The draft is approaching, and next week I will start my draft rankings. The ranking are not based on talent nor Mel Kiper and Todd McShay’s picks. The rankings will be based on who I think the Browns should draft.
But this week, as the Combine approaches, we provide a list of the players in each position. First: the Quarterback.
To be consistently successful, a franchise needs a great Quarterback. No wonder why the Quarterback is a bit of an enigma in Cleveland. The Browns haven’t had a true Franchise Quarterback since Bernie Kosar, and have been stuck with the likes of Tim Couch, Kelly Holcomb, Jeff Garcia, Luke McCown, Trent Dilfer, Charlie Frye, and Derek Anderson. Now, Holmgren is trying to figure out whether Brady Quinn is that Quarterback. If he decides that Quinn is not the Quarterback of the future, he will need to draft one. Below are the 2010 candidates for “Franchise Quarterback.”
Sam Bradford – Oklahoma
My favorite of the bunch, his injury has some Browns fans worried. Not to mention he would be drafted and paid like a franchise quarterback, something Browns fans are very familiar with. They are also familiar with the money involved and the 50-50 chance of a first round quarterback panning out (see, e.g. Couch, Tim; Smith, Akili).
Best thing about Bradford: his leadership ability (compared to Matt Ryan),arm strength is above average and he has top notch accuracy. Not so good things: he has a shoulder injury, durability is a concern, and his release point is not as “over the top” as one would like. Look for him to go in the top of the first round. Whether the Browns should draft him at 7 is another post.
Jimmy Clausen – Notre Dame
Clausen is above-average in pretty much every category except release and arm strength, where scouts believe he is simply average. There are also concerns about his off the field leadership ability. The biggest concern for Browns fans? He is a quarterback from Notre Dame. For some reason, his college school makes him less desirable to Browns fans because of Brady Quinn. Clausen will be a good pro, but it may just be in Washington or Seattle. Look for him to go in the top of the first round.
Colt McCoy – Texas
Overall above-average prospect that has taken a hit because of the injury suffered in the National Championship Game. He is a proven winner and Scouts, Inc. says that he may be the toughest quarterback in the draft. The other knock is that his accuracy may have benefited from a quarterback friendly system. But if Holmgren is going to a west coast offense system eventually, McCoy may be a perfect candidate a year or two down the road. He will most likely be available for the Browns in the second round (and some bloggers suggest the third round), and would not be a bad pick if he drops to the third round.
Tim Tebow – Florida
A very mobile quarterback that is a winner. Scouts, Inc. touts his work ethic, intangibles and mental toughness. Plus he apparently has no problem tackling his mom on a Super Bowl Ad. The problems, though, are large. His accuracy and release are below average, and some are wondering if Tebow will actually be a quarterback in the NFL. Now comes word that Tebow will wait until his Pro Day to throw for the scouts because of a “new” delivery. I’m not sure that helps his status as “project.” He may be available in the third round, but I think he is a true project that is better on an team with an established Quarterback and a need 3-4 years down the road, ala Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. I would not be surprised if Jacksonville takes him in the second round.
Dan LeFevour – Central Michigan
People are split over LeFevour: some think he can become a starter with work on his footwork and accuracy, and some believe that he will be a career backup because of his deficiencies. Is he another “winner” that doesn’t translate to the NFL, or can he be a mid-round hero? Some drafts project LeFevour drafted by the Browns in round three. I am not a scout, so I can’t tell you whether he will be the answer, but I know I’d rather see LeFevour than Tony Pike.
Tony Pike – Cincinnati
A hot name going into the draft, but I have read everywhere that he doesn’t have the arm strength or the accuracy to become a starter. Particularly concerning is the arm strength. Browns fans have complained about Quinn’s arm strength every week, and here is a quarterback that may have an even weaker arm. Basically, Pike projects to a backup quarterback. Perhaps a round 5 selection may be appropriate, but not for the Browns. The Browns don’t need a projected backup, they need a projected starter or experienced backup. I say pass.
John Skelton – Fordham
Interestingly, Skelton was given the thrid highest Quarterback grade from National Football Post. Also, here is a description from The New York Daily News:
Skelton has a tantalizing skill set. He stands 6-5 and packs a solid 258 pounds onto his country-strong frame. He has a Howitzer masquerading as a right arm: he regularly launches 50-yard bombs in practice. And he’s always possessed an athleticism that belies his size: he played shortstop on his high school baseball team.
The downsides? Struggles with accuracy, especially downfield, and played at Fordham. Look for him as a possible Browns sleeper pick in rounds 4-6. Remember, Holmgren is a quarterbacks guy, and quarterbacks with big arms are very tempting.
Jarrett Brown – West Virginia
A largely untested prospect, Brown has a big arm and above-average accuracy downfield, but struggles with accuracy underneath. Sound familiar, Browns fans? There are also questions about his ability to process information (see Senior Bowl where he did not understand they were playing with the NFL’s down-by-contact rule). The Browns could be tempted if he is available in the middle rounds (3-4), but we already have on DA on the team.
Jevan Snead – Ole Miss
Biggest concern is his bad decision making. He has a good arm and accuracy can reportedly improve with better mechanics, but he seems to be lacking something. Competitiveness? The fire and will to win and improve? I really like Snead when he is motivated, but can Holmgren and Mangini get that out of him? Watch for him in round four.
Zac Robinson – Oklahoma State
Reportedly the best quarterback at the Senior Bowl (so was Charlie Frye). Has average arm strength and average accuracy, but hasn’t been tested downfield much. The combine will be very important for him. So far, I like his upside and would not argue with a round five or six pick for the Browns.
Sean Canfield – Oregon State
Jonathan Crompton – Tennessee
Matt Nichols – Eastern Washington
Mike Kaftka – Northwestern
Chris Turner – Maryland
Bill Stull – Pittsburgh
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Back tomorrow with Running Backs.