Part 1 of our training camp preview for the quarterback position focused on the competition between Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel. Today's preview focuses on the competition for the No. 3 role between Tyler Thigpen and Connor Shaw. Although they are competing for a less lucrative roster spot, it's similar to Hoyer vs. Manziel in the sense that it is "veteran vs. rookie." In this case, could it be the rookie who prevails over the veteran?
3. TYLER THIGPEN - VETERAN COMPETING FOR NO. 3 QUARTERBACK SPOT
Besides his name standing out, Thigpen acquired valuable NFL experience in 2008, when he appeared in 14 games with the Chiefs, starting 11 of them. His numbers were fairly respectable, as he finished the season with 18 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. He also showed a great degree of mobility, rushing for 386 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Thigpen never had a chance to build off of that momentum, because in 2009, the Chiefs acquired Matt Cassel from the Patriots and made him their starter. Thigpen was shipped to Miami part-way through the 2009 season, and between there and Buffalo, he was relegated to being a backup through 2012. He did not play for a team in 2013, but was able to beat out Vince Young for a shot to compete in training camp.
Thigpen is the most veteran quarterback on the roster, but I don't think the team is looking for him to be a "mentor," as Hoyer could fulfill that role down the road. Mike Pettine saw how quickly the Bills' quarterback situation went to fourth string last year, so I think he'll want a third quarterback on their roster. Being out of the league for a full year, though, Thigpen is going to need a strong camp to outlast the very promising Connor Shaw.
Final Roster Odds: 35%
4. CONNOR SHAW - ROOKIE COMPETING FOR NO. 3 QUARTERBACK SPOT
Mike Pettine talks about "toughness" and the "play like a Brown" mentality, and that is exactly what Connor Shaw epitomizes. Prior to the draft, Shaw was one of the many quarterbacks who Cleveland had both a visit and a private workout with.
Shaw had an incredible senior year at South Carolina, where he completed 63.4% of his passes with 24 touchdowns and just 1 interception. He also rushed for 17 touchdowns during his career at South Carolina, and his mobility makes him a great fit to develop in Kyle Shanahan's offense. The edge over Thigpen is that he's 8 years younger, so he's a guy you're more willing to keep on your roster in the long term.
Another interesting angle that would seem to give Shaw the edge over Thigpen? According to this interview from May, the Browns told Shaw that they were going to draft him, before they traded away their final pick:
"The Browns had said they were looking to take me later in the draft and then they called me and let me know they had just traded away their last pick that they were leaning to take me with, but that if I was not taken, they would like to have me on board," Shaw said
The Browns' final pick was a seventh-rounder at No. 218 overall. Cleveland traded that pick to the Ravens for a 6th round pick in 2015, and were still able to get Shaw as an undrafted free agent. That shows more great reading of the draft board by Browns GM Ray Farmer.
Final Roster Odds: 65%
Practice Squad Odds: 80% (if he doesn't make the final roster)
Next up, we'll start covering the running back positions. In the mean time, vote below for the quarterback you'd like to see win the third spot.