Going into Thursday night’s game, the excitement among Browns fans over the play of Brian Hoyer was spectacular. Two drives later, they were left speechless and stunned as he limped to the sideline with a right knee injury.
It’s no secret Hoyer was brought in due to the fact General Manager Mike Lombardi had followed his career very closely in New England, under friend and former colleague Bill Belichick. It also didn’t hurt being the understudy to Tom Brady for three years.
With that being said, it’s obvious this regime doesn’t believe Brandon Weeden is the answer. As a matter of fact, up until the the second drive last Thursday, it was looking like Brian Hoyer may have been on his way to becoming the quarterback of the future in Cleveland. Now with just a two game audition, the front office has a decision to make.
Did Mike Lombardi and President Joe Banner see enough in those two starts to believe they can use those two first round picks in the 2014 Draft elsewhere? It’s an interesting question, but might be too much of a leap of faith for two games.
In order for the Browns to secure the number one pick in the draft, they will have to out duel the likes of the winless Jacksonville Jaguars and the New York Giants for that right. As you all know, the dreaded Steelers are also winless, but would never make that trade within the division. So in other words, they will have to package both of those picks to get up to that coveted spot to get the top quarterback available.
With that being said, the odds of the Jaguars giving up the first pick in the draft is virtually impossible, so we would have to hope the Giants were the ones holding the coveted spot.
It’s still early on in the college football season to project the clear cut number one signal caller, but there are a few names that keep popping up consistently. Teddy Bridgewater out of Louisville and Brett Hundley of UCLA, as of now, are the top two on the radar of the quarterback needy teams heading into the draft.
What makes the picture very intriguing is the possibility of several outstanding quarterbacks being available when Commissioner Roger Goodell steps to the podium. It seems this may be an exceptional quarterback class with the likes of Tajh Boyd of Clemson, Marcus Mariota of Oregon, A.J. McCarron of Alabama and quite possibly Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M all being part of the 2014 Draft.
With that being said, the Browns brass doesn’t necessarily have to put all their eggs in one basket and package both picks to get up to one for their quarterback. They can still go ahead and use one of the first round picks on a quarterback, but they don’t have to sacrifice the second one as well.
For example, if the Browns end up with the 7th and 20th picks in the draft, the Browns can use that 7th pick on the quarterback and use the 20th on a need position. Using this strategy, the rookie quarterback doesn’t have to start in 2014 and you can give Hoyer a chance to prove he is the quarterback of the future. Worst case scenario, Hoyer is the guy and you can develop the rookie a la Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay.
Needless to say, it is gonna be quite interesting to see what the Browns brain trust has in store as we inch closer and closer towards the 2014 NFL Draft.