Cleveland Browns Must Draft a Quarterback to Compete with Brandon Weeden
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Cleveland has to draft another quarterback in the 2013 NFL draft.
This doesn't mean the Browns should use an early pick on the position by any means, but at some point, adding a young quarterback with great potential would be a smart move. Campbell is getting up there in age with seven seasons under his belt, and Weeden is only a year behind him as he enters just his second year.
To be blunt, Weeden was awful last season. Granted, he was a rookie, but his play didn't exactly inspire hope for the future, which is why some thought the Browns would address the position early in the draft before bringing on Campbell.
Weeden fits better in new head coach Rob Chudzinski's vertical-oriented passing attack, but unless he makes a massive leap in development, there were some serious issues with his game last season.
For starters, Weeden ranked dead last in the NFL at No. 38 overall in Pro Football Focus' rankings (subscription required) last season. He threw for 3,385 yards, 14 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, while completing only 57 percent of his passes.
NFL.com's Marc Sessler believes the Browns need to be looking at other options in the draft because of holes in Weeden's game that may or may not be fixed over time:
Chudzinski was hired by Banner and owner Jimmy Haslam to bring innovation to the attack. Weeden is a plodding passer who limits what the Browns can do schematically. I like his arm, but Weeden must show vastly better decision-making to keep his starting role.
Sessler also believes that it's highly unlikely the new Browns management will bet the future of the franchise on Weeden thanks to his age and the issues with his game overall:
...Browns CEO Joe Banner's past with the Philadelphia Eagles tells us Cleveland is not about to hitch its wagon to a soon-to-be-30 signal-caller. The Browns want to find a young arm to develop the offense around for years to come.
Cleveland doesn't need to use an early pick to find a young arm to develop. As Sessler points out, names such as Arizona's Matt Scott, Miami Ohio's Zac Dysert and Oklahoma's Landry Jones are players the team could select in the third or fourth round and develop into franchise players.
Who knows, maybe one of them will pull a Russell Wilson and win the job outright.
The point is, there's a new regime in Cleveland, and Weeden probably isn't their guy. He missed his chance to show a lot last season, and at 30 years old, may not develop into what the coaching staff wants or needs until it's too late.
It's also worth pointing out that Campbell could steal the starting job from Weeden in training camp anyway.
Campbell was exceptional with the Raiders behind an actual offensive line. He rated as the No. 14 overall quarterback that year in Pro Football Focus' rankings. In the six games he played, he threw for 1,170 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions while completing more than 60 percent of his passes.
Do you think the Browns should take a quarterback in this year's draft?
Of course, Campbell went down with an injury, which, as you'll remember, caused the organization to freak out and commit the Carson Palmer trade, otherwise known as the worst trade in NFL history.
Behind a solid offensive line and backed by one of the NFL's best running backs in Trent Richardson, don't be shocked to see Campbell as the starter from the beginning of the season anyway. He has years of experience and has more than proven he can take a team to the postseason (as he was on pace to do in Oakland pre-injury).
The time is now for the Browns to look toward the future at the position and at the very least groom a youngster behind Weeden. An added bonus would be the team finding a gem that competes for the starting gig, but don't hold your breath.
Weeden needs some more competition, and the draft has more than a few quality candidates.
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