Monday, March 28, 2016

Once more with feeling: Do not take a QB at #2

Let me be the first person, maybe the only person, to strongly suggest the Browns do not select a quarterback with the second pick of next month’s college football draft. 

I’m speaking from a public standpoint, of course, since just about all those in the media, both national and local Cleveland-based, advocate Cleveland taking a quarterback with that precious pick.

As has been written previously on this blog, that would be a huge mistake, considering who will be available at No 2.

It’s getting lonely out here on this perch with the lottery exactly a month away and the Browns all in – at least for the coming season – on Robert Griffin III as their quarterback.

If they honestly believe new coach Hue Jackson can successfully rehabilitate the 26-year-old Griffin, why muddy the waters by bringing in another quarterback with such a lofty selection?

When taking a quarterback with a selection like that, you better be damn certain that player will be the franchise quarterback this franchise has ached to uncover since the resurrection in 1999.

He is going to sit on the bench in the first season, watching and learning all there is to know about making the transition to the National Football League. In a way, it is a wasted pick for at least one year.

There are so many holes on this team’s roster that practically beg to be filled, not the least of which is on defense at a position now called edge rusher. As Peter King of Sports Illustrated’s MMQB Web site correctly pointed out, “The Browns have more question marks than 10 teams in the league combined.”

At the risk of sounding repetitive, this team needs a pass rush in a far-out way. It’s undoubtedly the No. 1 weakness on this team.

When a team has the luxury – an oxymoron considering a team has to be really bad to warrant such a position – of such a high selection, extremely careful thought should be given before making it.

There is no quarterback in this draft class good enough to be considered, let alone selected, for the No. 2 pick. Not Carson Wentz. Not Jared Goff.

Once again at the risk of being repetitive, there are no Andrew Lucks or John Elways or Peyton Mannings in this class. If the Browns were picking lower in the first round, then maybe a Wentz or Goff should be considered.

When you have the likes of offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, cornerback Jalen Ramsey, defensive linemen Joey Bosa and DeForest Buckner and linebacker Myles Jack at the top of draft boards, taking a lesser rated quarterback at No. 2 is ignorant.

Picking for a need at No. 2 is equally ignorant. That is exactly what the Browns would be doing if they take Wentz or Goff. When drafting that high, best player on the board is the call.

Now if this were last season and the Browns had the second overall pick, I would have had no problem whatsoever endorsing either Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota. They were worthy of the top two picks and proved it. They were ready to make the tough transition. 

As has been written here earlier, my choice this year would be Bosa, a playmaking defensive lineman who has the tools to be something that has been missing from the defense for a long time – a leader. He could be the jump starter that side of the ball desperately needs.

I do not for a minute believe the Browns have Wentz or Goff rated higher than the aforementioned five players. If I’m wrong, then this team is clearly headed in the wrong direction. I am not against taking a quarterback somewhere along the way, though. Just not this high.

Griffin, well aware the Browns are considering taking a quarterback, says he has no problems with the club drafting someone at his position and would be willing to mentor.

“If they draft a quarterback, I’ll take him under my wing,” he said like a good soldier. “I’m considered a veteran now . . . I’ve been through a lot more than a lot of guys go through in their entire careers.

“I’ve got a lot of experience. I can help a young guy, but it’s not my focus . . . If they draft a quarterback, it doesn’t bother me at all. I’m just ready to compete.”

But why do that when he will have enough problems trying to rehabilitate his own career? He shouldn’t have to worry about shepherding a rookie.

Want a quarterback? Why not pick #32 at the top of the second round or #65 in round three? Is there that much difference between quarterbacks still on the board at those spots and either Wentz of Goff?

Not enough to make a risky selection with the second overall pick.

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