The Cleveland Browns have a new owner, a new CEO, a new vice president of player personnel, a new head coach, and new coordinators. It was really a case of out with the old and in with the new.
Here’s hoping the new regime doesn’t do something that the front office’s of the past have done in the recent past. And that is draft another quarterback in the first round of this April’s NFL draft.
This is not an endorsement of Brandon Weeden, Colt McCoy, or even Thad Lewis. Both Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner will make a determination who is the best quarterback to run the offense, but either the Browns have to trade for a veteran who can start, or go with one of the guys currently on the roster.
The Browns have too many other holes on the squad to select another QB with the sixth pick in the draft, particularly when it is their only pick in the first two rounds.
The switch to a 3-4 defensive alignment means new defensive coordinator needs some more linebackers to implement the scheme. Also, the defensive backfield is short of another quality cornerback to pair with Joe Haden.
So, it would be a mistake to pick a quarterback in the first round.
Also, there are no Andrew Lucks or Robert Griffin IIIs in this year’s draft. The best passers available this year are West Virginia’s Geno Smith, USC’s Matt Barkley, and North Carolina State’s Mike Clennon. While all three might be taken in the first round, it would be because of the NFL’s search for possible franchise quarterbacks, not because they are first round talents.
A list of the best players available might list one or two of them in the top 30, and probably none of them would be in the top ten. To pick one draft guru, CBS’ Rob Rang, he has Smith listed as the 11th best player and Barkley next at 17. Those are the only QBs he has listed in the top 30.
That means taking one of those guys at six would be a big time reach, and with a franchise on the brink of playoff contention, it’s not worth the gamble.
No matter what anyone thinks of Weeden, he deserves the right to compete for the job, and in fact, he shouldn’t be handed the gig after a rookie season that didn’t see progress as it went on.
However, it is clear here that the offense ran by Pat Shurmur did not play to Weeden’s strengths, a thought shared by more than one NFL analyst during the season.
If CEO Joe Banner and Michael Lombardi want this team to improve, they need to bring in a guy who has played in the NFL to compete with Weeden, not another guy who hasn’t taken a snap in the pros, and will be learning on the job.
Drafting a player like Luck or Griffin III is one thing, but handing the reins to Geno Smith or Matt Barkley doesn’t seem like the thing to do if you want to get off to a good start next season.
The Cleveland Browns need to add an impact player with the sixth pick this spring, a player who can help now. Hopefully, they won’t be picking this high again for a while.
Letting last year’s high picks on offense (Trent Richardson and Weeden) improve, and helping out a defense that needs an assist in the secondary or in getting to the opposition’s quarterback is the way to help the Browns win in 2013.
Taking another QB isn’t a smart move now.