The new Browns brass has been somewhat of mimes regarding their plans with the QB position. One thing the silence has spoken of….. Weeden does not seem to be seen favorably in the eyes of the new coaches, Banner, or Lombardi. When asked and given the opportunity to say something that could be seen as a positive, all have remained tight lipped. Even new OC Norv Turner, when asked during his presser announcing his position with the Browns, started to say something positive, but stopped himself short of giving even the slightest of a compliment. I'm not big on the continuation of change year in & out, but I do get the train of thought that with the turnaround of HC's & GM's alike throughout the league, (and especially in Cleveland) nobody wants to put their job on the line for a QB that they personally did not choose!
Instead of taking compiling information and separating it into a Free Agent list, a potential trade/cut list, & then a list of all potential draft prospects, I wanted to put all available names that could be of significance to the Browns and discuss them as a whole.
It is much more informative to compile them all together, including QB's possibly available on the trade market, those coming in via the draft, those likely to be cut, as well as the slim amount of actual UFA & RFA quality QB's.
Let us start with the #1 overall available QB, Joe Flacco. Ozzie Newsome, former Browns TE turned Rat Bastard General Manager, is working day & night with Joe's agent to get a long term deal done so Flacco can be a Rat for the next 5-6 years guaranteed. Worst case, they tag him again. I wouldn't even put out a 10th of a percentage point that this Super Bowl MVP will be available.
Next, a team must figure out which direction they want to move in. For instance, many think that the Browns want to move away from Weeden because Lombardi, the VP of Player Personnel for Cleveland, does not like Brandon and the group in general is concerned with the fact that Weeden will soon be 30.
Matt Moore is a name that has come up recently, stating that Norv Turner has some interest in him. My opinion here, Moore is a back up, but one that teeters starting quality. Perfect for a back up in Cleveland whether sticking with Weeden or going in another direction. Moore can win games. He isn't going to WOW anyone with his ability as a QB, yet he is that guy you see on some of the better basketball teams that walked on, worked hard, and earned his playing time. A coach isn't going to hand over the reins to that guy, but he certainly trusts him to be a leader, a great teammate, and someone he trusts with playing time.
Another guy being mentioned lightly is Chase Daniel. I believe the thinking in the process is that maybe the time spent behind Brees in the Saints Vertical WCO Hybrid System has rubbed off on him enough to make him starter worthy. I've always found Daniel intriguing, but at 6 foot even, you are going to need to design a read option style offense for him, get him outside the pocket to find windows for him to throw through. This is definitely not an upgrade, but depending on who they go with, he could be a good backup option as well. I believe the buzz surrounding Daniel comes mostly from him being a possible Read Option guy, someone who may have been overlooked & now reevaluated after the season that Russell Wilson had with the Seahawks.
There are definitely some Cut/Trade QB's that are or might be available as well. I'll go with Ryan Mallet for starters. Mallet was a guy that had some issues in college with something white, & it wasn't racism. Mallet enjoyed partying a bit & had an attitude issue. BB took a shot on him & thus far he has stuck solid as the likely Aire to Brady's Patriot Throne. I want to note, others BB took chances on: Randy Moss, Aqib Talib, Vereen & Ridley. Billy B has made a living taking chances on talent over character & has a philosophy that winning will change the character. Lombardi will try his hardest to follow in BB's shoes, & has scouted many of these players for the Pats. If available, Mallet is a realistic option because he fits the Chud/Turner Vertical Passing Scheme & is a favorite of Lombardi.
Nick Foles, Kevin Kolb, Matt Barkley, Matt Flynn, Tyler Wilson, & Zac Dysert are all best fit in the WCO. Of them all, Barkley has about the best arm talent of the bunch. With shoulder issues, many QBs come back lacking the deep ball ability they had previously. I think with Barkley we are going to see a young version of Alex Smith.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is intriguing to me. I liked Fitz when he got his first shot with the Rams & saw even more when he was afforded time in the division, with the Bengals. Showed good arm strength & downfield accuracy, good drive through his throws, a nice spin on the ball in the Buffalo weather, but is really a Favre type gunslinger that tries too often to fit the ball into extremely tight windows. I think at 30 yrs old but only 6 years playing in the league, Fitzpatrick is a bit better option that Alex Smith. If you want to add a vet to start while grooming say a Tyler Bray, Fitzpatrick will cost less in salary, Not cost you a draft pick, likely get you more games per season, better fits the system, & doesn't need as much in surrounding weapons as I believe Alex Smith does.
Not sure how available he is, but Kirk Cousins is another player that could be an interesting option for the new regime. Cousins played some in relief of RG3 & his knee injury & did so with mixed results. In his only full game, he crushed a solid Browns D completing 70% of his passes, 2 TDs, 1 INT, & almost 9 yds per completion on 26 of 37 in the game. Cousins showed good pocket presence, nice spin in the Cleveland Lake wind, good drive through the ball with his throwing motion, showed an ability to read the D, pick up the blitz schemes, get rid of the ball VERY quick, & showed the pocket presence of a vet QB. In 2 last second plays against the Super Bowl Champ Ravens, he got the ball in the end zone showing he doesn't buckle under pressure. Now, against the Seahawks in the Playoffs, he didn't look as good but wasn't coming into a situation that was favorable for him either. Down a score, little time left, must pass scenarios, he only completed 3 of 10 passes, but there were some drops involved as well. Kirk Cousins is a QB that I believe could thrive in the Browns new system. Is he available? That is a question that remains unanswered at this time. I do know this, after giving up a 1st & 2nd in 12' plus a 1st in 13', the Redskins could definitely use a few picks to recoup those spent to obtain RGIII. I'd have to say that something similar to Houston, Atlanta, & the Matt Schaub deal (two Rd 2 picks) would be something worth thinking about!
