The Cleveland Browns need to make the most of next month's draft, and it all starts with the fourth overall pick, where they may be targeting their next face of the franchise. Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel are widely considered to be the cream of the crop at the quarterback position, but the Browns have been spending some time with rising quarterback prospect Derek Carr (per FresnoBee.com).
In fact, NFL.com writer Marc Sessler reported that the Browns prefer Carr over Manziel. What further strengthens that claim is the fact that Cleveland's new head coach, Mike Pettine, shared that he believes Carr is the "best natural thrower in the draft."
The former Fresno State passer has been on a nice ascent up draft boards recently and will undoubtedly hear his name called in the first round. Cleveland's not the only team that has taken a liking to Carr, and they may be worried that he won't be around for them to draft at 26th overall.
Many would argue Carr simply isn't worth the fourth overall pick, but a franchise quarterback is priceless. Now, he may last until the 26th pick, where the Browns can draft him, but he also may not. If Cleveland truly feels that Carr is the future of their franchise, then using the fourth pick on him would be a good idea.
But why? What is it about Carr that puts him above the other passers that will be available? Well, for starters, he can throw the ball pretty darn well.
As B/R's Ryan Lownes notes in his scouting report of Carr, he possesses elite arm strength and can throw a very accurate deep ball. He enjoyed a strong college career and broke records along the way, but he really shined at the Senior Bowl.
Carr also did well at the combine, displaying his athleticism with a 4.69 40-yard dash (sixth-fastest quarterback) and 34.5-inch vertical leap (second best for quarterbacks). Speaking of his athleticism, he's shifty in the pocket and can evade the rush; that's an important trait to consider when looking at what makes an ideal quarterback.
He also got steadily better throughout his college years, and that kind of quick progress denotes that he's a coachable guy who will put in the work to get better.
Carr's potential is also something that should attract the Browns—he has one of the highest ceilings of any quarterback in the draft. His throwing ability paired with his athletic nature makes him an undeniably impressive prospect who will be hard to turn down if and when they get a chance to draft him.
Having a guy with that kind of throwing ability will be what helps take Josh Gordon and Greg Little's game to the next level and will give Cleveland a legitimate passing game. Carr can make all the throws and is someone who can help turn this franchise around sooner than later.