Fellow Bleacher Report draftnik Jeff Roemer and I had a good debate on Twitter today about what to make of Cleveland GM Tom Heckert's effusive praise of QB prospect Brandon Weeden on Thursday. Quarterbacks are on everyone's minds right now, and Heckert really perked up when Weeden was mentioned (via Mary Kay Cabot, Cleveland Plain Dealer):
He said the Browns like four quarterbacks in this draft, including the obvious top three of Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Ryan Tannehill. The fourth appears to be Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden, who's 28, because Heckert gushed about him.
"I really like him a lot,'' said Heckert. "We're going to see him (throw) tomorrow. He's mature and he's telling you it's a positive. He's a really interesting guy. He's super smart.''
Roemer very correctly pointed out that most of what we hear at this time of year is misinformation and smoke screens, so he advised to "keep calm" about his statements. Still, this one stuck with me for a few reasons.
1. Cleveland loves to have a lot of picks.
This is a team that has exercised 10 first and second-round picks in the last three years, including two trade downs in the first to amass more picks. As the possibility of trading up for Robert Griffin III diminishes, we have to give more weight to alternate scenarios where the Browns address their QB situation. Weeden certainly fits.
2. No one can really stop Cleveland from taking Weeden.
The Browns have the 22nd and 37th picks in the draft, so a team would have to be very smitten with Weeden to leapfrog them in the first round, and they're also picking ahead of all of the QB-needy teams again in the second round. Weeden being 28 years old defies conventional wisdom about first-round value, so Heckert might feel free to discuss their feelings about Weeden with impunity.
3. There is a recent precedent for a team tipping their hand about QB draft plans.
"You want winners, and that's what he's done his whole career," Gruden said. "There's a lot more to that than people understand. Teammates have to follow you, and believe in you, when times are tough. In key situations, you have to deliver. He's done it time and time again. How can you not be interested in a guy who performs like that?"
Weeden is a system QB who is smart, but how his skills outside of his college offense will translate is unknown. Brandon Weeden or Kevin Kolb? Mike Holmgren and Pat Shurmur are West Coast-offense minds, and Weeden's skills do fit well in that offense. Perhaps we shouldn't dispose of these comments so readily.