The 2012 NFL Draft is down to a few short days away and the Cleveland Browns are working towards finalizing their picks over the course of the weekend action. Big rumors surround the Browns organization, and their intentions at the quarterback position seem even more unclear than they were at the end of the 2011 season.
Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden are the two biggest names that are currently rumored to have connections with the Browns over draft weekend. Tannehill is expected to be taken high in the first round, and many NFL experts have pushed aside any speculation that the Browns would spent their fourth overall pick on the former Texas A&M standout.
Weeden would not warrant as high of a pick as Tannehill and could be an attractive option if the Browns are truly in the market for a quarterback over the course of the first two rounds. Cleveland has been reported to have had a lot of contact with Weeden over the past few weeks and spent some personal time with him at the team's facility after the NFL Combine.
The Browns would have to be sure that Weeden could become the starting quarterback in Cleveland early in his career before the team spent a high draft pick to bring him to the shores of Lake Erie. Weeden will be 28 years old when the 2012 NFL season begins and will turn 29 early in October.
It does not seem like a smart idea to draft a quarterback that will be pushing 30 years old before he ever takes an NFL snap.
However, some experts believe Weeden can pick up an NFL offense very quickly and could become one of the best rookies in the NFL if he is surrounded by talent. Weeden has tremendous arm strength and had the opportunity to work with one of the best receivers in college football, Justin Blackmon.
In college, Weeden was only sacked a total of 21 times over his four-year career. That means that Oklahoma State was blessed with a great offensive line that provided pass protection on nearly every down. Many of those throws will be more contested at the NFL level and could prove trouble for Weeden early in his career.
Weeden also displayed great accuracy and the ability to get the ball down the field much better than anyone Cleveland has had over the past few seasons. Scouts claim that Weeden may have the best arm in the draft class and his maturity may be better than an average rookie because of his age.
The Browns may not be the right destination for Weeden because of that age factor and because of the lack of talent on the active roster. Cleveland's offensive line has had their issues over the last two seasons and their wide receivers have been labeled some of the worst in the NFL. Many will agree that the talent should be much better after the draft, but each new player is a rookie, just like Weeden will be next season.
Some would argue the Browns simply do not have the weapons surrounding the quarterback position to be successful at this point in the process. Drafting a player like Weeden and expecting him to perform miracles would only cause bad publicity for the franchise and could derail his career before it ever begins.
Colt McCoy still looks like the best option for the Browns as they move forward this season because of his experience running the offense and the strength of schedule the Browns will face. The Browns will be playing the hardest schedule for any non-playoff team and do not seem to face the type of competition that gives a rookie a chance at immediate success.
Weeden recently stated that he feels the Browns like him, and that he would be excited to get the opportunity to compete with McCoy in 2012. Only time will tell if he will get that opportunity, but Browns fans all hope that he will be ready if Cleveland comes calling.