Tom Reed has a pair of articles regarding the Browns in the NFL Draft, which is coming up this Thursday (I will be elsewhere and will miss the first round, sadly).
First, Reed offers his view of the first round. He assumes the Browns don’t trade up for Mariota (which I do think is unlikely). He has them taking DT Danny Shelton with the first pick and a WR I never heard of, Breshad Perriman with the second first rounder. I’m becoming a believer about Shelton; we need to stop the run, as I said in my schedule preview. Perriman, based on Reed’s assessment, seems like a bad call — we already had a tall receiver who had issues dropping the ball. I agree we need help out of the receiver position; I don’t agree that we should take the first tall guy we can, even if he is fast. We need a more complete and polished package at receiver to help out whomever the QB happens to be. If Shelton drops to #19, that would solve our problems neatly.
His other article discusses Mariota in the context of recently drafted QBs. His primary point is about the spread offense, and how it doesn’t really work in the pro game. He sums up his argument with this gem:
The majority of the NFL’s best quarterbacks in 2009 – Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers – remain its best quarterbacks today. The only young ones demonstrating any consistency are Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson, products of pro-style college programs.
I think Reed is overstating it, as some other QBs have at least been decent (like Nick Foles, Colin Kaepernick, Ryan Tannehill, RGIII when healthy, even Alex Smith). If your benchmark is truly elite, I’d have to agree, but you don’t need super elite QBs to win either. He closes the article by suggesting that this natural offensive deficiency is only going to get worse, so it makes sense for Cleveland to trade up and grab Mariota now if they think he’s the guy (although he argued in the first article that they ought to wait and grab Bryce Perry in a later round.) I’ve pretty consistently rejected the idea of selling the future for a QB: Cleveland is more than a QB away, and we still don’t know if Manziel has value. A late round pick, maybe, but unless Mariota drops to #12, let someone else take him.