When is the last time that the Cleveland Browns have not avoided going all out to get a quarterback? They have had numerous opportunities to draft quality quarterbacks over the years that they have routinely passed up on. In the past two years alone, they looked over Deshaun Watson and Carson Wentz. They famously passed over Ben Roethlisberger 14 years ago.
When they have taken quarterbacks in the first round, it has come in years in which they had multiple picks in the round, and it came later. In fact, it always came with the 22nd pick. First it was Brady Quinn. Then it was Brandon Weeden. Then it was Johnny Manziel.
They tried with Tim Couch back in 1999 when they returned to the NFL. He wasn’t very good, though by their standards…
So the Browns have made more changes, and now things are going to be different, again, but of course this time it will be different in a good way. And not the actually bad good ways of the past. This good way will be really good, under the watchful eye of new general manager John Dorsey, a respected figure they way Mike Holmgren, who also failed in this role, was.
When brought it, Dorsey did say that finding the Browns a franchise quarterback is their top priority. And, of course, it is, and needs to be. This iteration of the Browns has literally never had a franchise quarterback. Ever. And the Pittsburgh Steelers have had one for the vast majority of that time—the one that they themselves could have drafted. The one who played his college ball, and grew up in, Ohio, for crissake.
Dorsey recently said that all options are still on the table, and that the Browns could conceivable both acquire a veteran quarterback via free agency or trade and still draft a quarterback with top pick that they own in the draft.
There are some big names that are scheduled to be free agents, though some of them will inevitably be signed before they get to that point. The latter group figures to include Drew Brees, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Kirk Cousins. Others like Sam Bradford and Case Keenum would be in play. Alex Smith might be a trade option.
“I think all of those things are on the table”, head coach Hue Jackson said this past week during the Senior Bowl. “I think you discuss all of those things and you work through all of those things as you go through this”.
Jackson and Dorsey both believe that there are four or five quarterbacks coming out of the draft this year that could be in consideration for the top pick. Those names figure to be Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, and Baker Mayfield. Maybe Lamar Jackson to get to five.
With the Browns holding two of the top five picks, it’s hard to imagine that one of these names will not be in Cleveland next year. But the Browns have a way of surprising you. In the bad way. Well, bad if you root for them.