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#HeyTony: What exactly is the Browns' plan at quarterback in the draft?

May 03, 2014 -- 6:00pm

By Tony Grossi |



What exactly is the Browns’ plan at quarterback in the draft? Finally, the veil will be lifted at the end of the week. Going forward, all entries to Hey Tony must be sent to the new address of

Hey Tony: I saw your latest mock draft and was a little (pleasantly) surprised to see no QB taken in the 1st round. I am wondering, though, if you believe a guy like Blake Bortles or Derek Carr will drop and be there for the Browns in the early 2nd round? If so, could they pass on him? Do you think they’ve targeted someone for a later round? Who do you think they have their eye on?

-- Jeff, Denver, CO

Hey Jeff: The Browns have had private workouts with 11 quarterbacks. They range from the top of the class, through the second wave, all the way down to late-round or undrafted status. It’s feasible they could take a QB from any one of these ranges. As a result of their minicamp, at which they saw Brian Hoyer’s rapid recovery in progress, and the signings of veteran reclamation projects Vince Young and Tyler Thigpen, I believe they may be targeting a quarterback in the second round or beyond.

Hey Tony: During minicamp it was stated that Brian Hoyer’s rehab appears to be ahead of schedule. Any word on how Travis Benjamin is doing with his rehab? Do you believe he’ll be ready by week 1?

-- Jason, Cleveland, OH

Hey Jason: Benjamin’s knee injury and resultant surgery occurred about a month after Hoyer’s. He was not active during the recent minicamp. The Browns have declined to give an update on the severity of Benjamin’s injury – other to say it was a torn ACL – or his current condition. It’s possible he could start training camp on the physically unable to perform list, which could lead to a delayed start to his 2014 season.

Hey Tony: Just reviewed your Mock Draft 11.0 which shows Detroit at #10 picking CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State. As always at this time of year trade rumors are everywhere including one that states Detroit is looking to move up in the draft. According to the draft value chart the Browns # 4 pick is worth 1800 points. Detroit's # 10 pick is worth 1300 points, a 500 point difference. In my opinion one of the most glaring weaknesses on defense last year was at corner opposite of Joe Haden. If a trade could be made with Detroit at #10 there is a very good chance that the Browns could select a coveted corner they value with this pick shoring up this weakness. To complete the trade the Browns would receive Detroit's 2nd round pick # 45 valued at 450 points giving the Browns "TWO" picks in round 1, 2, 3, and 4. Your thoughts please on this scenario?

-- Joe, Palm Desert, CA

Hey Joe: I suppose it would be a fair move for the Browns if they are undecided on whom to take at No. 4 and wish to bail out. Some believe Detroit, however, is more likely to trade down than to trade up.

Hey Tony: In the movie "Draft Day", the Browns’ GM passes on a hotshot college QB, keeps his current QB named Brian, and drafts a LB named Mack. On May 8, the Browns’ GM will pass on a hotshot college QB, keep his current QB named Brian and will draft a LB named (Kahlil) Mack. Coincidence? Fate? Destiny? You heard it here first.

-- Randy, Kent, OH

Hey Randy: You nailed it. Unfortunately, the movie “Draft Day” does not show us how the Browns did on the field following those moves. Hopefully, the sequel will not resemble “Groundhog Day.”

Hey Tony: I hope your latest mock was to try to get people to respond. Khalil Mack and Bradley Roby with 4 QBs off the board would be horrible. I heard Phil Savage on Sirius say the Browns should trade back with Buffalo and select CB Justin Gilbert and then use those extra picks to try to trade up from 26 to get Derek Carr. Really? The Browns need a QB of the future. Why would you risk not being able to trade back up and losing the QB you want? Select your best QB at 4 and take the best CB at 26 (Kyle Fuller, Jason Verrett, Roby). I predict the Browns will be significantly better next year and won't be in a better spot than they are now to pick a QB. I also don't believe that you have to play a # 4 pick. Sit him behind Hoyer and Vince Young and let him learn. 

-- Rick, Shreveport, LA

Hey Rick: The Browns don’t seem enamored with any quarterback; otherwise, they would take one at No. 4.

Hey Tony: Barkevious Mingo was suspiciously evasive with respect to your questions about his strength and weight. Mike Pettine has said that it is the coaches’ responsibility to get a player to play up to his potential. Mike Pettine has also said that the easiest thing for a player to add is strength. Is it possible then that Barkevious Mingo is uncoachable?

-- Richard, Pasadena, CA

Hey Richard: Mingo is not uncoachable. One problem is the CBA rule that prohibits meaningful contact between coaches and players until the start of offseason programs in the middle of April. Since the Browns made a coaching change after the exit of their players following the last game of 2013, they were unable to set forth an offseason weight program for Mingo to follow. Thus, they missed the months of January, February and March to get Mingo started on a carefully administered weight and strength program. It is an incredibly dumb rule, counter-productive to the professional growth of players and teams alike. Thank the NFL Players Association for the rule. It’s one of the few things it “won” in the 2011 CBA negotiations.

