If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Or if you are the Cleveland Browns, try, try, try and try again. In 2012, when the Cleveland Browns decided to draft a quarterback in the first round, many Cleveland fans must have thought to themselves, “thank God”… but they drafted a 28-year-old out of college in the first round. It was easy to see why the Browns chose to take a chance on Brandon Weeden out of Oklahoma State because there have been many success stories of aging college quarterbacks to enter the NFL- who could forget Chris Weinke out of Florida State or the elusive “Arm of the Armadillos” Paul Blake out of Texas State (fictional). Nevertheless, after the 2014 campaign the Cleveland Browns are looking for a quarterback yet again after cutting ties with Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell.
It is hard to imagine why the Browns decided to draft a 28-year-old quarterback in the first round, but in a draft class filled with such “weak” quarterback prospects like Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, Nick Foles, Russell Wilson, and Kirk Cousins it is a no brainer that the Cleveland Browns would draft the oldest quarterback in the history of the draft in the first round. It must have been Weeden’s experience, poise and “moxy” that would inevitably lead to the Browns not being able to pass on the 28-year-old gun slinger in the very first round of the 2012 draft. As the former Browns Head Coach Pat Shurmur put it, “(we) were impressed with his maturity and production on tape. We became very fond of him.” To be fair, there have been some success stories in the NFL of older players being drafted (RB Mike Anderson of the Broncos comes to mind), but picking a 28-year-old in the first round of the NFL draft in the hopes of bringing your team to the playoffs for the first time since 2002 (when Weeden was first drafted in the MLB) appeared and proved to stretch the limits of faith.
Whether through free agency or through the draft, the Browns have fumbled and stumbled over themselves time and time again looking for an answer to their quarterback woes. So in the 2014 NFL draft, yet again, the Cleveland Browns go searching for a quarterback to lift the team out of their 12 year playoff drought. The quarterback situation in Cleveland- to say the very least- has always been quite abysmal. Just look at the past quarterbacks for the Browns from 2005 on who have met the chopping block: Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn, an aging Jake Delhomme, Colt McCoy, Jason Campbell, and now Brandon Weeden. So the Browns will try again.
This year’s draft though could prove to be the year the Browns nab a future franchise quarterback. Not to say that Brian Hoyer does not have what it takes to lead the Browns to the playoffs, but in a draft filled with potential star quarterbacks, he at least will have some competition for the role. The Browns sit at number four in the 2014 draft and at the spot could see a slew of options to fill their quarterback voids. First on the Browns list appears to be Teddy Bridgewater out of Louisville. Bridgewater is accurate, pro-ready, has good mechanics, and is loaded with the ability to use quick and efficient movements in order to keep defenses constantly guessing with read-option looks. Next on their list would appear to be Blake Bortles out of Central Florida. Bortles, by some scouts, appears to be better than Bridgewater. Bortles, who was first recruited as a Tight End, is massive at 6’5” and 232 lbs., has incredible mobility for his size, and according to scouts high football IQ and coachability rating.
Whoever the Cleveland Browns decide to take with the number four overall pick in the draft, the search for a franchise quarterback could potentially be over. Whether it is Bridgewater, Bortles, or even Johnny Manziel, there are a few more upsides in them in comparison to their previous starter: they are not coming into the draft older than half of the starting quarterbacks in the league and they appear to bring to the table more than just a “rifle” for an arm and a “gun-slinging” mentality. But, this is the Browns we are talking about here. So expect the unexpected and do not be surprised to hear Roger Goodell say this: “With the number four pick in the draft, the Cleveland Browns select… QB Jimmy Garoppolo?”
Satire by Ryne Vyles