The Cleveland Browns find themselves in the usual predicament. They don’t have a quarterback, and they’re trying to find a new coach. With Rob Chudzinski out so quickly after Sunday’s game, it’s safe to assume they already had someone in mind to fill the role.
According to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com:
“The Browns wanted to interview [Josh] McDaniels last year, but he wasn’t ready to leave New England. A source told cleveland.com last year that McDaniels would ‘jump at the chance’ to coach his hometown team when he was ready to return to the head coaching ranks.”
Hiring Josh McDaniels seems like a pretty safe assumption with Bill O’Brien rumored to be on top of the Houston Texans‘ list. While both candidates have ties to Michael Lombardi in New England, McDaniels is from Northeast Ohio, having played football at Canton McKinley High School and John Carroll University.
It has also long been known that Michael Lombardi is a fan of Ryan Mallet (unlike Josh Gordon). The Browns need someone to bring in to camp to compete, especially if Brian Hoyer might not be ready. Moreover, if the Browns weren’t happy with Chudzinski through the last half of the season, they probably weren’t with Jason Campbell either.
This is sheer speculation, but listen to what Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller had to say:
Of all the teams drafting in the top 10 that need a QB, I’m least convinced the #Browns draft one.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) December 30, 2013
With the 4th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Browns are behind the Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars, both of whom need a quarterback. With Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr rated fairly high, that leaves UCF QB Blake Bortles and Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel as the next men up. But the problem with Bortles is he’s a project. And maybe the Browns like Manziel, looking for an entertainer and face of the franchise, but there are question marks surrounding his playing style at the next level. At least the comparisons to Robert Griffin III resonate with me, and I’d prefer to stay away from durability issues with such a coveted pick.
Now that the Browns have a second round pick again, one that the Patriots would surely jump at given they took Mallett in the third round in 2011, this isn’t out of the realm of possibility. With just 1 completion for 17 yards, an INT and a QB rating of 5.2 to his name in the NFL, it’s not enough of a sample size to properly evaluate how he’ll perform at this level. He’s 6’7″ with a very strong arm. He’s the pocket passer that teams seem to come back to year in and year out. So I say give it a shot. Trade for Mallet. Take South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney if he happens to fall to 4. Or surely Clemson WR Sammy Watkins will be there. Can you imagine that pairing with Gordon? That duo could even top Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery in Chicago.
Let me know what you think in the comments section below. Should we draft a QB? Should we stay put with Hoyer? Or should we make a trade for someone with a little experience under their belt?