No QB is worth taking in Rounds 1 or 2 for the Browns

It’s simple. The Cleveland Browns have been in search of a franchise quarterback since they returned to the NFL in 1999. The revolving door has continued to open (and close) almost 30 times while different front offices and coaches have tried — and failed — to find their guy. While the carousel continues to spin, head coach Hue Jackson and the group of Harvard grads in the front office have done their best to find that guy. The quarterback who they hope can lead the team for the foreseeable future.

While it was simple to state that the Browns are in search (and in need) of a franchise quarterback, the most difficult part is finding the gunslinger to fill that void. Is Cody Kessler that guy? Probably not. Is Brock Osweiler that guy? Almost definitely not. Is Kevin Hogan that guy? All but certainly not. But, what if I told you that that guy isn’t even in the first two rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft either?

The Top four quarterbacks are projected to be selected in either Round 1 or Round 2. That includes North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes, and Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer. How many years will it take for them to reach their ceiling? Can the current Browns’ front office and coaching staff afford to use one of their four picks in the first two rounds to select a quarterback that will take a year or two before he can be a starter behind center? Nope. The Dawg Pound doesn’t have the patience.

Jackson and company, while having their team go just 1-15 in 2016, had the correct situation behind center. Kessler may not be the quarterback of the future, but they gave him a mentor, Josh McCown, that did his best to groom and help develop the rookie the best he could, while having Robert Griffin III on hand to start games (best laid plans and all). Some might say that Kessler could possibly be the Browns starting quarterback, but Jackson’s comments so far this offseason seem to say the opposite. The head coach has made it known that he wants his franchise quarterback to be at least 6-foot-2. It just so happens that not a single quarterback currently on the Browns roster, including Kessler, is taller than 6-foot-1. Coincidence? Don’t think so.

Why are none of the Top 4 quarterbacks worth it for the Browns?

There is a reason why there isn’t a consensus top quarterback in the 2016 draft class. Unlike Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett being the consensus best player in the upcoming draft, none of the four gunslingers have solidified their spot atop the class. It’s not because the four quarterbacks are all elite. It’s because they all have plenty of weaknesses about their game that make draft experts question whether they can be a starting quarterback in the NFL.

Why not Trubisky? He may be a Northeast Ohio guy, a lifelong Browns fan, and know what the Browns and their fans have been through over the years, but he is going to need time before he can be considered a legitimate starting quarterback in the NFL. The 6-foot-2, 222-pound quarterback has the size, pocket presence, and arm strength, but he didn’t have much experience in NFL-type situations during his time in Chapel Hill. Whether it’s the fact that he was in shotgun in almost 98 percent of his dropbacks in his spread offense, didn’t throw in many tight windows in traffic, didn’t see blitzes well, or floated balls to open wide receivers downfield and allowed the defense to catch up, Trubisky has plenty of flaws. Keep in mind, he became a full-time starter in his final season at North Carolina. If he was that good, shouldn’t he have started ahead of Marquise Williams prior to Williams graduating in 2015? For what it’s worth, Williams wasn’t drafted and isn’t even currently on a NFL roster. That says a lot, right?

Former Browns offensive coordinator and current Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said it best when talking about Trubisky. Here’s what he had to say, courtesy of ESPN’s Pat Mcmanamon:

“Really talented player. The growth potential is obviously there. The question is why wasn’t all that talent starting for the last three years? That’s always bugging me. So you have to go and answer those questions with him, with his coach. … [Spread quarterbacks] never got in a huddle [in college] and looked at 10 other guys who’ve got families to feed, and had to call a play,” Arians said. “They just look to the sideline, kick their foot and roll. That’s the hardest thing for these kids, to come to minicamp, get in a professional huddle and try to lead these guys. You have to give them a wristband because they can’t spit it out. Or you have to give them a wristband and then all the guys in the huddle get pissed off because he can’t call the play. I’m not making eye contact with you and you don’t have a helluva lot of confidence that I know what I’m talking about. We had a young guy in Pittsburgh who had all the talent in the world, but he could not call a play and he could not go to the line and use a snap count. It destroyed all of his confidence.”

Why not Watson? He may be a two-time Heisman finalist with a national championship ring, but the streaky quarterback is inconsistent. During his time at Clemson, he played his best when the lights shined brightest, but he mixed in plenty of bad. His biggest weakness is his arm strength—or lack thereof. During the NFL Combine, his fastest throw was just 49 miles per hour. For those keeping track at home, Kessler, who isn’t known for his arm strength, threw 55 miles per hour. The lowest standard deemed acceptable by most scouts is 53 mile per hour. Whether it’s his up-and-down play, arm strength, or the fact that it will take him some time to transition from the spread offense to pro-style, the 6-foot-2, 221-pound quarterback has the potential to be a good NFL quarterback, but there is considerable risk too.

Why not Mahomes? He has the body type and arm to be a good quarterback, but his bad habits and inconsistencies may be too tough a hurdle to get over. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound dual-threat quarterback possesses plenty of good attributes, but his weaknesses can cost him long-term. He’s a high risk, high reward-type quarterback. Can the Browns afford that in their current situation?

