A snake draft predicting 2018’s Cleveland Browns starting QB

Turkey. Stuffing. Mashed potatoes. We all have our own family Thanksgiving traditions. For many families, that involves casually watching some NFL football throughout the day. And for two families in Akron, it now involves talking about the future of the Cleveland Browns.

For the third straight year, my brothers Adam and Sam Rosen, plus their friends Nick and Zak Perge, did their infamous snake draft for the next season’s Week 1 Browns starting quarterback. Yes, you read that right. On Thanksgiving evening, after hours of engorging themselves in front of their loved ones, these four hooligans meet up in person and, in order, guess who may be the top Browns QB in another nine-and-a-half months.

The basics of how it works: The order of the four contestants is randomized. And then they start naming possible quarterback names in snake draft-fashion around and back again. It’s as simple as that. In 2015, the draft went nine rounds, simply as a new fun idea. In 2016, the draft went 11 rounds and picked up momentum. Due to increased anticipation and continued uncertainty over the future of the Browns offense, the draft length was increased to 18 rounds in 2017.

Some history on how it’s gone down: In 2015, the eventual 2016 Week 1 starter Robert Griffin III was pick No. 23 by Nick. In 2016, the eventual 2017 Week 1 starter DeShone Kizer was pick No. 7 by Nick. In both instances, neither QB was anywhere close to the Browns active roster during the previous Thanksgiving. That’s what leads to the intrigue over every possible pick in the snake draft. Nearly every single NFL signal-caller and draft-eligible college passer is on the table.

Will Nick get the right pick again in 2017-heading-into-2018? What odds do the three current quarterbacks on the Browns roster — DeShone Kizer, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan — have of securing the Week 1 starting gig? Which veterans and rookies are hot on the radar? Without further ado, here are the results of their draft from last Thursday night (rounded-age listed as of early September 2018):

Round 1:

  1. Nick – DeShone Kizer, Starter, Cleveland Browns (22.7)
  2. Adam – Josh Rosen, Junior, UCLA (21.6)
  3. Sam – Kirk Cousins, Starter, Washington Redskins (30)
  4. Zak – Sam Darnold, Redshirt Sophomore, USC (21.2)

Round 2:

  1. Zak – Lamar Jackson, Junior, Louisville (21.6)
  2. Sam – Tyrod Taylor, Starter, Buffalo Bills (29.1)
  3. Adam – A.J. McCarron, Backup, Cincinnati Bengals (28)
  4. Nick – Josh Allen, Junior, Wyoming (22.3)

Round 3:

  1. Nick – Case Keenum, Starter, Minnesota Vikings (30.5)
  2. Adam – Baker Mayfield, Redshirt Senior, Oklahoma (23.4)
  3. Sam – Andrew Luck, Injured, Indianapolis Colts (29)
  4. Zak – Ryan Finley, Redshirt Junior, North Carolina State (23.7)

Round 4:

  1. Zak – Nick Foles, Backup, Philadelphia Eagles (29.6)
  2. Sam – Sam Bradford, Injured, Minnesota Vikings (30.8)
  3. Adam – Teddy Bridgewater, Backup, Minnesota Vikings (25.8)
  4. Nick – Mike Glennon, Backup, Chicago Bears (28.7)

Round 5:

  1. Nick – Chad Henne, Backup, Jacksonville Jaguars (33.2)
  2. Adam – Drew Brees, Starter, New Orleans Saints (39.6)
  3. Sam – Blaine Gabbert, Starter, Arizona Cardinals (28.9)
  4. Zak – Jameis Winston, Injured, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (24.7)

Round 6:

  1. Zak – Cody Kessler, Backup, Cleveland Browns (25.3)
  2. Sam – Jacoby Brissett, Starter, Indianapolis Colts (24.7)
  3. Adam – Alex Smith, Starter, Kansas City Chiefs (34.3)
  4. Nick – EJ Manuel, Backup, Oakland Raiders (28.5)

Round 7:

  1. Nick – Geno Smith, Backup, New York Giants (27.9)
  2. Adam – J.T. Barrett, Redshirt Senior, Ohio State (23.6)
  3. Sam – Ryan Tannehill, Injured, Miami Dolphins (30.1)
  4. Zak – Drew Stanton, Backup, Arizona Cardinals (34.3)

Round 8:

