As the Cleveland Browns struggles at quarterback continue in a 30-24 overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins, some are beginning to wonder if the franchise will find it’s guy either in the upcoming draft or 2018.
Yes, I’m going to go there on this Monday morning with y’all.
Through three games of this horrendous 0-3 campaign, three things have become abundantly clear:
- The Browns cannot stop the run, or run the ball effectively.
- The Browns cannot block or protect the QB.
- Cleveland lacks playmakers in the secondary opposite Joe Haden and a strong, hard-hitting strong safety and ball-hawking free safety. In a nutshell, they miss Donte Whitner and Tashaun Gipson far more than they realize.
Now, it may be just three games into the season, and maybe way too early to even discuss this. However, what if they decide to pass on projected top-five—and possible—franchise quarterbacks in Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson to fix and upgrade the areas of offensive and defensive line and the secondary instead.
Pass on a good player such as Watson, or possible elite franchise QB in Kizer you say?
Yes. And here’s why?
Outside of Kizer and Watson, the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft does not have a potent sure thing at QB.
While Brad Kaaya from Miami (FL) and Chad Kelly from Ole Miss are considered borderline first to second round talents, no quarterback warrants a possible top overall pick by the Browns, if they do in all likelihood, earn the top overall pick in 2017.
If they do decide to go in a different direction, then ook for Cleveland to address their woes in stopping the run and getting to the quarterback. They can do this by taking the sharp and freakish 6’5 260-pound defensive end Myles Garrett out of Texas A & M.
With their other first-round pick via the Philadelphia Eagles, they can grab either a free-roaming defensive back/linebacker and specialist hybrids, such as Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers, or a run-stuffing tackling machine at inside linebackers, such as Florida’s Jarrad Davis and Ohio State’s Raekwon McMillan.
In the second round, look for the Browns to bulk up their offensive line, and add a complimentary tight end opposite Pro Bowl TE Gary Barnidge or cornerback across from Joe Haden in massive 6’7 309-pound center/guard Ethan Pocic out of LSU or Ohio State’s 6’3 300-pound guard/center Pat Elfein.
With their second pick in the second round—via the Tennessee Titans—look for them to target Alabama’s 6’6 237-pound tight end O.J. Howard, the talented 6’6 248-pound Jake Butt out of Michigan or Clemson’s 6’5 250-pound Jordan Leggett.
Again, this is all theoretical and based on either the Browns front office not being sold on Kizer or Watson as the top overall pick and liking what they see in Kessler enough to warrant a proper look as a future starter going into 2017.
In the event that Kessler doesn’t pan out, despite the bulked up offensive and defensive lines outlined in this hypothetical, then don’t be shocked if the Browns take a gamble on perhaps the gem of the 2018 NFL Draft in current UCLA Bruins sophomore gunslinger in Josh Rosen.
The reason behind this is simple, build the lines first, and THEN take your quarterback.
It is how successful teams such as the hated Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks and even most recently the defending AFC North champion Cincinnati Bengals, and the up-and-coming Oakland Raiders have done it.
Build your lines first so that you can protect and go after the quarterback, THEN grab your potential franchise QB, so you can protect him–such as the beating that Kessler took on Sunday in getting sacked three times and hit over a dozen more.
For years, the Browns have had it bone-headed you-know-what backward regarding taking a QB in the first round and not having a line or weapons to protect him.
Look no further than Tim Couch, for this example and you will see where I’m going with this.
For years, fans have been vocal about Cleveland needing to build up and address the lines.
And every year, year after year, the Browns have seen 26 quarterbacks beaten, battered and bruised thanks to not properly addressing that crucial area.
And for what has been an annual sight year after year, after year, the Browns have been a proverbial turnstile—more like construction cone due to the orange—to opposing runners for their 17-year rebooted expansion existence to go Madden on them.
If there is one franchise that allows its transactions to be dictated and fueled by fan emotion, it is the Cleveland Browns. Make no mistake; Browns fans are vocal, passionate and knowledgeable about NFL football. They have been literally and proverbially screaming for the franchise to find its guy and stop trying to outthink and outwit everyone else in the league.
Because it clearly hasn’t worked.
While it is only three games, but passing on Wentz is already akin to the Browns passing on Ohio native and perennial tormentor in Lima-born and Findlay-raised two-time Super Bowl champion in Ben Roethlisberger.
The list of notable future all-Pros, Super Bowl champions and Hall of Famers that the franchise has passed on is enough to make one cry and go into a deep depression.
I’m just saying.
If this front office decides to get too smart, smug and cute for its own good and pass on Kizer and Watson, and they end up blowing up, then they BETTER go all in and grab Rosen in ‘18
I have to confess that due to living here in Ohio, I have not had many opportunities to watch the highly touted and recruited Rosen on national television. In watching his gutsy performance in UCLA’s 22-13 loss to No.7 Stanford, I came away rather impressed.
In going 18-of-27 for 248 yards and one touchdown, he showed a live arm, quality accuracy, but needs to improve his pocket awareness. But overall, Rosen has that moxie you look for in a prospective franchise QB.
He is taller than I expected at 6’4, but a bit thin at 218 pounds, and would need to bulk up if the Browns were to take him first overall. The advantages that he has over Jared Goff is that he plays in an NFL-style pro offense under former NFL coach in Jim Mora Jr. and has that “it” factor you look for in hype and untapped talent, a QB whisper such as Hue Jackson craves.
Thanks to his steady stat line of 1,165 yards passing, five touchdowns, four interceptions and a completion percentage of 61.6, and Goff being in the NFL now, Rosen can lay claim to possibly being the best quarterback in the entire conference—notwithstanding Washington’s Jake Browning and Washington State’s Luke Falk.
I’m not saying that they will, but if the Cleveland Browns do finally come to a consensus and go another direction and not take a QB in 2017, do not be surprised as Rosen may be the reason why Cleveland decides to punt on take a QB once again in April proverbially.
Should the Browns wait on Rosen in 2018? Hit me up on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC.