Usually, the Browns reserve crushing disappointments for during the season. This year, it looks like Christmas came early for the masochists out there. I'm not here to mourn the loss of our favorite draft prospect, however. What's done is done. I'm here to inject a little optimism into the situation, because I think we all need it. Let's see what I can come up with.
First, let's look at what we already have. One of the top reasons we wanted a new QB was because the NFL is a passing league now. Well we may not be able to sling it around just yet, but we do have the antidote to that poison. We have one of the best pass defenses in the league. One could argue this was due to the low number of attempts, but the rate stats bear out that conclusion as well. We also have an exciting young pass rusher in Jabaal Sheard and some guys who can get pressure up the middle in Phil Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin.
We also have one of the best mike linebackers in the game in DQ. He also just signed a long term deal to stay here, proving that Cleveland can hang onto valuable free agents. We still have a guy named Joe Haden manning one of the corner spots, and we should be getting TJ Ward back next year to lay the wood on anyone who dares to enter his space. Out defense is full of young, standout players, who are only going to get better. Ben Roethlisberger may not have fake any injuries next year, I'm sure we can provide real ones.
On the offensive side, we need work, I won't sugar coat that. Our running back situation is up in the air, and outside of Greg Little and possibly Jordan Norwood we don't have any receivers worth their weight in cow feces. Ben Watson isn't getting and younger, and might not be as useful in this offense anyway.
What we do have is the best LT in football and a pro bowl caliber center. Those are the two most important position on the line and we're set there for years and years. We have at least one guard who looks like he can develop into a solid starter in Jason Pinkston, and should be getting a boost from the return of Steinbach. Our line is pretty good.
Those skill positions are going to need work though. Good thing we have three picks in the top 37 this year. We already know Justin Blackmon looks good in orange, let's see how he looks in brown. Maybe Trent Richardson slips to 22 or even 37. Lamar Miller or Chris Polk would look good in the backfield. I even hear LaMichael James is getting over his crack problem*. Kendall Wright would look good on the outside, maybe TRSS will rejoin us if we draft Michael Floyd. We won't draft all these guys and we may not draft all of them, the point is playmakers are there for the taking, and we've got a lot of opportunities to take them.
This still leaves us with a crappy QB situation. I do not think Colt McCoy is a good NFL quarterback. I hate Seneca Wallace. We just missed out on our top QB target in this draft. All is lost, right? Wrong. I'm in a good mood because I just started spring break, time to rationalize this. Sure, the top of the first round is the easiest place to find a QB with a reasonable chance of success. It's not the only place, however. Aaron Rodgers was drafted in the 20s. Drew Brees went at the start of the second round, and later was available as a free agent. The Texans were able to trade for Matt Shaub. Maybe we sign Matt Flynn and he pans out. Maybe we trade into the teens and take Tannehill, who proves us wrong and turns into a good QB. Maybe we grab Weedon in the second or third and ride him to five or six years of success. Heck, maybe we trade for Kevin Kolb and he turns it around in an offense he's used to.
I admit, none of those scenarios are as likely as RG3 turning into a franchise quarterback. But we missed that chance, and I am done crying about it. It's no fun being a fan of a team you don't think has a chance to be good, so I'm going to feel good about these alternatives until I don't have a choice in the matter. We've still got buckets of draft picks and tons of cap space. It's March. It's time for a little unwarranted optimism.