Countdown to The Draft
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By Will Burge
Fredrick Douglas once said, “if there is no struggle, there is no progress.” This quote may in fact be the key to the quarterback position in 2013 for the Browns.
New rumors have emerged that the Browns brass are interested in trading second year QB Brandon Weeden. Less than one year after the old regime spent the 22nd overall pick on him, it seems as though Lombardi, Banner and company want to move in a different direction.
*Is trading Brandon Weeden a possibility for the Browns? Some around the league think so. The belief is that the new management team of Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi don’t think much of Weeden, and they could try to deal him when they can get something for him.
This comes just a week after Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported that the Browns badly want an upgrade over Brandon Weeden, whether it’s through the draft or free agency.
The two terms to look at in those reports are, “when they can get something for him” and “upgrade.”
The reality of the situation is that Weeden is not worth a whole lot on the open market. The most I could see anyone giving up for him at this point is a fourth or fifth round draft pick. In the same vein, there is not really an upgrade available on the market either. Are there QB’s who could possibly push Weeden in training camp? Sure, but the word “upgrade” for any of those guys, including Alex Smith, is a far stretch.
If the Browns decided that drafting a QB high is the way they want to go it would be another season of rookie mistakes and a roll of the dice to find the next Russell Wilson. Weeden already experienced the struggles of a rookie NFL season and can immediate begin to build off those lessons. There is no clear cut “franchise QB” in this draft. In fact, Weeden might be the best of that crop anyway.
ESPN’s draft guru Mel Kiper said on a conference call this week that Brandon Weeden could very well be the first QB taken in this draft if he was a part of it.
“Nobody right now is in this draft saying, 'if I’m Cleveland, I’ve got to take this quarterback even though I have Brandon Weeden.' There’s no quarterback that screams out, saying, ‘take me, even though you have Weeden because I’m that much better.’ There’s nobody,” said Kiper. “So I don’t think Cleveland’s going to be able to find that guy.''
Why is it that a rookie QB who threw for 3,385 yards (second most among possibly the best rookie class ever and only the third 3,000 yard passer for the Browns since Bernie Kosar) is being thrown to the curb as if his NFL storyline has already been written?
Is it his age?
Age is a legitimate concern, but in the new NFL where the rules protect the QB more than anyone else in sports, 29 is not that old. There is no reason to force a change that does not upgrade the position.
Maybe the Browns are looking at this the wrong way.
Why can’t they look at Brandon Weeden as a Josh Gordon type player? Gordon was selected in the second round of the NFL’s supplemental draft which essentially gave the Browns a one year head start working with the young man.
If Gordon was in the 2013 draft, he would undoubtedly be a first round pick and possibly one of the top wide receivers taken.
If Weeden truly would be the top QB taken in this draft, didn’t the Browns just get a one year head start on him as well? Both players struggled at times last season, but they both still had above average numbers in an offense that in no way fit either of their skill sets.
If Weeden is allowed to stretch the field, which he most certainly will be under Norv Turner, his natural abilities would be highlighted, not diminished.
To trade Brandon Weeden without a clear upgrade at the position would be a grave mistake and purely ego driven.
Winning should sit above all else on this regimes’ priority list, even if it means winning with the “last guy’s” QB.
|Will Burge covers the Browns for ESPNCleveland.com and hosts 3 Deep, Monday - Friday from 7pm-9pm.|
Follow Will on Twitter @WillBurge
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