The NFL draft is less than two weeks away, and once again the rumors are flying that the Cleveland Browns want to move up in the first round to take Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota.
Because the Browns need a quarterback. That’s the local and national narrative.
We’ve changed the scenario just a bit. Really, the Browns need a very good quarterback.
We aren’t sure there is one in this draft, so we would pass.
We’ve said this before, but what the Browns really need is to get two players in the first round that can help this team in the 2015 season, because the two guys they drafted last May didn’t really help them in ’14.
You can’t keep picking projects in the first round of the NFL draft. Your first round selections should be starters in the upcoming season.
This isn’t to say Justin Gilbert and Johhny Manziel can’t and won’t be solid NFL players someday, it is way too early to give up on either player.
But teams simply cannot keep taking players who won’t help them when the regular season starts.
That’s why we wouldn’t take Mariota at all, let alone trade up to get him.
Mariota may be an NFL starter at some point in his career, and for all we know, he might be a Super Bowl winning QB or a Hall of Famer eventually.
However, we don’t think he’s ready to start for a team in week one.
Right now, he’s product of the Oregon system, a quarterback who rarely, if ever took a snap from center, and remember the Ducks’ offense was based on lining up quickly before the defense was ready.
That’s not going to happen in the NFL.
Supporters of getting Mariota say that the Browns shouldn’t shy away from the move simply because it would mean drafting a signal caller in the first time in three of the last four years.
That would be true if we knew for sure that the Oregon QB was “the man”.
Carolina drafted Jimmy Clausen, and the following year, took Cam Newton. The difference is, we don’t think Mariota is Newton, and Clausen started ten games as a rookie.
Manziel played six quarters.
Before dismissing the former Aggie, shouldn’t he get more of an opportunity, particularly since it appears he made a drastic change in his lifestyle?
In today’s Plain Dealer, Terry Pluto referenced a new stat from ESPN to show Mariota’s effectiveness and apparently his proof was that Teddy Bridgewater had a similar number last year.
The response from us is that there is no proof that Bridgewater is a great player. His passer rating was 85.2 and he was 6-6 as a starter.
Andrew Luck’s rating as a rookie was 76, but his record was 11-5.
Robert Griffin III’s passer rating in his first year was over 100, and he was 9-6 as a starter, but we have seen the downturn in his career to this point.
The point is no one is saying Bridgewater is Luck.
Besides, the Browns have other areas that they need to address. Their defense against the run was terrible at best.
They need a game breaking wide receiver. They need a couple more linebackers, they could use another stud offensive lineman so that if an Alex Mack goes down to injury, the unit doesn’t drop to below average.
The point here is if Mariota isn’t a savior, then don’t move up, and resist the temptation to draft him even if he is there at #12 or #19.
Let’s pick up some players who can start when the bell rings on week one.