Howzit Dawgs By Nature Nation? I'm one of the new writers here at DBN and I'm officially off the leash. I am stoked to start bringing you weekly pieces and takes focused around Browns news; my own draft analysis and player breakdowns; some film breakdown; and a fair share of daily links, articles and posts from the twitter-verse that are relevant to the Browns. You can follow me on Twitter @Mike Krupka. Well I'm drooling, so let's get started with a rabid QB discussion.
Mel Kiper is among the most tapped-in analysts when is comes to knowing NFL draft rooms. He knows the needs and targets of many NFL teams and has a seemingly endless supply of intel on players. That being said, he mentioned this on Wednesday during a teleconference with Dan Kadar:
"There's a possibility Weeden could have been the first QB taken this year. There's no QB that screams out to me, take me"
And yesterday on NFL Live, Chris Mortensen said the Alex Smith to Cleveland option / rumor was a 'long shot'. To that, Mr. Mortensen, I say ‘please and thank you’.
We don’t need to break the bank on a game manger like Alex Smith when most teams know he'll probably be cut soon and available at a discount. And we don't need to be trading away draft picks for unproven guys like Ryan Mallet. Jimmy Haslam said we won't be active in making "big splash" type moves in FA and that we'll focus on building the team primarily through the draft. Although I would love to steal him from the Ravens, this tells me that Flacco isn't in our plans.
So that leaves the QB situation in Cleveland up in the air, again.
What's new, right?
From the top down, the Browns have failed to publicly endorse Brandon Weeden. Many perceive this non-endearing stance as their indictment of Weeden’s abilities. The front office has, however, publically stated that there will be a competition. I may be in the minority but I don’t think this noncommittal stance is a bad thing. I do feel that drafting a QB early or spending big in FA would be.
I’ll suggest that by "including" the Browns in the pool of QB thirsty teams like the Jets, Cowboys and Bills, among others, that Banner and company have positioned themselves as potential trade partners should we just so happen to be targeting one of "their guys". I mean after all, everyone knows we are looking for a QB, right?
For the record, to answer my own question above, yes, we are definitely searching for our franchise QB. That doesn’t mean it has to be this year, though, whether it be through the draft or through FA. I have spent plenty of time analyzing film from this years QB draft class and I agree with Kiper -- I don't think there is a guy in this year’s draft that is a clear-cut franchise QB. Is Weeden better than Geno, Nassib, Glennon or Barkley? I think that’s a tough debate, but what’s easy to wrap your head around is the fact that the 2014 draft will be stock piled with QB’s who are head and shoulders above this year’s talent and Brandon Weeden.
Focus on this year’s defense-deep draft
Mr. Lombardi (I mean Mr. Banner). Even though we're in good shape for the switch to the 3-4, there are too many holes to address on defense (OLB, CB, S, NT/DE) and we already have a first-round QB on the roster who has the tools to be successful in the vertical offense. Let's build through the draft, let's supplement the youth by adding a few obtainable pieces in FA like Toler, Lewis, Schwartz or Groves, and let's focus on allowing our new coaching staff time to work with Brandon Weeden before going all in for our franchise guy in 2014.