  1. Zak – Kevin Hogan, Backup, Cleveland Browns (25.9)
  2. Sam – Blake Bortles, Starter, Jacksonville Jaguars (26.3)
  3. Adam – Mason Rudolph, Senior, Oklahoma State (23.1)
  4. Nick – Landry Jones, Backup, Pittsburgh Steelers (29.4)

Round 9:

  1. Nick – Cardale Jones, Backup, Los Angeles Chargers (25.9)
  2. Adam – Matthew Stafford, Starter, Detroit Lions (30.6)
  3. Sam – Trevor Siemian, Starter, Denver Broncos (26.7)
  4. Zak – Jake Browning, Junior, Washington (22.4)

Round 10:

  1. Zak – Clayton Thorson, Redshirt Junior, Northwestern (23.2)
  2. Sam – C.J. Beathard, Starter, San Francisco 49ers (24.8)
  3. Adam – Luke Falk, Redshirt Senior, Washington State (23.7)
  4. Nick – Andy Dalton, Starter, Cincinnati Bengals (30.8)

Round 11:

  1. Nick – Brett Hundley, Starter, Green Bay Packers (25.2)
  2. Adam – Jay Cutler, Injured, Miami Dolphins (35.3)
  3. Sam – Eli Manning, Starter, New York Giants (37.7)
  4. Zak – Joe Flacco, Starter, Baltimore Ravens (33.6)

Round 12:

  1. Zak – Michael Vick, NFL Free Agent (Last Played in 2015) (38.2)
  2. Sam – Joshua Dobbs, Backup, Pittsburgh Steelers (23.6)
  3. Adam – Ryan Fitzpatrick, Starter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (35.8)
  4. Nick – Philip Rivers, Starter, Los Angeles Chargers (36.7)

Round 13:

  1. Nick – T.J. Yates, Backup, Houston Texans (31.3)
  2. Adam – Derek Anderson, Backup, Carolina Panthers (35.2)
  3. Sam – Paxton Lynch, Injured, Denver Broncos (24.6)
  4. Zak – Riley Ferguson, Redshirt Senior, Memphis (23.6)

Round 14:

  1. Zak – Will Grier, Redshirt Junior, West Virginia (23.4)
  2. Sam – Colin Kaepernick, NFL Free Agent (Last Played in 2016) (30.8)
  3. Adam – Jimmy Garoppolo, Backup, San Francisco 49ers (26.8)
  4. Nick – Brian Hoyer, Backup, New England Patriots (32.9)

Round 15:

  1. Nick – Davis Webb, Backup, New York Giants (23.6)
  2. Adam – Carson Palmer, Injured, Arizona Cardinals (38.7)
  3. Sam – Nathan Peterman, Backup, Buffalo Bills (24.3)
  4. Zak – Christian Hackenberg, Backup, New York Jets (23.5)

Round 16:

  1. Zak – Bryce Petty, Backup, New York Jets (27.3)
  2. Sam – Tony Romo, NFL Free Agent (Last Played in 2016) (38.4)
  3. Adam – Jarrett Stidham, Redshirt Sophomore, Auburn (22.1)
  4. Nick – Matt Barkley, Backup, Arizona Cardinals (28)

Round 17:

  1. Nick – Mark Sanchez, Backup, Chicago Bears (31.8)
  2. Adam – Brock Osweiler, Backup, Denver Broncos (27.8)
  3. Sam – Connor Cook, Backup, Oakland Raiders (25.6)
  4. Zak – Josh McCown, Starter, New York Jets (39.2)

Round 18:

  1. Zak – Curtis Painter, NFL Free Agent (Last Played in 2013) (33.2)
  2. Sam – Johnny Manziel, NFL Free Agent (Last Played in 2015) (25.7)
  3. Adam – Kenny Hill, Redshirt Senior, TCU (23.7)
  4. Nick – Sean Mannion, Backup, Los Angeles Rams (26.4)

Top 16 undrafted players, according to Jacob: Matt Moore; Tom Savage; Patrick Mahomes II; Brandon Allen; Chase Daniel; Ryan Mallett; Kellen Clemens; Matt Cassel; Scott Tolzien; Austin Davis; Brandon Weeden; Colt McCoy; Jeff Driskel; Chase Litton; Nick Fitzgerald; and Drew Lock.

That leaves 11 untouchtable current starting QBs: Matt Ryan; Cam Newton, Mitchell Trubisky; Dak Prescott; Jared Goff; Tom Brady; Derek Carr; Carson Wentz; Ben Roethlisberger; Russell Wilson; and Marcus Mariota.