Hey Tony: Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans are consistently mentioned as being head & shoulders above all other WRs in this year's draft. But watching them, it's clear that they are completely different types of receivers. Watkins is a shorter bolt of lightning, moving all over the offensive formation running quick slants and bubble screens. Evans is a long, tall split end, flying vertically up the field to out-run and out-jump defenders. My question is: which one would be a better complement to Josh Gordon? Would Gordon benefit more from Evans stretching the field vertically or Watkins wreaking havoc on short to intermediate routes?

-- Tim, Newburyport, MA

Hey Tim: Don’t overthink it. Which is the best receiver – period? My opinion is Evans’ physical dimensions make him potentially the greater offensive threat, but Watkins is better right now.

Hey Tony: Your Sunday column with coffee is a must-read. What do you think of the possibility that Vince Young was signed by the Browns with the anticipation of drafting Johnny Manziel? Could Vince Young be the Browns’ strategy to not only mentor Johnny on field but give him the first-hand cautionary tale of the dangers of the hype? Go Browns.

-- Ray, Charleston, SC

Hey Ray: No chance of that.

Hey Tony: In thinking about the draft, I keep asking myself, "What would Ozzie Newsome do?" I think we all could live with an Ozzie-like outcome from Ray Farmer next week. Here's what I think Ozzie would do. At no. 4 overall, stay put--select the best talent available (likely on the offensive line or as a pass rusher) and begin drafting your remarks for when this player is inducted into the Hall of Fame. At no. 26, get your QB. If it means giving up a pick or two to trade up into the teens, so be it. Get a guy who has the physical attributes along with a burning desire to succeed--a guy who knows how tough it is to win at the highest level and who will make all the sacrifices necessary. Derek Carr, maybe? Teddy Bridgewater? Tom Savage? Jimmy Garoppolo? Ray will know. As for the rest, get a CB who can cover; a WR with size who can run (and catch unlike someone we know); an ILB who flies around the field in pass coverage and in run support; a FS with range; and a kamikaze FB who can be the talk of training camp and who can elicit giant, approving grins from Coach Pettine and Mr. Grossi. If this is the result at the end of the day on May 10, I believe Ray will have channeled his inner Ozzie, and the Browns will be on their way. What do you think, Tony?

-- Keith, Old Saybrook, CT

Hey Keith: What would Ozzie do? Dial up on Monday and you will read about it.

Hey Tony: Let’s envision a scenario in which the Browns take Manziel, and let’s assume he's taken at four. Does Greg Little's diminished value to the Browns suddenly take a quantum leap forward, given his ability to get out and block downfield? Seems like that could be a big asset to the team given Manziel's tendency to flee the pocket early, and what we've heard about offensive linemen not being able to keep up with the likes of RG3 scurrying to the outside. Also, did you see the PD's list of the top Italian restaurants in NEO? I'd be interested to get your thoughts, as the person who unknowingly introduced me to Iaria's in Indianapolis.

-- Josh, Silver Spring, MD

Hey Josh: Another Manziel fantasy. I thought there was a chance, but I just don’t see it happening now. As for Iaria’s, it is in my top 3 “secret eateries” in my travels to NFL cities. My No. 1 is in Jacksonville, FL. I’d tell you about it but then it wouldn’t be a secret anymore.

Hey Tony: Does Zac Diles play ILB or OLB and does he have a chance to make the roster and contribute or is he just experienced insurance?

-- Keith, Sandusky, OH

Hey Keith: Diles is an inside linebacker candidate who has a chance to make the roster.

Hey Tony: Great interview with Jim Nantz, Tony. Definitely your best since the new show. I was impressed with his in-depth knowledge of the Browns, especially when he analyzed last year’s draft. If the model is the Seahawks, the Browns will probably look at taller defensive backs like they did with Dansby. The two players I can see them going after at CB are Keith McGill from Utah or Stanley Jean-Baptiste from Nebraska. Both are 6'3 and ranked fairly high. What are your thoughts on these two guys in the 2nd or 3rd round?

-- Wade, Fort Myers, FL

Hey Wade: I have been crying for taller cornerbacks for at least 10 years – long before the Seahawks made it fashionable. I would “corner the market” on tall cornerbacks (over 6-2) and wouldn’t draft one under six feet. (Joe Haden and Buster Skrine would be grandfathered in, of course.)


Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and

He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Use the hashtage #HeyTony on Twitter or email your “Hey Tony” questions to

Follow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi




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