on.

 

Reach Steve at 330-580-8347 or

steve.doerschuk@cantonrep.com

On Twitter: @sdoerschukREP