Cleveland needed an offensive face lift after last season, when they finished 30th in the league in points scored, and only topped 20 points once (week 2 against Indianapolis). They lacked big-play ability and skill players.
Colt McCoy’s numbers are similar to Sam Bradford at this point in his career, another young quarterback playing with a deficient supporting cast. Bradford was the #1 pick, and the Rams are committed to moving forward with him. McCoy, on the other hand, must now be seen as part of the problem and not the solution.
The Browns added Trent Richardson early in the draft, and if he is as good as advertised, will have an immediate impact on the offense. However, as teams adapt to Richardson, the Browns will need to stretch the field. With the 22nd pick, they opted to select a passer they think can do that, Brandon Weeden from Oklahoma State.
It’s going to either be a crazy move, or show that the Browns are crazy like a fox. Weeden will turn 29 years old in October. Quarterbacks younger than Weeden started 48.4% of all games last year, and that number will rise in 2012 as Luck, Griffin and Tannehill also enter the league, and other draft picks like Jake Locker also will likely see action. I went through the age concerns with Weeden after the Senior Bowl, and the main concern is this – he’s right at peak age and until now has been compared to players much younger.
He better be good right away. I’m not crazy about the selection where they made it, but that’s because of supply and demand at that point. I don’t think anyone else was jumping into the first round to take Weeden, and they could have gone back by accepting an offer for a mid-round pick. If Weeden’s age is a concern for teams, any team where he is not going to project as a starter is likely out until the price becomes palatable for a backup. They aren’t going to take him to develop and have him start at age 31. Who is that in this draft, besides the Browns, after Miami took Tannehill?
That said, the salary structure does make taking Weeden in the first round more appealing than the second round. The Browns get four years of Weeden if he is a first round pick at a discounted rate. He’s going to make substantially less than guys who have signed free agent deals recently like Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn, Kevin Kolb, or Alex Smith. If he can start right away, the Browns have a starter at ages 29 to 32 who comes at a major discount. We should know fairly quickly if this pick is worth it. If he can’t beat out McCoy by opening day, it is not a good pick.
It’s something the Browns seem to be anticipating will happen. The word is they are already shopping Colt McCoy, and GM Tom Heckert said that “[i]t’s something we’ll talk about tonight and tomorrow.” There is no one that will be clamoring for McCoy for anymore than a backup price of a mid-round pick, so it would be moving him because they think it will be an issue and they don’t want McCoy as a backup after drafting Weeden. Reportedly, the Browns have already been in talks with the Packers, who need a reserve to backup up Rodgers after losing Flynn.
[photo via US Presswire]