Some of our more "mature" readers might remember the comedy movie Airplane. One scene in the film features a stewardess handing out reading material to the passengers. An elderly passenger asks, "Do you have anything light?" The stewardess replies, "How about this leaflet, famous Jewish sports legends?" And then hands her a piece of paper the size of a post-it note (queue the laughter). If the theme of the exchange had been more football-oriented, the stewardess might have handed the passenger an even smaller leaflet entitled "Successful short, weak-armed NFL quarterbacks."
I don't think any sports pundit, prognosticator or draft expert has the Browns going anywhere near a quarterback with their first or, for that matter, any draft pick. Yes, it is a pretty crazy idea but if you've read this far you may just have a nagging doubt in your mind about "the kid from Texas". So do I.
I like Colt McCoy. He is smart, hard working, level-headed, humble, and a proven winner. So why am I writing an article suggesting that the Browns replace McCoy with someone else? Though it pains me to say this, I think the chances of him becoming a franchise quarterback in the AFC north are very slim. If he does it will be the biggest exception to the rule since Chad Ochocinco became a world-class soccer player... oh wait, that didn't happen did it.
Colt has shown flashes of brilliance and was the source of some of the best moments of last year's season. But when you look closely at the overall performance across all games it is definitely mediocre bordering on awful. If you compare his performance statistics to Seneca Wallace (playing with the same teammates) they are almost identical and I doubt anyone would suggest that the Browns go with Wallace next year.
So why do so many wish to put the Browns season next year in the hands of the kid from Austin? I think most people would give Colt more time based on two factors: he didn't have good players around him and he was in his rookie season. Others might think we haven't seen enough to definitely call him a bust. Even if you agree with all this and I do, it is difficult to hitch your cart to McCoy's horse. Look at other quarterbacks in the AFC north: Palmer 6-5 236 lbs, strong arm, Roethlisberger 6-5 241 lbs, cannon arm, Flacco 6-6 238 lbs, a powerful thrower. All of these teams arguably have franchise QB's and have not been on the QB merry-go-round like the Browns. All have been more competitive than the Browns within the last few years to the point of making the post season all the way to winning the Superbowl. The Browns play most of their games in the windy, cold and snowy north. As much as we'd like to we can't pretend we are in Tampa Bay or inside of a dome. There is a reason why big, strong-armed quarterbacks do well in the AFC north, and for that matter, in the rest of the league.
Realistically, I can't see the Browns picking a quarterback with the first pick. This would be the shocker of the draft if it were to happen. Needs aside, I do not think the best players in this year's draft are quarterbacks. We have Holmgren's statement that he will pick a quarterback in the draft and most assume that will be later, probably after the 3rd round. If that is a smoke screen, there is one quarterback that makes a lot of sense for the AFC north that could be had with the Browns second pick and that man is Ryan Mallet. Mallet has the size and the arm strength that seem to be requisite for the north and he can make all the throws. With Mallet the Browns could run a stretched west coast offense much like that of the Packers. Reading back through this, it seems like panic and madness. I wouldn't mind at all if someone could talk me out of it but right now, I think the Browns are still on the QB merry-go-round.
Browns Need Gauge: Half-Full (and our backup is 5-11)
Potential picks: Blaine Gabbert, Cameron Newton, Ryan Mallet, Colin Kaepernick, Jake Locker
Epilogue: When thinking about another team with definite quarterback needs one can't help looking at the Carolina Panthers. Clausen has been pretty disastrous, bottoming out on almost every statistical measure. Considering their plight, it is difficult to see how picking a quarterback in this year's draft is a good solution. All of the quarterbacks this year are in need of development and inserting one directly into play, especially when there is likely to be a greatly shortened practice season, is likely to produce a bad result. There are a lot of similarities with the Browns. So what can the Browns do to make next year a building year and jump off the quarterback merry-go-round? The answer may be to trade the 6th pick for Kevin Kolb. There are several compelling reasons for this. Kolb is no longer a rookie. He and Shurmur have worked together and Kolb knows his system and probably even the terminology. With Kolb, the Browns could keep McCoy as a backup and jettison Wallace which is a double upgrade at the QB position. New coaches often make these kinds of changes. If this were to occur, would you sell your season tickets or sleep more soundly?