I want to let you know something that you’re probably going to become wiser to over the coming college football months.
The upcoming NFL draft could be the most quarterback rich draft in a long time, or maybe even ever. I know, lofty words just 3 games in the college season. That’s why I delicately included the word COULD.
The Browns have become the Clippers (pre-Griffin) of the NFL. Since their resurrection they’ve been annual bottom dwellers in the league. What’s worse is, as a fan who can find a reason to watch ANY game, it’s a struggle to convince myself of a reason to stay tuned into a Browns game. They’re unwatchable. Sunday’s matchup against a wounded Ravens team was the NFL at it’s worst. At least with Jacksonville, there’s what’s left of Maurice Jones Drew.
It was fun to watch Josh Cribbs return kicks, but unless I go on a wide sweeping Google hunt, I can’t think of any dynamic must-see offensive players the Browns have employed since their NFL return. Peyton Hillis? That didn’t last long. Braylon Edwards? One phenomenal year and then his production plummeted.
Drafting Trent Richardson where they did in 2012 was misguided. I think we all recognized that then and now. Richardson is a fine back, and I’m cognizant of all the factors that go into any successful situation on an NFL team (lines gotta protect, pass helps the run, vice versa & etc…), but to provide some context, Richardson was drafted 3rd overall last year, and Alfred Morris was drafted 173rd.
The new Browns management did well to recoup a first round pick, though it COULD be the very last pick in the round (yes, the Colts can win the Super Bowl) for a position that should not be a challenge to fill. Long term that is.
As we started with though, it was going to be nearly impossible for the Browns to not have a vast array of options to choose from to take another bite at the sometimes fruitful, sometimes bitter franchise QB apple.
You know of Teddy Bridgewater, and probably Tajh Boyd, and of course Johnny Manziel. You know the juggernaut Oregon offense but do you know Marcus Mariota engineering it should be a very viable NFL option for teams.
More names you know: Bama’s AJ McCarron, and a guy who’s been on (and off too, admittedly) NFL radars for years, UGA’s Aaron Murray. Also in the SEC, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger is playing like a genuine NFL prospect now, starting off with 9 TDs and no INTs.
You’re less familiar with UCLA’s Brett Hundley, Stanford’s Kevin Hogan, Fresno State’s Derek Carr, San Jose State’s David Fales.
Walter Football projects all these names, and others, going in the third round or higher. I didn’t even mention Braxton Miller, or Devin Gardner, though that may be reaching.
I’m aware that some of these prospects will falter in the coming months, or they’ll be revealed as unworthy NFL signal callers. We laugh for having even included them in this post. Conversely though, there will be no-names that rise to the liking of NFL executives.
Could there be ten or twelve QBs taken in a record amount of time in May’s draft? Yes. Franchises without one, are in complete desperation for talented QBs. Yes, I know Geno Smith had an anvil attached to him in the draft, but my preferred QB of the draft was EJ Manuel anyway. I expected him to be scooped up maybe the Eagles trading back into the late first round. But we know Buffalo kicked the NFL world off its axis by taking him 15th. Why? He faced defenses that could actually stop offenses, unlike Smith in the Big 12 (not as in how many teams, as in how many players those teams need on D to oppose offenses ably), he was big, strong armed, and mobile but didn’t run any gimmicky offense that wouldn’t let his skills translate to the NFL.
The point is, whether the Browns traded Richardson or not, their season was targeted at a top ten pick with plentiful options to finally cure their prolonged QB ills.
My suggestion to the Browns, and I’m CERTAIN they know this already, goes like this: take your QB, then it should look like a Matt Millen draft. My tweet from last night.
Outside of QB, the #browns draft in May should look like a Matt Millen draft. WR, WR, WR, PLAYMAKER, WR, PLAYMAKING WR.
— Eric Chase (@Eric_Chase) September 18, 2013
As for the Colts, having already lost their unflashy top back, Vick Ballard, and now versatile TE Dwayne Allen, and with the Patriots offense in turmoil at this point, and Peyton Manning just lost his best offensive lineman, Ryan Clady, fcuk yeah Indy should head to the roulette table. The AFC is once again much weaker and more uncertain than the NFC, so acquiring Richardson could turn out to be a championship move.
BTW, I’m confident this deal was erected from Ryan Grigson and Joe Banner’s previous relationship as members of the Eagles front office.
When you need a deal, call a buddy.
When you think you need a running back, don’t take one in the top of the first round.
***Amid the shock, calm and mature words from Trent Richardson. I’m a fan.