At 0-13, and three more games remaining in an otherwise unmerciful season, one thing that is clear is that the Cleveland Browns need a franchise quarterback.
For those of you who know me, and have read my many blogs on this matter is that while I am a huge proponent of rookie QB Cody Kessler, and that Cleveland needs to address the defensive and offensive lines before tabbing a quarterback.
If I may be blunt, I honestly feel that the Browns have been too cute for too long in trying to outsmart the league in avoiding the game’s most important position.
As of this writing, Cleveland owns the top overall pick and the ninth overall via the Philadelphia Eagles. And with the likelihood of the Browns going winless and a chance of the Eagles losing their three last remaining games against playoff contenders in the Baltimore ravens, New York Giants and NFC-leading Dallas Cowboys, that there exists the real possibility of Cleveland owning two top-five picks in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft.
Among the many needs for the Cleveland Browns besides the obvious such as defensive and offensive line, edge rusher and defensive back is quarterback. Where have we heard “Cleveland needs to take a QB’ narrative one too many for last two-plus decades since Cleveland was resurrected from the annals of the NFL dustbin in 1999 following the defection of the original–i.e; real–Browns to Baltimore as the rebranded Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland has failed to properly identify it’s franchise savior.
Tim Couch, Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden and most recently the NFL’s most spectacular flaming bust this side of Ryan Leaf in “Billy Vegas” a.k.a. Johnny Manziel, are shining examples of the Browns solid history of drafting quarterbacks.
Whether or not it is a reason why they seem risk adverse in selecting a QB in the first round again may–or may not be the case–but after seeing the success of QB’s that they famously passed on in Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr and Dak Prescott are painful reminders of what could have been.
Again, hindsight is 20-20 and there is no way of knowing how well the aforementioned QB’s would pan out, but it just shows how gun-shy Cleveland is at taking a QB. Look no further than to the Philadelphia Eagles’ rookie phenom in Carson Wentz–who torched the Browns–in his NFL debut as exhibit 101 in why you don’t pass on a potential franchise quarterback.
While there are some who feel that this upcoming QB class is not as strong as year’s past, there is the distinct possibility of the Browns targeting two Ohio-born signal-callers in Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer of Toledo Central Catholic and Mitch Trubisky of Mentor High School.
There are some who feel that the Browns should pass on a QB not only i the first round, but in the entire draft, and some mocks suggest, but if the downtrodden hard-luck Browns hope to reignite their passionate fan base pulling the trigger on an Ohio-born kid such as Kizer or Trubisky would be a great start.
It’s galling enough that the Browns are constantly reminded of seeing the Findlay-born Big Ben dominating Cleveland in going 21-2 all-time vs. Cleveland and two Super Bowl titles, but the thought of NOT taking a possible savior will cause an outright riot in Cleveland. Since the days of Boardman, Ohio-born civic icon Bernie Kosar of the late 80’s and early 90’s, Cleveland has been searching for a savior under center.
And in the 20-plus volunteers for the most dangerous job in America can attest, being the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns can be hazardous to your health and a NFL career-ender.
So why would the Mentor-born Trubisky be different?
At a healthy 6’3 and a solid 220 pounds, Trubisky has the perfect AFC North-type of body to withstand the physical beating he will likely take against Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Baltimore. And at being taller and bigger than the injury-prone and very frail Robert Griffin III and the recently concussed Kessler, Trubisky has more upside and a higher ceiling than both.
With quality NFL arm strength and mobility, Trubisky is mobile and nimble enough to move around in the pocket and put enough velocity on deep throws downfield. It also helps that since he is from Cleveland, that he knows of the harsh elements that he will likely face at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Some may question his one year as a college quarterback in passing for close to 3,500 yards (3,468), 28 touchdowns and four interceptions, but that still didn’t stop the Eagles from taking a quarterback who was from North Dakota State right?
Bottom line is that the Browns need to stop overthinking things, psyching themselves out and trying to find bargains in trading down. For the first time in a long time, the Browns are in prime position to dramatically improve themselves at QB and in other areas of need in the draft.
With four picks in the top 50 and an estimated $50 million in cap space this coming off-season, Cleveland has a chance to upgrade themselves, whether it is Trubisky, Kizer, Deshaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes II, the Browns need to go all in on a QB in the first round.
Whether that quarterback is Trubisky or not, the Browns owe it to themselves to at least pull the trigger and find out for themselves.