Why The Browns Should Trade Derek Anderson

Mike GCorrespondent IApril 22, 2009

CLEVELAND - NOVEMBER 30:  Quarterback Derek Anderson #3 of the Cleveland Browns passes the ball during their NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts on November 30, 2008 at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. The Colts defeated the Browns 10-6.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

As the Browns face the 2009 draft, the team needs to hit a lot of its draft picks. 

With numerous holes to fill, any additional picks that can be acquired through trading players in a position where the team is deep is crucial. 

The following explains why the Browns should trade Derek Anderson during or prior to the draft, as Quinn is probably the better QB.

I recognize that the jury is still out with Quinn, and I’m in no way hailing him as the next great quarterback, however, Quinn has three great strengths that Anderson doesn’t have.  

First, Quinn is a student of the game, and as such, is significantly better that Anderson in reading defenses. 

For those who argue that he “check’s down” too often, remember, that was the same complaint of Peyton Manning in his early years in the NFL

Quinn looked great against Denver (albeit against a horrible defense), and made correct decisions in all but two plays against the Bills (one of which Chud set him up to fail—calling the same play on consecutive third and one situations). 

Anderson makes more mistakes, and has had significantly more time to learn how to read defenses without making a step in the right direction.

Second, Quinn is a great leader. 

Again, I’m not saying he’s Joe Montana, but we got an incredible glimpse into his leadership ability after the Denver game. 

Quinn was interviewed, and asked why the Browns were unsuccessful in putting together a fourth quarter drive to win the game. 

If you remember, Winslow dropped a ball thrown right in his hands that would have moved the chains on third down.  Quinn’s answer to the question was something along the lines of “It was all my fault.   That (winning the game in the fourth quarter) is what they brought me in here to do.”  That’s the sign of a good leader. 

He didn’t blame Winslow for dropping the pass, nor did he blame Shaffer who couldn’t block Dumervill at all (which is akin to what Peyton Manning did a couple years ago against the Patriots).  Instead he took the blame himself.

Third, Quinn is much more athletic than Anderson, which requires the defense to prepare for more than just a drop back passer.

With these positives, come two negatives. 

First, Quinn’s arm strength has been a concern.  There’s nothing I’ve seen in the games that he plays that makes me think he can’t throw the 10 yard out.  As mentioned above, I think the short passes were representative of him learning the speed of the game in the NFL, as opposed to an inability to make the deep throws.

Second, there is a greater level of uncertainty with Quinn than there is with Anderson.  We can be sure that Anderson will be an average QB in the NFL.  With Quinn, his down side is potentially a lot larger, because we’ve only seen him play a few times.

Anderson’s positives on the other hand, are more or less the opposite of Quinn’s.  He has an incredibly strong arm, and there are no throws on the field that he can’t make. 

While he’s less mobile than Quinn, his size allows him to get fewer passes knocked down than Quinn.  Lastly, as mentioned above, his downside is less than Quinn’s. 

Anderson’s  biggest negative, his inability to read a defense, and the lack of development in that area, scares me. 

In ’07, teams blitzed Anderson, hoping to knock him out of his game, and he responded remarkably well by hitting his three big targets (JJ, Edwards, and Winslow) who were able to fight off man coverage. 

As ’07 progressed, and ’08 began, teams began taking a different approach to Anderson.  Gone were the heavy blitzes.  In its place, zone coverage that forced Anderson to find the open receiver.  He failed miserably, frequently throwing into crowded zones.

While Quinn could bring more picks in return for the Browns than Anderson could, he’s simply a more talented QB, and should be given the reins to lead the team in 2009.