Many of us Browns fans can't stand Derek Anderson. Some of us are apologists for his less than stellar 2009 and 2008 performances, and some of us think that he can be a decent quarterback outside of Cleveland. Personally, I think that he's just not a good quarterback.
But I'm also not an NFL scout/coach or member of any NFL organization. I'm just a fan with an opinion like everybody else. However, I do see (some) value in Derek Anderson, and I think he will be traded for a late round pick at the worst.
Derek Anderson isn't expected to be retained by the Browns following the 19th of March, simply because of a roster bonus due of $2 million, and the fact that he's to make 7.45M in 2010, which is simply too much money for a QB that isn't starting. Cleveland is supposedly active in the trade market to possibly get rid of DA and Brady Quinn, but many sources don't see DA getting traded.
I, however, think he will be grabbed up by a hopeful team like Carolina, Minnesota, Arizona, or even Denver (believe it or not).
One of the biggest reasons why DA has value is the fact that he's a strong armed quarterback. Many coaches and GM's covet QB's with "Jeff George" arms. A QB that can throw the ball 60+ yards down the field with ease are QB's that often get looked at a bit more than your average QB, even in the late rounds as a project (DA was the Ravens project).
Another reason why DA has value is because this league has developed into a pass first league. Teams are wanting QB's that can throw the ball even more than ever. An effective QB can almost open up any run game. A QB that has a stud receiver to throw to down the field usually can put up some decent numbers (as we saw DA did with Braylon in 2007), and get themselves some notice.
The Scott Mitchell effect. Scott Mitchell was signed by the Lions in 1994 with high expectations. Mitchell had below average stats in 1994, but showed a good amount of upside and had the weapons to succeed, but had some injury issues. In 1995, Mitchell blew up for 4000+ yards, 32 TD's and just 12 INT's, a big help because of three names: Brett Perriman, Johnnie Morton, and most notably Herman Moore.
All three receivers were very talented, and guys who helped out the QB more so than the QB helped them. Add in Barry Sanders and you get a recipe for success.
Problem is that Mitchell couldn't be consistent, and started to struggle getting the ball down the field after teams started covering better over the top and virtually shut down the vertical game forcing Mitchell to start making the short patterns (see Derek Anderson in Pitt game No. 2 in the second half when we blew the lead...but SHH...don't tell anybody ).
The AJ Feeley effect. AJ Feeley was a QB with good potential who was traded for based on a small sample size of what he did with the Eagles. Despite not playing a down in 2003, the Dolphins, in desperate need for a QB, wanted to take a chance at the, then, 25 year old QB. Derek Anderson is young (26 years old) and still has room to develop.
There are often coaches that feel that they can improve players significantly, which is why we see a lot of "reaches" in NFL Drafts. These coaches sign the players on pure potential, often ignoring the negatives in hopes that they can improve the player on their negatives.
DA's biggest negatives are his decision making, ability to read defenses, and short-intermediate accuracy. His positives are some that NFL coaches covet in being strong armed, having great pocket presence, and ability to check down if needed.
As a Browns fan, it's hard to believe that DA has value, but there is some team out there that will take a chance. I think the Browns will get a draft pick for him, albeit a low one. I did claim prior to season's end that he would be obtained for a third rounder, but I'm changing that a bit considering the limited interest in free agency many teams seem to have because of the Collective Bargaining Agreement issues.
However, DA will be traded for a draft pick.