In a draft with zero can't-miss quarterback prospects, the Cleveland Browns would be wise to invest in a polished passer with two years of NFL experience under his belt already.
A player like New England Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett.
According to Boston.com's Greg A. Bedard, "the Browns have long been favorites to land Mallett."
Multiple teams have called the Patriots this week about a potential trade for backup quarterback Ryan Mallett, according to three league sources.
Not only did Browns general manager Mike Lombardi gush about the trade on NFL Network, but behind the scenes, Lombardi pushed Bill Belichick to take Mallett.
At age 24 and having attempted just four passes in his brief NFL career, Mallett offers promise at the position for Cleveland, something the Browns don't currently possess. Last year's first-round draft pick Brandon Weeden is already 29 years old and coming off a season in which he completed just 57 percent of his passes, recording 14 touchdowns to 17 interceptions.
Cleveland's other top option under center is veteran journeyman Jason Campbell, who at 31 is seemingly poised to play a backup role for the rest of his days. The Browns are his fourth team since 2009.
Mallett, on the other hand, has spent the past two years sitting behind one of the game's greatest signal-callers in Tom Brady. He's had time to watch, learn and soak in the game at the pro level.
Plus, at 6'6" and 245 pounds, he has the size and arm to pick opposing defenses apart when given ample time.
The former Arkansas and Michigan quarterback, who was drafted 74th overall by the Pats in the 2011 NFL draft, has combined to complete 69-of-130 passes for 657 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions in eight preseason appearances since 2011.
Which QB gives Cleveland the best chance to win in 2013?
Although those numbers hardly suggest Mallett is the answer to all of Cleveland's issues at quarterback, it's the experience gained that makes Mallett a smart investment.
For Mallett, it would be an opportunity to make a name for himself as an NFL starter, a rare shot too good to pass up.
Rather than reach for a quarterback in this weekend's 2013 NFL draft, one year after drafting Weeden 22nd overall, the Browns can make a trade to acquire a quarterback surrounded by all the mystery of a rookie but one that boasts the knowledge of a third-year player.
Cleveland missed out on the can't-miss quarterbacks in 2012 and reached for Weeden. Rather than make the same mistake twice in 2013, the Browns are best suited to pursue New England's Ryan Mallett, one of the few young NFL quarterbacks who have had a chance to adjust to the NFL game while sitting behind Tom Brady.
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