The Cleveland Browns entered the offseason with multiple, pressing needs.
Several problems have been addressed by the new Browns management, including upgrades to the tight end, offensive line, and inside linebacker positions.
The wide receiver position should see improvement naturally, as the corps is young and sophomore improvement is common.
This still leaves multiple areas of concern. The defensive secondary needs at least two more starters, and the quarterback position is in need of direction.
Focusing on the quarterback situation, Derek Anderson has been released from the team and Seneca Wallace has been added. This exchange, ideally, trades a backup quarterback for a slightly better backup quarterback with wildcat abilities.
Holmgren does not appear satisfied with Quinn, as he is reportedly shopping him around. If he can bring in his own guy, he will.
Free agency is not going to provide anything more than a stop-gap until a younger and more talented quarterback becomes available. Even if he is not satisfied with Quinn, Holmgren has to decide whether Delhomme is an improvement.
Trading for the franchise quarterback is possible, but it will be expensive. Grabbing Kolb will take a first round pick. A very good argument can be made that the sacrifice is worth it, but still...it would be a large investment.
The only other unexplored avenue to stability at the position is the 2010 NFL Draft. The remainder of this article will focus on the draft, and attempt to formulate some wise guiding principles.
Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen appear to be the top-tier signal callers, though both quarterbacks bring their own set of concerns to the table. Bradford has had injury problems, and Clausen has had questions raised about his leadership and character.
These concerns make fans and management worry about spending a first round pick on either player.
Regardless, by pick No. 7 both could be gone.
Progressing to later picks, the only quarterback that appears to be able to make an immediate impact is Colt McCoy. McCoy separates himself from Bradford and Clausen for several reasons. He lacks elite arm strength, he is a little small for an NFL quarterback, and he has an occasional tendency to stare down receivers.
All of these concerns seem minimal. The lack of arm strength puts a ceiling on his potential, but the ceiling is still high. Plenty of quarterbacks lack ideal size, namely Drew Brees. NFL coaches will fix the occasional staring problem.
Still, McCoy very well may be gone by the time the Browns pick in the second round.
The Browns could still choose to pick a developmental quarterback in the second or third, but that may be unwise.
This class has been noted for having a weak quarterback class and a strong defensive class. Since the quarterback class is probably a bit below average, it can be assumed that next year’s class will be stronger. Things have a tendency of going back to the average.
The same math that says weak quarterback classes will improve in following years also says strong defensive classes will degrade.
Rather than picking a quarterback who needs two or three years to develop, the Browns should grab a defensive player who can provide immediate impact. Defensive players that can contribute should be available in the second and third.
These players may be able to put in a decent body of work before a project quarterback would ever see meaningful playing time.
The Browns should not squander such a plentiful defensive draft, considering they have huge needs on that side of the ball.
Buy when it’s cheap. Do not throw your money into a scare commodity—especially when that commodity will become plentiful in the near future.
All of this does have a very bright side! The draft can answer the questions in Cleveland’s secondary.
Eric Berry brings mixed reviews. A member of Bleacher Report communicates with an Arizona scout who reportedly speaks very highly of Berry, saying he has had tremendous interviews. Another trusted member of the Bleacher Report community has an undisclosed source hinting that Berry’s personality would not be a good fit for the Browns.
While the contradicting reports can be interrupted at will, there are a few notable accounts of Berry’s character given by offensive tackle Rokevious Watkins and safety Janzen Jackson. Berry helped Watkins through his drug problems and moved Jackson into his own home when the player was arrested.
His athletic ability is second to none, and he may be a once-in-a-decade player. Berry brings a very impressive resume from the University of Tennessee as well.
Moving on. If Kyle Wilson can slip into the second round the Browns could bring quite a few aggressive blitz packages to the NFL next season.
An overlying theme emerges. The Browns need to draft based on talent, not based on need.