There’s been a lot of talk surrounding who will be under centre for next seasons Browns, the new regime will likely go back to the draft to try and solve the all important issue, but in the short term what’s the best way to proceed? This is a key question raised not just here at BBW but throughout the NFL world. In truth a combination of draft and free agency may be the path to sustained success for this often dreadful franchise.
Take a look if you will at the skill position players available to Hue Jackson (yes, he still has a job) and the list is a promising one.
RB 1: Crowell
RB 2: Johnson
WR 1: Gordon
WR 2: Coleman
WR 3: Louis
This group of players would all find work on other NFL squads if the Browns disbanded tomorrow (hey, there’s an idea), and the only thing stopping them from producing success on the field is the failure of the organisation to correctly assess and fill the QB void. Throw the name DeShone Kizer into the above mix and the needle barely twitches, but toss in an experienced signal caller and the picture begins to look quite rosy. Here are three QBs that I think are most likely to be effective under centre for the Browns in 2018.
- Tyrod Taylor, the Bills QB has been hugely under valued by his current team despite doing good things in an average to poor organisation. In the last two seasons with the Bills Taylor has 38 total TDs (9 rushing, 29 passing) compared to just 10 INTs and 1 lost fumble. He is truly a dual-threat QB who can operate with restricted talent around him. Think about how much defence would have to be dedicated to stopping the run game of the Browns with T-mobile at QB alongside Crowell & Johnson operating out of the backfield too. This would free up more space for the receiving unit to operate whilst not being dependant on a turnover-prone Quarterback to call these shots.Taylor is a good example of what Kizer could become with proper coaching and time to learn. The ignominious benching in favour of Nate “pick6” Peterman should how the Bills feel about their future with Taylor, there isn’t one.
- Alex Smith, or as he should be correctly known, “the much-maligned” Alex Smith is in a contact year and under pressure within his team. When the Chiefs are doing well then Kareem Hunt or Tyreek Hill get all the positive coverage, but when they lose 6 of 7 then Smith is solely at fault apparently. What lays ahead for Smith depends on how much progress has been made by 2017 draftee Patrick Mahomes and the fate of the teams playoff push this season. If he succeeds in getting to the Championship game then i suspect he gets another year where he is, but if not then the clamour for a more expansive passing game may be too much to dampen. For what its worth I think the Chiefs are mad to discard a proven NFL winner, but the Browns would certainly benefit from picking him up.
- Sam Bradford. Yeah, him. Why not? Record completion percentage in 2016 and a decent start in 2017 but Bradford is on I.R in a contact year and in his place Case Keenum has been excellent. Factor in the return to fitness for Teddy Bridgewater and this QB room is suddenly overcrowded. Bradford looks to be the odd man out. A veteran presence under centre who has proven that he can lead a team in difficult circumstances, the Browns could do a lot worse than pick up a former no.1 pick who always seems to have a point to prove.
If you add any of the above list to the offensive line up the chances of success look dramatically better. ..
So, take your pick from the above, retain Kizer as an in-training back up who has a years experience and would only benefit from the time to recover from a terrible debut season, set Kessler and Hogan free as neither have shown any hint of being a starter, and then we get to the draft. The Browns have 6 picks in the first three rounds, and they should spend them wisely. Improve the defensive side of the ball and look for the new Joe Thomas but for Gods sake dont pass up on the chance to grab a QB. Be it Darnold (who seems to have the most potential), Rosen (who looks the most ready), Mayfield (who is phenomenal on his day but flawed too) or Lamar Jackson (the new Michael Vick?) Take the best one and roll with them behind the experienced guy. Let them grow and win the roll outright. Hopefully. The Browns need a plan, this is a plan. Follow it!
There is hope for the future if the Browns build this team the right way. Keeping Hue Jackson seems ridiculous to me but those in the game seem to think he has more to offer…if so…how about showing it now, win 3 games and you can stay, fail and you should walk away ashamed. In short the equation for success is QB+QB(xTime)+O-line-Jackson.