Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Cleveland Browns have had a major clearout of their very uninspiring quarterback’s room now that there’s a new sheriff in town. That sheriff is GM John Dorsey and he ain’t messing around when it comes to getting the pieces in place to make the Browns a competitive team again.
Last year’s crop consisted of nothing more than backups and a rookie. God only knows how we expected anything more than we got from the season.
So, who’s gone and who’s come in for the 2018 NFL season?
Quarterbacks Cleared Out
Cody Kessler: Perhaps one of the most bizarre picks in the draft by Sashi Brown was that of Cody Kessler in the 3rd round of the 2016 event. Kessler could be described as just yet another USC QB who didn’t transfer well to the NFL along with the likes of Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley and Matt Leinart and could be a reason why many Cleveland Browns fans are worried about the team taking Sam Darnold with the 1st overall pick in 2018.
Kessler’s career with the Browns didn’t start too badly in 2016 considering he was a rookie and the team was pretty bad. He was forced into starting 8 games that year due to injuries to RG3 and Josh McCown. It was due to my forgiving nature (yes, I do have one…somewhere) that I was thinking he might be the guy to start for the Browns in 2017 as the offensive line was improved and he had a season of experience under his belt.
In 2017 he was the 3rd string QB behind Kevin Hogan and rookie DeShone Kizer. He was, again, forced into action due to injuries to the guys ahead of him and he looked, on the whole, appaling.
Yet again, maybe it’s due to bad management of young QB’s by the Cleveland Browns, but I’m glad Kessler has now gone and the fact that the new front office got anything for him astounds me. It’s only a conditional 7th-round pick in 2019, but still, he was going to be released anyway. It was the Jacksonville Jaguars who now have him on their roster as one of Blake Bortles’ backups.
Kevin Hogan: This is another guy that the front office has surprised me with their ability to get something in return for. They recently traded Kevin Hogan to the Washington Redskins for a swap of 6th-round picks. Basically, the Cleveland Browns get to move up 17 places in the 6th round this year.
I must admit that I quite liked Kevin Hogan as a backup QB and he proved on a few occasions in 2017 that he was pretty decent at it. Yet again I got a little carried away and thought he was the best of a bad bunch and wanted him to start. He did just that and was awful and the starter against the Houston Texans where he also suffered rib injuries and would be benched.
Hogan has flashed good ability as a scrambling QB that defences have to account for in that aspect of the game, which opens up the passing game a little for him. As a backup, this can put the defence on the back foot when he comes in as they have to try and adjust to him. Once they have, though, as the Texans did when they knew he would be starting, he’s not that much of a threat. All-in-all, Hogan is absolutely nothing more than a backup and one that I won’t miss in Cleveland.
I wonder if new Redskins starting QB, Alex Smith, had anything to do with Hogan getting the gig in Washington seeing as they were in the same QB room at the Kansas City Chiefs. I’d say he was consulted during the evaluation process before they made the move to get their new backup.
DeShone Kizer: Poor DeShone Kizer, this kid never had a chance in Cleveland as they were going through one of the lowest points of their existence.
Can you imagine being thrown in as the starter of one of the worst teams in NFL history at the age of 21 straight after coming out of college and being led by a head coach who is desperate to save his job and is willing to throw any and all others under the bus before he does so himself? Poor bastard!
Kizer has all the measurables and a strong arm that would tell us he was perfect for the Browns and to get him in the 2nd round of the 2017 NFL draft seemed like a perfect match. Perhaps he could be and will be used as a prime example of why people saying that a QB has to be over 6’4″ with big hands and a strong arm to play in the AFC North is total bollocks. Maybe I’m biased because I’d be more than happy to have Baker Mayfield as the rookie QB that the Browns take in this year’s draft and he’s only just over 6′ with smaller hands than some of the other top prospects and a decently strong arm rather than a “cannon”.
I wouldn’t have been upset if they’d kept DeShone Kizer as a backup to Tyrod Taylor this year to see if they could get his confidence back and resurrect his career. Instead, the new front office has decided to wipe the slate clean and traded him to the Green Bay Packers as part of the Damarious Randall deal.
Quarterbacks Brought In
Tyrod Taylor: The first and immediately most important addition to the Cleveland Browns’ QB room is that of former Buffalo Bills player, Tyrod Taylor.
A former 6th-round draft pick by the AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens in 2011, Tyrod Taylor was immediately announced as being the starting QB for the 2018 Cleveland Browns.
I can’t say that I’m a massive fan of Taylor’s, but he’s sure as hell better than anything we’ve had at the position for far too long now. Maybe I’m a little blinkered to his abilities due to my preferring a more pocket-passer type.
