Must Browns Take a Quarterback at #1?

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

As the 2018 edition of the NFL Combine winds down, we in Cleveland are embarking on our yearly visit to Quarterback Drama Town. While everyone agrees that the team needs to address this position NOW, the Combine numbers and game film from Saquon Barkley have opened the door to the question: Must the Cleveland Browns take a quarterback with their first pick in the draft?

The short answer: Yes. And here’s why…

DeShone Kizer, Kevin Hogan, Cody Kessler. That is the current quarterback room.

Josh McCown, Charlie Whitehurst, Robert Griffin III, Austin Davis, Johnny Manziel, Connor Shaw, Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden, Jason Campbell, Thad Lewis, Seneca Wallace, Colt McCoy, Jake Delhomme…. need I continue?  Those are the last seven years worth of quarterbacks.

But perhaps the biggest reasons that the Browns must take a quarterback first this year are Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Pat Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. They either passed on these guys in last year’s draft or didn’t make a move to get one.  Until their injuries took them out, Wentz and Watson were in the MVP conversations last year.  Which left fans asking the front office why the Browns didn’t take either of them. How could they miss on such obvious talent?

That question, and many more, led to a ‘Cleaning of the Front Office House’ and a new group of gentlemen will be making the draft decisions this year. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t know the history. That doesn’t mean they don’t read social media and listen to sports talk radio. I’m sure it doesn’t weigh heavily into their decisions, but those things do indeed carry weight.

By taking a QB first, the Browns are assured of getting their number one guy, their first choice. No talk later about someone else grabbing up the guy they really wanted.  No excuses. GM John Dorsey and his team must stick their necks out and declare to the world who they value the most in this year’s QB class. And take him first overall.

Keep this in mind: Dorsey, Alonzo Highsmith, and Eliot Wolf have incredible scouting resumes. When asked what the five most important positions were in the NFL to win games, Dorsey said:  QB, pass rusher, left tackle, cornerback, and receiver. I believe that their draft board will reflect talent for these positions in multiple rounds. While there are other positions of need on this team, this will be their main focus.

Let’s talk running back. No one argues that Saquon Barkley is special. I’ve heard him called “Zeke Elliott without off-the-field issues” and that may be underselling his potential. But I also know that many GMs out there feel running backs are not top ten draftable guys; that you can get one nearly as good in later rounds for a cheaper price. And maybe they are right.

As much as I love the thought of Barkley in brown and orange, the reality is that this team isn’t ready for an elite running back. They MUST get the quarterback question answered. They MUST get to a point where there is no question who will be starting each year because they have finally found the franchise QB they’ve been searching for.  THEN they can add the flash, the glitter, the icing on their cake. And who is to say Barkley won’t still be there at #4?

For now, Duke Johnson Jr. gets it done just fine. With new offensive coordinator Todd Haley calling the plays, I suspect we will see an uptick in the number of rushing plays they run this season. Which will help whoever ends up behind center.

Talk Browns football with Kate on Twitter // @ClvlndK8 

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