If you ask most fans of the Cleveland Browns who the quarterback of the future is, they will tell you the Browns already have their man in second year QB Colt McCoy.
However, the national media continues to question that choice.
Just this week, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay did a mock draft for the 2012 selections and had the Browns picking first and selecting Stanford signal caller Andrew Luck, son of former NFL QB and St. Ignatius star Oliver Luck.
This presumes two things. First, Cleveland is going to have a horrible season, like 2-14, because that is how you obtain the first overall pick. If that happens, GM Tom Heckert would probably be looking for a new starting quarterback, because if the team has that record, you can be certain that McCoy stunk out the joint.
It also presumes that McCoy cannot be an effective starting QB in the NFL and the reason the Browns would have that record is that their offense played horribly.
Another ESPN analyst, John Clayton speculated that the Browns might still be interested in trading for Eagles’ reserve quarterback Kevin Kolb as soon as the league’s labor problems are worked out. That despite the fact that their statistics are pretty similar.
McCoy completed 60.8% of his 222 passes in his rookie season, with 6 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Six of those picks occurred in his last two starts against a couple of pretty fair defenses: Baltimore and Pittsburgh.
Kolb has hit on 60.8% of his 319 throws in his four-year career, the bulk coming in the last two seasons, with 11 TD’s and 14 picks. Kolb threw five of those interceptions in his last two starts last year, against Tennessee and Dallas.
Kolb does have an edge in yards per attempt for his career at 6.53 compared to McCoy’s 5.82, although you have to remember that the latter played in the Eric Mangini stone age offense, particularly at the end of the season.
The wrap on McCoy is his arm strength, but the opinion here is that is overrated by people who evaluate passers. More important is the ability to read defenses and the ability to lead teammates. There is no question the former Longhorn is a leader. Even the veterans on the Browns acknowledge that the kid is a guy everybody wants to play for.
Remember the drive against the Jets to tie the game in regulation? McCoy showed he had a strong enough arm to complete a pass to Evan Moore, who was closely guarded by perhaps the best cornerback in football in Darrelle Revis. The youngster fired it in a place where only Moore could catch it.
As for reading defenses, Colt showed signs that he will be fine in that area as well, although he has plenty of room for growth. Remember, that even Peyton Manning struggled in his rookie season, not to compare McCoy with a future hall of famer, but with more exposure to NFL defensive schemes, he will learn.
Browns’ team president Mike Holmgren has been around the NFL for a long time and has been around passers like Joe Montana, Steve Young, and Brett Favre. If he doesn’t think McCoy is the real deal, then he’s doing a great job fooling everyone.
He didn’t even draft another quarterback in the late rounds this season, something he usually does.
With the west coast offense installed this season, we will see a better, more efficient passing attack. This should play into the strengths of the second year player’s game.
The Cleveland Browns are still not where they want to be, but unless they have a rash of injuries to key players, they won’t be 2-14 this season, and they aren’t looking for a quarterback either.