Cleveland Browns 2012 Draft: 4 to Compete with Colt Not Named Luck or Griffin

Rich CastoContributor IIIJanuary 20, 2012

Cleveland Browns 2012 Draft: 4 to Compete with Colt Not Named Luck or Griffin

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    Andrew Luck will be the No. 1 pick overall by the Indianapolis Colts. Robert Griffin III is speculated to fall to the Cleveland Browns possibly at No. 4, or be selected earlier via another team trading up.

    So, who's next?

    Mike Holmgren is not shy announcing his affinity for quarterbacks. Back in April of 2010, he said (regarding drafting a quarterback high) "Whether you take a quarterback high or whether you take a quarterback late and then develop him... we look at this and trying to analyze the draft. I think what I said before is that I would like to do that each year."

    This season isn't any different. 

    If RGIII is not acquired by the Browns, you can bet that another signal caller will, but who?

    Can the Browns find great value later in the draft, a possible future leader at QB? Can they find a legitimate arm to compete with Colt, thereby making him a better quarterback? Is there any chance to find another Tom Brady?

    Probably not.

    Here are a few rookie QB prospects who could find themselves lining up under center after April's NFL Draft.

Ryan Tanehill, Texas A&M, 6'4", 220 Lbs.

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    Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill recently injured his foot in a passing drill after their Bowl game against Northwestern. The senior prospect will likely miss the Senior Bowl and NFL combine. Surgery has also been mentioned as a consideration, which would mean he wouldn't be able to throw again for scouts until the schools Pro Day.

    Tannehill has great quarterback size and is an exceptional athlete, having previously played wide receiver early in his college career. Being a receiver, it's not a surprise that he has excellent mobility. Tannehill also possesses a strong arm, with the accuracy to deliver pinpoint throws out of the pocket and on the run.

    He threw for over 3,700 total yards in 2011, 29 TDs, 15 INTs.

    It's been noted that his release is occasionally a wind-up and he has been known do a "Bernie" and side arm his throws. Also, his reading of defenses will need to improve.

    Bernie Kosar turned out to be a pretty good player in Cleveland. Maybe Ryan Tannehill could too.

    He's being projected to go anywhere from a late-round flier in Round 1 or fall to Round 3.

    Obviously, the Browns will not make him their selection at 22, but maybe in the third round?

Nick Foles, Arizona, 6'5", 245 Lbs.

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    Nick Foles is also another sizable prospect that would fit well in the AFC North. He throws well from the pocket, keeps his feet shuffling to keep the play alive and avoids defenders. He is not afraid to play hurt.

    Foles can throw deep, short and anywhere between. He has good field vision and anticipation. He is a confident player.

    The senior threw for over 4,300 yards, 28 TDs, 14 INTs.

    He too can occasionally wind up and rush throws, but his mechanics could use some tweaking. Sometimes he'll hold the ball too long, taking the sack—23 times this season and last.

    Not as athletic as Tannehill, but he makes things happen.

    Projected to go anywhere between Rounds 2 and 4.

    Foles would definitely be a project who needs some mentoring and coaching, but could develop into a very serviceable NFL quarterback.

Kirk Cousins, Michigan St., 6'3", 205 Lbs.

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    Michigan State's all-time winningest quarterback, also all-time passing leader, will be displaying his skills at the Senior Bowl. Cousins is another intelligent and tough passer with decent size.

    He's very good at making the short- to mid-range throws, but is less accurate with the deep ball. He throws better with his feet planted than on the run. He handles the ball well and is good from the pocket. Cousins can take the snap from center or from the shotgun. He has average mobility, is good at reading the defense and finding weaknesses.

    Cousins may not be ideal, but is a tough, competitive athlete who will do whatever it takes to grind through.

    He threw for over 3,000 yards, 24 TDs, and 7 INTs.

    Cousins is projected to be drafted in Round 3 or 4.

Brock Osweiler, Arizona St., 6'8", 240 Lbs.

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    Project supreme, but what an opportunity to mold.

    Osweiler has only started one season, but it was record setting.

    One of the tallest quarterback prospects in a while, Osweiler is a pure athlete. He can zing it with the best, and on target. He is very talented, with loads of potential under the right mentor and coaching staff.

    He moves great for a big man and can thread the needle. Occasionally he'll stare down the receiver and needs to work on reading defenses.

    A prospect like Osweiler doesn't come along often, and must also be properly handled. He won't start for a couple of years.

    If the Browns select Osweiler, expect Holmgren to be very hands on, with a veteran QB to be brought in to mentor as well. He's raw.

    The junior threw for over 3,600 yards, 24 TDs, and 14 INTs.

Final Thoughts

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    Competition is good; winning is better. If any of the names mentioned can bring wins along with them—draft them. If Colt can win, let him.

    The Browns need to score touchdowns. They need consistency and depth at the quarterback position. They don't need a bunch of 5'11" athletes who can throw. If a quality prospect is available, and the pick is full of value, Tom Heckert and Holmgren will take him.

    One who could be considered whom I left out is Brandon Weeden from Oklahoma State. I just don't think the Browns want to risk a pick on whether they'll get a Chad Pennington or a Chris Weinke.

    Obviously, the names discussed in this article are not all starting caliber yet. And it is also very doubtful that any will become Tom Brady.

    But that wouldn't keep you from taking a shot late, would it?

    Me neither.