Jacob’s comments: Before getting into everyone’s reactions and riffs on each other, I just wanted to share how impressive the draft was. It definitely lived up to the hype in the third season. There were only a few wasted picks (Vick, Romo, Painter, Manziel) and altogether I was impressed by how well everyone kept it together for 18 rounds.

I think Adam is my clear favorite to win the bragging rights based on the strength of his top picks (Rosen, McCarron, Mayfield) and late sleepers. Zak and Adam each took seven rookies, while Nick and Sam only selected one combined. Kessler and Hogan fell way too late. I think Matt Moore should’ve probably been picked in the middle rounds somewhere – probably instead of J.T. Barrett at all – so that’s the biggest glaring flaw in the draft. But all things considered, I thought everyone did an admirable job.

Nick’s comments: I’d like to start by saying this is one of the most perverted, depraved, and overall depressing activities in which I participate. When I was a kid I would obsess over the Browns. After years of losing I came to obsess over the draft, fantasizing about which college standout would soon be in an orange and brown uniform. Now I obsess over which backup or doomed college QB is going to be the next name on the ever-growing list on the back of a novelty T-shirt. We thought about doing this same thing with coaches but I don’t think I could make it through that without hurting myself or others (god, how high would Kirk Ferentz have gone?)

As far as the draft goes, it’s like fantasy. I think my team is always the best. That said, Adam has McCarron, Alex Smith, Fitzpatrick, and Bridgewater, and they could have really all been first/second-round selections.

As always, the QB could not even be on this list, in which case may god have mercy on our souls.

Zak’s comments: This draft was particularly difficult as you have to assume everyone will be fired, leaving us with no clue who is making these decisions. I have a new lease on life after the Schiano scare that almost stole him from the Browns. In terms of the draft, I went heavy on rookies as I feel the misses on Wentz, Watson, Carr, etc. will have ownership pushing for the top QB in the draft. Darnold and Jackson provide a range of QB styles depending on who is running the offense. I found an odd amount of mock drafts with some guy named Finley going No. 1, so I took him.

Jameis seems like someone Tampa could get tired of and we offer both picks for him, ditto for a Flacco to a lesser extent. I didn’t get him, but I’d put Luck in that camp, too. I can see Kizer quitting football after this year, so having Big Kess and Hogan on my squad acting as fluffers for the rookie QB Week 1 could lead to a sneaky win for me.

Sam’s comments: How on earth do the Browns make up for not taking a QB in the last two drafts? By spending big to get one on the open market. By trade or free agency, the Browns have the capital to go out and acquire the QB of the future (maybe). Make Kirk Cousins the richest QB in NFL history? Sure. Trade some picks to the Bills for the oft-benched Tyrod Taylor? Why not. Sell the farm and our collective soul for Andrew Luck? Count me in.

I don’t know who or how, but the Browns will be making a splash this offseason for a quarterback. They won’t risk a rookie not being any good or ready for 2018, and we know the QB is most definitely not on the current roster. I took as many competent veteran QBs as possible after my Big Three just so I could account for the Browns botching a draft-day trade after the clock expires on the No. 1 overall pick and we have to watch Josh Rosen win a hundred Super Bowls for the New York Giants. Also, Johnny in the 18th-round feels like a steal. Everyone loves a good comeback story.

Adam’s comments: Going into the draft I had one thing on my mind: Rosen. Ever since I heard of the prodigy from California with the nickname “Chosen Rosen,” I knew it was destiny. Now I’m betting on the Browns taking him No. 1 overall and wearing his jersey long after he flames out in the league. A few years from now when people look at me in disgust at the latest wasted draft pick on my back, I can at least tell them my own last name is Rosen.

My other picks are a product of extremely productive college QBs (Baker Mayfield, J.T. Barrett, Mason Rudolph and Kenny Hill) and veterans either linked to the Browns (AJ McCarron) or dark-horse free agents (Brees, Stafford). Maybe we go for buyer’s remorse and sign Teddy Bridgewater? Maybe Alex Smith is tossed in KC? Either way, I think my draft graded out pretty high.

Of course, this entire exercise depends on all the other offseason shenanigans that the Browns get into. Owner, front office, coach … none are for sure going into next year. Hell, even Joe Thomas hasn’t committed to coming back. At the very least, I’m not sure how a coach with one win over two seasons comes back. However (this is where I get crazy), I smell some wins coming on. With Kizer gaining confidence and Gordon reinserted into the offense, Hue could save himself over the last month of the season. Kizer is still the pick to beat.