Cleveland Browns: All rookie quarterbacks are projects

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 27: A detailed view of the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on April 27, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 27: A detailed view of the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on April 27, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) /

Rookie quarterbacks have different skill sets and all should have a legitimate chance to succeed, whether they are a member of the Cleveland Browns or not.

If the Cleveland Browns could go back in time, hopefully, they would have made two key decisions with their quarterback position. The first would be retaining Josh McCown to mentor DeShone Kizer. The other decision would be to not play Kizer at all this season.

Unfortunately, both ships have sailed with those scenarios. I was okay with Kizer starting if he had to play when Cleveland faced the Detroit Lions (but not before then). With the subpar at best options on the roster though, Kizer provided the Browns the best chance to win.

If Kizer was able to sit and learn I guarantee the fanbase would view Kizer’s rookie season differently. Since the wheels fell off the tracks quickly this season and Kizer was thrown into the fire, Cleveland will be adding a quarterback in the upcoming offseason.

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If/when a replacement is hired to replace Hue Jackson as head coach, maybe Kizer gets that worthwhile shot with proper teachings. I know, wishful thinking.

Knowing that another quarterback will be added is nothing new, but exactly how and when the Browns add that player remains to be seen. Many fans already have their favorite or preference at quarterback. That’s okay but keep in mind that there is a lot to evaluate from now until the draft. There is going to be plenty of changes in terms of teams’ preferences, rankings, and more.

That said, regardless of who you like now none of them are perfect prospects. None are flawless and are franchise quarterbacks on day one.

I know this is extreme but NFL greats Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Peyton Manning and more proved to be the right choices but it took time and there were flaws in their games. On the other hand, the opposite could be said for quarterbacks like Brady Quinn, Matt Leinart, and Akili Smith. They were highly regarded but proved to be busts.

Cleveland could end up with UCLA’s Josh Rosen, Wyoming’s Josh Allen, USC’s Sam Darnold, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, or Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. Not all of them are worth the first overall pick and some may be better off playing another position if quarterback doesn’t work.

Who knows what general manager John Dorsey truly wants to do right now. A good rule of thumb is to not believe anything right now when it comes to draft talk.

With free agency and teams trading up for quarterbacks, a Rosen, Mayfield, or Darnold could end up in a situation no one envisioned. Did many really expect the Kansas City Chiefs to trade up for Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes? Of course not.

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Let’s say all five of those quarterbacks declares. If that’s the case, only three are first rounders as of now: Mayfield, Rosen, and Darnold. A team drafting late could in theory draft Jackson or Allen for the fifth-year option.

Although it appears the order is pretty set now, there are four months until we actually know where those players go. Therefore, especially because of quick risers and front office changes, nothing should be assumed.

Maybe Cleveland doesn’t go with any of them. I doubt that but just because Cleveland needs a quarterback does not mean any must go 1:1. The 2018 quarterback draft class is not my favorite in recent years. In fact, any team that takes one should sit him. They are simply not ready.

Whether it is Rosen’s concussion and shoulder issues, Darnold’s decision-making and turnover prone play, Allen’s accuracy concerns, or something else, all have at least one major thing to work on.

For those wanting a rookie quarterback, especially one that is drafted in the first round, I get it. Any other year I am completely sold but this year is a bit different. I’ll put it this way: I’d more than likely still take one first overall or in the top six if I felt good enough about the prospect but none of them would be as close as my recent past QB1s: Philadelphia Eagles’ Carson Wentz and Mahomes.

There have been rookies that have made plays but that doesn’t mean they fixed the flaws associated with their games. The jump from their first to second seasons is so crucial. However Cleveland adds that signal-caller, patience must be implemented.

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Otherwise, the Browns will have another Kizer. In time with the right surroundings, Cleveland’s next quarterback will fix his flaws.