This April, Head Coach Hue Jackson, and the Cleveland Browns will try once again to get it right. Since 1999 the Browns have yet to have a franchise quarterback. They have drafted Tim Couch (#1, 1999), Brady Quinn (#22, 2007), Brandon Weeden (#22, 2012),and Johnny Manziel (#22, 2014) all in the first round, and they have all deflated Browns fans hopes like a Tom Brady football. So why the Browns are in yet another rebuild mode, I have an idea for a different possible yet improbable draft strategy that the Browns should attempt.
Step 1.) Keep Josh McCown, and Austin Davis regardless of how fragile and terrible they are. McCown is a veteran who is very capable of being a mentor to a young QB as they sit and watch from the sideline. Let McCown go out there and helicopter into the endzone leaving his heart and soul on the field which will keep us fans entertained until his ageing body fails him. When that happens don’t force the young rook into the game behind an O-Line who is now missing Pro Bowl C Alex Mack and a solid RT in Mitchell Schwartz, instead bring in Austin Davis who is a capable backup.
Step 2.) Draft Myles Jack the Outside Linebacker from UCLA. The dude is a stud. He can rush the passer, stop the run, and cover tight ends. He has closing speed that is next to none, he just need confidence when making his reads, but lets face it, the Browns aren’t going anywhere next year so give him his rookie year to learn on the job, he will make a few mistakes but he will also make a lot of plays and continue to develop.
Step 3.) With pick #32 (1st pick in the second round) take Jaylon Smith the Inside Linebacker out of Notre Dame. This is the key to my entire strategy. Before Smith suffered a gruesome injury during the Fiesta Bowl vs. Ohio State, he was expected to be a top 10 pick now he is not expected to even see the field next season and some wonder if he will even be able to play football again. For that reason Smith is expected to fall deep into the draft. The Browns should have their doctors run every kind of test and if it is determined that he will be able to recover from this injury the Browns should take no chances and grab him with the 32 overall pick. Even if Smith is required to sit out all of the 2016-2017 season, the following year the Browns defense would have two top 10 linebackers, along with top 10 pick Danny Shelton and another player who had first round talent but was grabbed late in the draft in Ifo Ekpre-Olmlu in their defense.
I can hear everyone saying “but the Browns need offense” “The Browns need a quarterback, they are never gonna win without a quarterback” and I would reply with: “really? because the Broncos needed Peyton Manning’s best effort to win the Super Bowl?” Peyton threw for 200 yards and didn’t really even need to do that because the Denver defense is the reason that Peyton got that ring. But at the same time, the Browns aren’t going to win anything with Josh McCown or Austin Davis so with that we move on to…
Step 4.) In Round 3 draft Cardale Jones. From everything I have read Cardale is expected to go anywhere from the 3-5 round range. I say we don’t risk missing out on Jones and we grab him in the 3rd round which might be a little high for him, but for the Browns and for the purpose of their rebuild, grabbing Jones in the 3rd round might work out perfect. If you look at Hue Jackson and the type of Quarterback he covets its mobile pocket passers with a strong arm. Cardale Jones fits that description perfectly. He is not ready to be an NFL quarterback. That goes back to what I was saying about McCown and Davis, while Jones sits and learns.
Now I can hear everyone saying “why would we waste 2 out of 3 picks on players that won’t even be playing?” I think it’s because the Browns are building for the future. We know its going to be a 3-4 year process to get the roster to where they want it to be. So why not acquire as much potential talent and develop that talent instead of throwing it into the fire and crossing your fingers that it turns out?
The Browns organization has tried almost everything except for the developmental route. With Hue Jackson being a QB guru I think that he could get the most out of Cardale Jones, and if Smith is cleared by doctors the Browns could have 2 of the best linebacker prospects. Not to mention with Mack, Schwartz, Gipson and Benjamin all leaving the Browns are expected to get 1 3rd, 2 4th, and 1 5th round compensatory picks for next season to continue to acquire talent and build for the future.
This strategy is not very likely to happen, but I would love to see the Browns go out and get their guys. I want to see a team filled with talent and potential instead of a team filled with hope.
Please comment your thoughts!!