Lastly, let's get into the fun part, talking about the QB's in the draft. Now, I already ruled some guys out due to scheme fit. Regardless of multiple opinions otherwise & likewise, I have Geno Smith as the cream of the crop. My notes on Smith are as follows: Good Footwork/Nice job scanning the field with his eyes down the middle/contrary to popular belief does well in involving all weapons/drives through the ball nicely/spins it with the best/accurate pocket passer/climbs the pocket to elude outside rusher/makes good football decisions/throws a nice ball on the run/ability to fit ball into tight windows/does well picking up different looks by defense/pass rush does not hinder his mechanics or cause him to panic. A few things I do see on the negative: gets excited in some instances where he will miss a wide open target/ tends to try & do too much in close games which forces him into some judgment lapses/does not use openings to run the ball when the opportunity presents itself for a big gain. Geno Smith is ready right now to step in & be a big game competitor. When reviewing/comparing notes, I see a lot of Colin Kaepernick in Smith.
Mike Glennon is a player that intrigued me this year. When watching, you cannot miss the arm talent. But, after further evaluation, there are some negatives that jump out. First, his length, footwork, & delivery cause him to be slower in getting the ball out. Another issue I have seen is that when his beginning reads are to the left, he does a nice job keeping his eyes up the seam. But, when his reads are to the right, he seems to lock in on his first target which we all know can cause a lot of issues. Kind of reminds me of a combination of Weeden & Derek Anderson. Glennon is not someone the Browns would be wise in investing a pick with.
E.J. Manuel makes for an interesting prospect to say the least. Manuel is definitely talented, has the size you look for in a QB, has the arm talent you look for in a QB, with his decision making shows a good football IQ, as well as an ability to run the ball which gives him a leg up as a potential dual threat. Winner in college but does have slow footwork when under center. There are not a lot of knocks on Manuel & I believe he may very well have found a spot as high as mid Round 1, early 2 at the latest. Again, using Kaepernick as an example, this is another similar in style QB that is moving up the draft boards.
Here is my steal of the draft, Tennessee QB Tyler Bray. Without a doubt, Bray has the most talent out of this class as far as a pure pocket passing NFL QB Prospect. But, Bray has shown a ton of disappointment. Most notable, Bray has been what I call a Bully QB. What is a Bully QB? Simple, he is the ridiculously talented QB jock that picks on the weaker opponent. Look at games against teams like Kentucky where he just destroys a weaker defense. To the contrary, a team like the Georgia Bulldogs with a swarming defense & exotic blitzing will stand up & smack that Bully QB in the mouth. The result, that Bully QB looks more like the little puny kid being thrown off the teeter totter! Bray is an early entry who looked thicker than his playing weight at the combine. To me, Bray is a classic Bill Belichick Rd 4 selection. He needs a few more seasons of development to help him with his decision making & further develop him into a leader. Right now, he is young & he needs to be behind a very good veteran QB. Perfect Day 3 pick for New England or Denver, in my opinion. Give Bray 3 years with a good coach & he will light up the league!
At this very time, I believe the Browns would be best served to do the following respectively:
1. Keep Brandon Weeden, giving him 1 year to prove himself in the new offensive system while signing Matt Moore as a backup, in the event there is injury or under performance.
2. Make a move with New England to pick up Ryan Mallet without giving up a 1st or 2nd Round pick
3. Be creative in trading (including Brandon Weeden) to add a Rd 2 selection & draft EJ Manuel
4. Make a deal with Washington to add QB Kirk Cousins (Weeden + Rd 2 & Rd 4 2014 Picks?)
5. Be creative in trading (including Brandon Weeden) to add a Rd 2 selection & draft Geno Smith at #6.
Position Team Player Name Description Scenario
QB Ravens Joe Flacco Top 5 in the league UFA – Stay w/ Ravens
QB Dolphins Matt Moore Back up w/ starter potential UFA - Jax/Cle/Arz
QB Saints Chase Daniel Back up UFA -
QB Patriots Ryan Mallet Starter Potential Trade Bait?
QB Eagles Nick Foles Starter Potential Trade Bait?
QB Cardinals Kevin Kolb Back Up Likliest Cut?
QB Seahawks Matt Flynn Back Up w/ Starter Potential Trade/Cut?
QB Redskins Kirk Cousins Starter Trade possible
QB Browns Brandon Weeden Starter Trade possible
QB Bills Ryan Fitzpatrick Starter Cut /Restructure
QB WV Geno Smith Starter Rd 1
QB USC Matt Barkley Starter Late 1/Early 2
QB NC State Mike Glennon Starter Rd 1 / Rd 3
QB Syracuse Ryan Nassib Starter Rd 1 / Rd 2
QB Arkansas Tyler Wilson Potential Starter Rd 2 / Rd 4
QB Florida St EJ Manuel Potential Starter Rd 2 / Rd 3
QB Tennessee Tyler Bray Developmental Future Starter Rd 3 / Rd 5
QB Oklahoma Landry Jones Developmental / Back Up Rd 4 / Rd 5
QB Miami, OH Zac Dysert Developmental / Back Up Rd 5 / Rd 6
QB SLU Nathan Stanley Developmental Rd 6 / UDFA