When the Cleveland Browns selected Brandon Weeden in the 2012 NFL draft, every Browns fan could have set up the old poker table and rolled the dice to prove a point. Weeden was a gamble from the moment he was selected. Fans may have once defended him saying his age would bring a sense a maturity and leadership to the Browns along with his cannon arm. Former Browns QB Colt McCoy didn’t have the necessary arm strength for a starting quarterback.
Weeden has been ineffective this season and while he torched Buffalo in the second half of the Browns second victory of the year, he has few shining moments. In fact, Weeden would love to invent the time machine so he can go back to avoid throwing the costly interception against Detroit that made any other folly this season look forgiving.
Jason Campbell is great to have as a veteran backup but let’s be honest; he is not Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. He could get the job done even against an undefeated Kansas City team which Campbell is 2-1 against all time. However, we cannot likely keep him as the starter for the next 3 years. The Browns must build for the immediate and long term future. The Browns typically put more emphasis on the long term but the next draft could change that perception. Here are the likely candidates to dethrone Weeden next year.
Brian Hoyer was phenomenal as a starter but the ACL tear changed the dynamics of the Browns quarterback situation.
Marcus Mariota- Talented and not a shrimp
While Manziell is living in the spot light the Browns fans shined on him, Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota possesses both the sharp skill set and physical makeup that is required in the AFC North. A smaller frame quarterback may not warrant as much attention unless he plays like Russell Wilson or Drew Brees. Smaller frame quarterbacks can still be successful like Brees and Wilson but it may be better to play it safe. Mariota is 6-4, 212 pounds and is likely he is the Browns top or second best candidate for the starting gig next year. So far this season, he passed for 2,051 yards and 19 touchdowns. Passing up on Mariota is like passing up on Robert Griffen III or Andrew Luck.
Mariota and the Ducks average 57. 571 points per game this season.
There is no guarantee that Marietta will be in the draft but is likely. He will be battle tested this weekend against UCLA and against Stanford later this season.
Johnny Manziel- Small but impressive
Texas A/M quarterback Johnny Manziel is the most battle tested of the top dog quarterbacks that you’ll see in the 2014 draft. He passed for 2,289 yards and 18 touchdowns. He is torching teams in what is typically noted as the toughest conference in NCAA Football, the S.E.C. Can it be logical to flat out ignore his small frame for big play potential and wins? Just look at Brees and Wilson to form an opinion on this.
Teddy Bridgewater- The touchdown machine
Does any quarterback have more touchdowns than Mariota? Louisville Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has 20 end zone scores. With 2,213 passing yards and 20 touchdowns, Bridgewater brings a lot of value to the table and the Browns will be wise to consider picking him.
Other names to look at:
The best thing about Clemson Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd is that he learned from two seasons of throwing more than 10 interceptions. He only threw 4 interceptions this year. His quarterback rating of 156.6 is more than enough to put the Browns on top if he can keep the momentum going in the N.F.L. In fact, Boyd finished every season with a quarterback rating over 100. He could very well have first round value.
Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron only passed for 1,587 yards and 14 touchdowns. While that doesn’t look impressive when comparing these stats to “The Big 3”, McCarron has the right physical intangibles needed at quarterback. He is 6’4, 214 pounds. He proved he can shred top defenses. Just ask last year’s Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Give up the right weapons and he’ll show you how impressive his decision making is. He will need to pad the stat sheet to get first round consideration from the Browns.