With the NFL Draft upcoming at the end of the month, it is a good time to reevaluate what the positions of need are for the Browns. Most people would say linebacker and safety are big needs while depth on the offensive and defensive lines may be next up on the list. Very few people would suggest that quarterback is a position of need but it would definitely be prudent for the Browns to draft one.
Obviously, the Browns do not need a starting quarterback as they have Baker Mayfield and with Drew Stanton still on the team, they have a solid backup, but at the moment, that is all they have and there aren’t any good options in free agency. Drafting a quarterback late in the draft can be very beneficial and something that front office members John Dorsey, Elliot Wolf and Alonzo Highsmith learned to do when they were with the Green Bay Packers.
In the mid-90s the Green Bay Packers were famous for drafting quarterbacks even though they had Brett Favre. The other quarterbacks would come in and learn from the quarterback friendly coaching staff; which included Mike Holmgen, Andy Reid, Steve Mariucci and Jon Gruden amongst others. After some time with the Packers these quarterbacks would get traded away and have an opportunity to start for other teams. This happened with Mark Brunell in 1993, Matt Hasselbeck in 1998 and Aaron Brooks in 1999.
The Browns have a group of quarterback friendly coaches in Head Coach Freddie Kitchens, OC Todd Monken and QB coach Ryan Lindley. Kitchens and Lindley worked with Baker last season and helped him improve throughout the second half of the season while Monken was bringing his quarterback magic to Ryan Fitzpatrick in Tampa Bay. This group, along with Drew Stanton, is going to get the best out of Baker and can teach the fundamentals to a rookie signal caller. Then after a few years, the Browns can trade away the young quarterback to take care of more pressing needs.
Additionally, having only two quarterbacks on the roster is a scary thought. What would happen if Baker gets hurt for a week or two, Stanton could come in and keep the team afloat, but who will be Stanton’s backup? Drafting a late round quarterback can help in such a situation. While we expect big things from Baker, we cannot be naive and think it isn’t possible that he can get hurt.
These quarterbacks should not be finished products like Kyler Murray or Dwayne Haskins. Drafting players like that brings a quarterback controversy, which is not what you want. What is needed is a player who has certain skills but lacking in others. Then coach him up and see what he can achieve.
A few players who fit this plan are Tyree Jackson from Buffalo, Jake Browning from Washington, Brett Rypien from Boise State and Trace McSorley from Penn State. All of these quarterbacks have weaknesses that they need to improve and Cleveland may be the best place for them to work on it. Additionally, while they have weaknesses, all of these quarterbacks played well enough in college for them to be a good insurance policy in case of an injury.