The logic for the pick is simple. The Browns went all in for Robert Griffin III and came up just short. Surely the team is looking at Ryan Tannehill—a likely top-10 pick—instead, right?
Of course the Browns are doing their due diligence on Tannehill. They'd be stupid not to. Colt McCoy hasn't proven he is a capable starting quarterback, and every team without a proven quarterback should be trying to find one.
But doing due diligence does not mean the Browns are legitimately interested in the former wide receiver. Maybe Cleveland is targeting him if he drops a little—the Browns have two first-round picks—but that doesn't mean they want him at No. 4.
Cleveland pursued Griffin because he is a special talent. General manager Tom Heckert and Mike Holmgren felt like Griffin would add a new dimension to their dull, unexplosive offense.
Now, many are assuming the Browns will take the next-best quarterback in Tannehill. But does anyone think NFL teams have Tannehill in the same category as Griffin?
While analysts are using Cleveland's pursuit of Griffin to support them taking Tannehill, that is actually the strongest evidence against the pick.
If the Browns thought they could get a franchise quarterback at No. 4, why would the team offer three first-round draft picks for Griffin?
That would be a terrible move. It doesn't make any sense for the Browns to mortgage their future when they don't have to.
Right now, Cleveland is moving forward with McCoy at quarterback. The Browns will add weapons—a running back, wide receiver and right tackle—in the first two rounds.
Then, with talent around McCoy, the team will finally be able to evaluate whether he is a starting quarterback in the NFL.
If McCoy isn't, Cleveland will draft their quarterback early in 2013—perhaps trading up like they tried to for Griffin.
However, if McCoy is a franchise quarterback, the Browns will continue to do what they are in the process of: building around the quarterback.