Why not Kizer? Of these four quarterbacks, the Notre Dame product by far has the most questions about the kind of quarterback he can be in the NFL. The 6-foot-4, 233-pound gunslinger has the arm strength, accuracy, and pocket awareness, but his mechanics are inconsistent when relying on his arm strength. The fourth dual-threat quarterback of these four signal-callers took a sack at times even though he had receivers open, while also throwing an interception in 15 of his 23 starts at Notre Dame.

While it may be tough for the Dawg Pound to wait yet another year to find the future franchise quarterback of the Browns, it’s what is needed this time. With so much talent on the defensive side of the ball and the Browns owning four of the Top 52 picks in the draft, they can essentially draft four starters on defense with their first four picks. When you could do that, why even select a quarterback that may not only be a reach, but one that would need a year or two before seeing legitimate time on the field on Sundays?

The Browns are expected to select Garrett with the first-overall pick. At Nos. 12, 33, and 52, they can either go defensive back, linebacker, or defensive line. If they want, they can even draft someone on offense as well. But, in this defensive-heavy draft, many expect the Browns to go all defense with their early picks (besides possibly nabbing a quarterback). Either way, all four of those players can be instant-impact players if the Browns do their scouting correctly.

If they select a quarterback at one of those three other picks in the first two rounds, they will miss out on a chance to get an immediate starter on defense while taking a quarterback who may never be a franchise quarterback in a weak quarterback class. While the Browns may be in search of a franchise quarterback, they also are in desperate need of playmakers on defense as well. In 2016, they were 30th in points allowed (28.2 per game), 31st in total yards allowed (392.4), 21st in passing yards allowed (249.8), and 31st in rushing yards allowed (142.7). A chance to grab four instant-impact starters on defense with their four picks in Rounds 1 and 2 is hard to resist.

The Browns should work on developing the talent that is currently in their quarterback room rather than bringing another new face into the room in either Round 1 or 2 and trying to develop said player during his rookie season, while potentially being pressured to play the rookie in 2017. Keep in mind, throughout the Browns long history, a quarterback drafted by them in one of the first two rounds has never stood on the sidelines and had time to develop during his rookie season. Each one has been pressured or forced to start at some point throughout their first season in the league.

If someone other than Kessler or Osweiler start in Week 1 this fall, the only other quarterback it should be is Jimmy Garoppolo. The Browns have so many needs and can upgrade at plenty of positions on both sides of the ball. Go out and improve your team, especially on defense, and wait until 2018 to use one of your high draft picks to select a quarterback. Give Kessler or Osweiler a full season behind this revamped offensive line to see what they can do. With all of these draft picks and so much talent on defense throughout the draft, taking a quarterback early who may not even be the guy and passing on so much other talent around the field isn’t worth the risk.

Jackson has been known to be a good developer of quarterbacks. Why not give him some more time with Kessler? The quarterback who is most familiar with the Browns’ offense and system. Why give up on him after just one season?

Chances are, if the Browns have another one- or two-win season, the organization could be looking for a new head coach and front office yet again. If Jackson and company want to stick around, it would be in their benefit to take as much talent in the draft that can make an immediate impact that they can, rather than selecting a quarterback too high that shouldn’t see the field in 2017.

The Browns can’t afford to overvalue and over-draft one of these four quarterbacks, none of which are sure-fire franchise-changing gunslingers, while passing on so much other talent. Don’t reach and just draft a quarterback high just because you’re still in search of your franchise quarterback, Browns. Kessler and Osweiler are capable of carrying this Browns’ offense in 2017 and (possibly) beyond. Why not give one of them a chance rather than reaching on a quarterback in the draft just because he could possibly be the guy—again?

If you have yet to read, WFNY’s Craig Lyndall and Michael Bode did a great job of discussing the Browns current situation behind center heading into the draft.

  • RGB
  • Eric G
  • Jeff

    I really like Peterman in the third. Maybe a reach, but I think he’s the most pro-ready and he has some talent. There’s not a single lock at QB this time and I do believe that Kessler can at least be a solid placeholder behind an improved OL with a solid running game AND a defense that may be able to get a few stops.

  • mgbode

    I disagree. Firmly.

  • The_Matt_of_Akron

    Is ball velocity as a metric a new thing? I don’t remember hearing throwing speeds in previous drafts.

  • mgbode

    Been around at least 10 years. Usually not noted because people just care that the threshold is met. Watson falling so far below begs a question of if he is fully healthy right now.

  • NankirPhelge

    Bravo, Josh! But the Browns passing on a QB until the third round is probably too much to hope for.

  • NankirPhelge
  • 216 in 614

    Seems to me we have to take one as punishment for not having one already.

  • Saggy


  • CBiscuit

    I’m a big fan of his urban sombrero.

  • Saggy

    I would take this further and say Rounds 1-7

  • Saggy

    which could be a great thing if the browns want to take him. He will be healthy later but his price would reflect unhealthy now.