Taylor is a mobile QB who adds an extra headache to defences on game day with his running threat but he can also sling it with the best of them. He’s a player who doesn’t turn the ball over very often either, which is exactly what we need in Cleveland after what we’ve been subjected to in recent times.
It’s also worth noting that he’s the QB that took an average Buffalo Bills team to the playoffs in 2017, the first time they’ve appeared in them since 1999.
His addition to the Browns offence is huge! Add it to the addition of Jarvis Landry at WR, via a trade with Miami, and possibly Saquon Barkley at RB from the draft, as well as the other young weapons and improved offensive line and you suddenly have an altogether much improved (dare I say exciting) unit going into 2018.
We shouldn’t forget the addition of new offensive coordinator Todd Haley as well. With his arrival, along with a very different QB-type to the one he’s worked with in Pittsburgh for the past few years, it’s safe to say that nobody knows what type of offence the Browns will be running in the 2018 season — exciting times, indeed!
I saw today that someone had made mention of the fact that Tyrod Taylor is excellent against zone defences. Normally this would just be a good thing, but when you consider that the three AFC North rivals of the Browns are all very good in zone defence, you couldn’t be blamed for thinking that this John Dorsey chap might be a pretty clever chap.
Drew Stanton: Let’s be honest, there’s nothing to see here really. Drew Stanton has been brought in for no other purpose than to add that extra bit of veteran backup security to the new look QB room and will be expected to help bring through whichever rookie it is the team selects in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft.
He’s a former 2nd-round pick by the Detroit Lions back in 2007 but he’s never amounted to much, really. He’s not bad, but he’s not good either and has spent the past four seasons backing up Carson Palmer down in Arizona with the Cardinals.
2018 Rookie Quarterback(s): Well, the $64,000 question right now is, which QB will the Browns be taking with the 1st overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft?
Absolutely no-one from outside the Browns organisation can answer this question, no matter how much they try to convince us their opinion is worth listening to. Every single day there’s a new self-proclaimed expert trying to tell us who the Browns are going to pick but I’m afraid people that it’s the usual case of these “experts” slinging so much shit around in the hope that something will stick and they can claim to have told us all ages ago that they knew and that they are great and we should listen to them from now on.
Personally, I’m sick of the bullshit that’s being spouted on social media by these people as they try desperately to gain followers and credibility within the NFL scene. Having said that, I’m absolutely loving the fact that, because there is so much bullshit and changed opinions going on, this new front office of the Cleveland Browns are keeping the truth of what they intend to do under their hats and are keeping all the “experts” and other NFL teams guessing. This is great and keeps them in the driving seat should someone want to come up and trade for one of their picks. It’s just one more thing that gives me confidence in this front office.
Who do I think they’ll pick? I have no idea, and it could depend on how long they intend to keep Tyrod Taylor around. If they intend to just let him see out the final year of his current contract then I’d have to say the Browns will be drafting either Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield or even the uninspiring (to me anyway) Josh Rosen — I just don’t like the personality he gives off and have a hard time believing he has the mental toughness to be a great NFL QB. He could, and probably will, go and prove me wrong but he’s definitely my last choice as far as the perceived top-tier of QB’s in this class go.
If, however, they intend to extend Taylor’s contract, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them take Josh Allen seeing as he seems to be slightly behind the other three in terms of NFL-readiness but appeals to many as the one with the most potential. If they extend Taylor’s contract and let their new QB sit for 2-3 years, I’d say the pick would be Allen.
My three favourites are Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and Josh Allen as a first-round pick with Mike White selected in the fourth or fifth round (I’d feel more comfortable if it were the fifth but his good showing at the Senior Bowl could have upped his value somewhat).
So, the 2018 QB room will look very different to the awful one we had to put up with watching in 2017 and could, in fact, be a very exciting unit to watch. Most people are stating that Sam Darnold is the obvious choice for the Browns at first overall as he is the safest pick but, to be honest, I think I’d rather have Baker Mayfield if they intend to start their young guy in 2019 or Josh Allen if they intend to sit him a year longer.
I really don’t believe the bullshit people are spouting about Baker Mayfield being Johnny Football 2.0 and he’s clearly the best QB when on the field of play. Also, he’s the most like Tyrod Taylor in terms of measurables and play-style. Maybe that’s something to think about as the Browns evolve their new-look offence?
What do you think about the new look QB room and which of the rookie QB’s would you like to see the Browns take in the draft? Use the comment section below to let us know what you think.