COMMENTARY | The Cleveland Browns have two picks in the 2014 NFL Draft - the 4th and 26th picks. But the team should use neither of the two picks on a quarterback. The Browns should instead get a quarterback via free agency.
In the strike-shortened 1987 season, Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar was elected to the Pro Bowl after throwing for 22 touchdowns and over 3,000 yards in 12 games. That was the last time a Browns quarterback that was drafted by the team went on to the Pro Bowl.
Since the re-birth of the Browns in 1999, the team has drafted seven quarterbacks:
1999 - Tim Couch (1st pick overall)
2000 - Spergon Wynn (6th round)
2004 - Luke McCown (4th round)
2005 - Charlie Frye (3rd round)
2007 - Brady Quinn (22nd overall)
2010 - Colt McCoy (3rd round)
2012 - Brandon Weeden (22nd overall)
The total Pro Bowl appearances of these seven quarterbacks to date? Zero.
In fact, the last Browns quarterback to make the Pro-Bowl was Derek Anderson in 2007. The team signed him off waivers in 2005.
The Browns just can't draft a good quarterback. It would not be a bad idea for the team to not draft a quarterback at all in the 2014 draft. The team should just stick with picking up a free agent quarterback, like it did in signing Brian Hoyer in 2013.
Hoyer played well in the three games he started, helping to lead the Browns to three straight victories and a tie for first in the AFC North after Week 5 of the 2013 season. Unfortunately he suffered a season-ending injury in his third start against Buffalo, with his injury ultimately derailing the team's season. While Hoyer is signed with the team through 2014, questions remain on if or when he can fully recover from his injury and regain his 2013 form.
Brandon Weeden will almost definitely be released this season. His confidence was shot and his play regressed in 2013. Jason Campbell has a good chance of being let go as well, as his numbers were pedestrian and the team won only one game with him as the starter. However, it would be a good idea for the Browns to retain Campbell for his veteran presence and experience.
The Browns need to look at the current crop of free agents to bolster their quarterback position. While the majority of the free agents quarterbacks are average at best, there are a few potential gems.
Even at age 33, Michael Vick still has the talent to be a good quarterback. His biggest problem is staying healthy, partly due to his reluctance to slide and avoid big hits. Assuming the Browns sign him, if the Browns can upgrade their running game and convince Vick it's in his best interest to avoid taking unnecessary hits, he could be primed for a huge season with the team.
Josh McCown looked very good filling in for Jay Cutler with the Chicago Bears in 2013. In fact, some argued that he actually performed better than Jay Cutler last year. McCown could be a very good fit and have the same kind of effect on the team in 2014 that Anderson had in 2007.
Chad Henne played pretty well for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013, considering the talent he had around him. If Henne comes to Cleveland, his numbers should be better, with wide receiver Josh Gordon and tight end Jordan Cameron as his targets.
Last was not a good year for Josh Freeman. But it might be worth it for the Browns to bring him in and run him through training camp to see if they can help him regain his 2010 form (when he had 25 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers). A fresh start with the Browns might be the perfect solution for Freeman's recent struggles.
Ray McFarland is a lifelong Browns fan who cannot bear to see yet another quarterback draft bust. Instead, he yearns for the second coming of Derek Anderson.
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