  • maxfnmloans

    here’s a crazy idea: these guys might be pretty good if they get to learn a bit before being thrown in the fire, yes? Most specifically Mahomes and Trubisky? And it seems lots of times good teams stay good because they draft outside of the top 10, where their selected players have less pressure to play right away, and therefore they get time to “season” a bit before being thrown to the wolves? And teams like Green Bay and Pittsburgh stay good because they draft QBs when they arent desperate for them? And they are somehow able to do this without having accumulated a boatload of draft picks?

    So maybe, rather than kicking the can down the road we get crazy, and draft a guy this year. Then maybe we dont play him unless we have to (record and fans be damned) this season. The juuuust maybe, next year, when the draft process is playing out, and we’re finding warts all over the 2018 class, we’re actually a year ahead for once.

    Naah, thats just crazy talk

  • tigersbrowns2

    i would agree with half of this … i am not against taking a QB in the 2nd round . just wait & see what’s there at #33 … i am against taking a QB at #12 overall , we would be bypassing someone who could start & help right away.

  • mgbode

    unless he is healthy the whole time and those 17 interceptions in 2016 are partially due to the ball not getting their fast enough

  • Garry_Owen

    I had a dream the other night that the Steelers drafted Trubisky and proceeding to continue destroying the Browns for another 15 years, winning 2 more Super Bowls in the process. That was enough to convince me in this silliest of silly seasons that we need to draft Trubisky #1 overall just to make sure my nightmare doesn’t come true.

  • Jeff

    I prefer the one Jake Taylor wore, pre-Seinfeld.

  • RGB

    It was just a bad pierogi.

  • Garry_Owen

    I’m all for it, in principle; however, in every year since what seems like 1066, the Browns have had to play each and every QB on their roster, and many that weren’t on their roster. If we draft a QB this year, that guy is going to play. And be destroyed.

  • Brandon
  • mgbode

    Never forget: Charlie Whitehurst played QB for the Browns in 2016

    (also, I disagree on the “be destroyed” portion of your statement)

  • The Browns passed on a quarterback until the third round in last year’s draft. They could do it again this year as well.

  • CBiscuit

    I remember 1066 fondly. That’s when we drafted William “The Conqueror” Green.

  • Garry_Owen

    I don’t know. Ask Kessler’s brain cells if “destroyed” is a good word. Or are you banking on great OL protection?

  • maxfnmloans

    from Normandy HS

  • mgbode

    I am banking on a much improved OL, yes. Still worry about RT but I was worried about three spots last year.

  • CBI

    Isn’t Osweiler like 6’7″?

  • Jeremy Humbert

    6′ 8″.

  • Jeremy Humbert

    I totally agree. I suppose in all the “Brock sucks!” talk, we forget that his team last year reached the playoffs with a killer D. Despite! how much he sucked, and whatnot. Kessler had a respectable season last year, but had no help on the OL or the Defense. I can’t tell you how much I can’t stand how we treat blows to the head from a 250 pound hurling hunk of muscle, that result in a concussion, as an indication that a guy will miss time in the future because he is an injury risk.
    Either of the guys on the roster to start this year, build me a damn good D, and run the damn ball….

    (Steps down from soap box)

  • tigersbrowns2
  • Believelander

    “and many that weren’t on their roster”

    In 2017, the Browns may actually insert one of the referees from the game they are currently playing in at quarterback!

  • davehalo

    “It just so happens that not a single quarterback currently on the Browns
    roster, including Kessler, is taller than 6-foot-1. Coincidence? Don’t
    think so”

    Yeah because being 6’8″ is the new 5″8″. Hope they didn’t pay you for this article unless of course you are assuming Brock is traded before practice even starts

  • Saggy

    no, he doesn’t get paid by the article, he gets paid by the amount of douchebag comments.
    Looks like he made his quota.

  • KFunk

    I disagree with the conclusion that there’s no one worth a 1st or 2nd in this draft:

    “Why are none of the Top 4 quarterbacks worth it for the Browns? There is a reason why there isn’t a consensus top quarterback in the 2016 draft class.”

    The FO doesn’t get paid to follow consensus. The less-informed fans don’t need to make the pick(s), the FO does. It’s their job to identify the best QB in this draft, and get him. There will most likely be at least one playoff-caliber QB in this draft, and it’s the Browns’ FO job to draft him. It’s that simple. I find it hard to believe that, surrounded by the right talent (OL, D, WRs, etc), NONE of these guys is Andy Dalton-caliber. One great example: There wasn’t consensus on Derek Carr.

    The Browns have four 1st-2nd round picks, and they better use one on a QB

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  • Jaker

    I disagree with a lot of this. While your logic is all there, and the concerns are real, we need to play this draft out and determine when the risk is worth it. I agree that the best thing for this team would be to go BPA through 33 picks, then start plugging up spots with the value that’s in the mid rounds, like Safety, Cornerback & Tight End.

    I’m not gunna write off QB just yet, although when push comes to shove, I know there will likely be better picks come draft time.

    Brock is also on the roster and waaaay taller than 6’1.

  • mgbode
  • mgbode

    And we still couldn’t get a call!