The Bucking Broncho: Believeland
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Corey Coleman (19) sits on the field after allowing a pass from quarterback DeShone Kizer to go through his hands for an incompletion during the second half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
The Cleveland Browns became the second team ever to finish a season defeated at 0-16. The last team to do so was the 2008 Detroit Lions, led by quarterbacks Drew Henson, Dante Culpepper, Drew Stanton and Dan Orlovsky.
Unlike the Lions, the city of Cleveland jokingly embraced the winless team and threw a defeated parade in their honor.
The Browns faced a similar quarterback carousel this season with Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan and DeShone Kizer. Kizer started most of the regular season, throwing 11 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. The Browns selected Kizer last season in the second round of the NFL draft, but it doesn’t look like they’re getting much in return for their investment.
The Browns have started 27 different quarterbacks since the franchise came back to Cleveland in 1999, with only Derek Anderson making a Pro Bowl. Cleveland has tried almost every strategy on how to pick a quarterback; traded for four, drafted 10 and signed 13, but none of the quarterbacks have stayed for longer than four seasons.
In that time, the Browns have avoided the most common way of taking a quarterback, which is drafting one with a top pick in the NFL draft. The last quarterback they drafted with the first pick was Tim Couch, who they selected over Eagles legend Donovan McNabb.
The failures of Tim Couch shouldn’t scare the organization from taking a quarterback this season with the top pick in this year’s NFL draft. Couch was stuck in a bad situation with a new NFL expansion team that was nowhere near ready to win, nevertheless protect a rookie quarterback.
Browns fans are thinking “oh no, not another rookie quarterback,” but taking a quarterback with one of the top picks is different than taking one late in the first round or later rounds. It shows that the organization is all-in for their quarterback and has one in mind. The Browns need to stop taking a quarterback because they like the value where they selected him.
The last three quarterbacks the Browns selected in the first round — Johnny Manziel, Brandon Weedon and Brady Quinn — were all selected late in the first round. There are multiple teams in the NFL that select quarterbacks in the later rounds and it has worked, but this strategy has not worked for the Browns.
Cleveland has tried to take shortcuts in finding their franchise quarterback for years now and it has reflected through the team’s record over the years. The Browns may say “well we just haven’t found a quarterback we have fallen in love with yet” under the Hue Jackson regime, but the team has had the chance to select Carson Wentz, Jared Goff and Deshaun Watson with their high first round pick and elected to trade the pick.
The Browns need to stop passing on quarterbacks early in the draft. They should buy in on who they think is the best quarterback in this year’s draft and show the quarterback why they call the city Believeland. If the team doesn’t find a franchise quarterback soon, the defeated parade may not be a one-time thing.