For most people, routines are great to have. Wake up. Eat breakfast. Shower. Brush your teeth. Get dressed. Go to work. Come home. Eat. Relax. Sleep. It’s a whole lather, rinse, repeat process. Humans like routines and are naturally creatures of habit. Yet, there are instances where repeating something becomes bad for us. This is a bad habit. Everyone has at least one. I would even venture to say businesses and organizations have bad habits as well. The Cleveland Browns are a perfect example of an organization with bad habits. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at a few things.
For what seems to be the one-millionth time year in a row, the Cleveland Browns have yet another decision to make at the top of the order in the NFL Draft. The difference this time is that they have two of the first four picks this year. The front office and coaching staff have a long list of needs for the team, all of which could see a huge jolt with an addition of a top-four pick. However, everyone seems to think that with one of those two picks that the Browns “must” take a quarterback to finally find their franchise guy.
Newsflash: The quarterback isn’t the only issue that needs to be addressed.
This song and dance has been done so many times with the numerous front office and coaching staffs that have been put together by Cleveland since 1999. In the past 18 years of Cleveland Browns drafts, Cleveland has selected 24 players via a first-round draft pick. Four of those 24 players were quarterbacks. How many people can name all four of those quarterbacks without looking up the answer online? And out of those four, how many are still playing in the NFL today?
The technical answer to the answer is one is still playing, but he is not a starter, so some could argue that he technically isn’t playing. So, for the sake of argument, we will say it’s considered playing if they are named to an NFL roster. Now, can you guess who that one is?
Did you guess correctly? Are you sure?
The four quarterbacks that the Browns have drafted in the first-round since 1999 are Tim Couch (1999), Brady Quinn (2007), Brandon Weeden (2012) and Johnny Manziel (2014). Logic would say that the last latest one drafted (Manziel) is still playing in the NFL today but that is wrong. Johnny was released by Cleveland following the 2015 season. Weeden is actually the one on an NFL roster today, acting as backup to Marcus Mariota with the Tennessee Titans.
Some argue that Cleveland messed up in each of those drafts by selecting the wrong quarterback to their team because there were other quarterbacks that had, at least, decent careers that came out of those same draft classes. The first-round in the 1999 draft saw Couch, Donovan McNabb, Akili Smith, Daunte Culpepper and Cade McNown all being drafted as quarterbacks to the NFL. McNabb and Culpepper are probably the most known on the list. 2007 wasn’t nearly as bad with only two quarterbacks being drafted in the first-round. The Raiders took JaMarcus Russell first-overall while the Browns drafted Quinn with pick 22. 2012 saw four quarterbacks drafted in the first-round, with Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III selected first and second overall by the Colts and Redskins respectively. The Dolphins selected Ryan Tannehill with the eighth pick while the Browns took Weeden at 22. The 2014 Draft had three quarterbacks selected in the first-round, as Black Bortles went to Jacksonville with the third-pick, Manziel to Cleveland with pick 22, and Teddy Bridgewater to Minnesota with pick 32.
Needless to say, Cleveland hasn’t had much luck with selecting a quarterback in the first-round.
Yes, a number of teams have had success picking a quarterback with a first-round draft pick. Players like Peyton Manning, John Elway, Andrew Luck, Eli Manning, Dan Marino and many more have been picked with a first-round draft pick. However, given that out of the list of quarterbacks that Cleveland has drafted in the first-round in the past 18 years, what makes everyone think that this time will be different? Out of that list of quarterbacks, Tim Couch spent the most time on the Browns roster with five years. Even Out of the list of 28 different starting quarterbacks that Cleveland has seen since 1999, Couch not only has spent the most amount of time on the roster as a quarterback, but he is the only quarterback on that list to start all 16 games in one season for the team.
Now that Browns’ owner Jimmy Haslam has put John Dorsey in position as the team’s new general manager, changes have started and are expected to continue to happen. Why not start here? Every front office and coaching regime in Cleveland has adopted the mantra that they need to have their own guy in at quarterback. How has that worked out for the Browns? Let me point you back to the list of 28 different quarterbacks that Cleveland has suffered through and tell you that it hasn’t worked.
The old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” What’s the saying when everything is broke? If the plan going into the off-season is to focus on bringing a veteran quarterback to Cleveland, then why waste yet another draft pick on a quarterback? Bring that veteran in and let him work with DeShone Kizer for a year or two? What is lost in doing that? The plethora of draft picks that Cleveland has will be used to fix other areas that need attention and the quarterback position will have a veteran at the helm. Drafting a quarterback will not fix all of the issues in Cleveland that need attention. Dorsey needs to break the current mold in Cleveland and do things differently in regards to the quarterback situation. Why not go drastic with it?