2012 NFL Draft: The One Where the Cleveland Browns Check Brandon Weeden’s ID


This month, Andrew Luck is going to become the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Three months ago, Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden beat him in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

As shabby as that is not, Weeden is projected to be the fourth quarterback taken in this draft, behind Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Ryan Tannehill.

The reason: Weeden is six years older than all of them. He’ll be a 29-year-old rookie this season.

This has muddied his prospect picture. His physical prime is coming to an end, and his window to win playoff games would be far shorter than the traditional celebrity quarterback enjoys.

Luck, for example, will be replacing Peyton Manning, who gave the Indianapolis Colts 13 sparkling years.

In 13 years Weeden will be 40, just like his coach.

This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be entertained to see the Browns draft Justin Blackmon or Trent Richardson at No. 4, then nab Weeden at No. 22 or No. 37. It’s a creative way of bringing in a new quarterback while getting a cornerstone playmaker in the same draft.

And it’s not like Weeden sacrificed his youth to a Mormon mission in Bangladesh – he entered college as a 24-year-old freshman because he pitched five years of minor league baseball. He’s an athlete.

But quarterback is the hardest position of them all, and because of his age, the window to compete with Weeden, to develop his skills and build around him, would need to be accounted for.

Mike Holmgren and Pat Shurmur would need to adjust that West Coast offense learning curve accordingly. They’ve stated that it takes years to learn their system, which is fine when you’re covering for Colt McCoy, not when you’re drafting an old man.

In three years Brandon Weeden will be 32, older than any Super Bowl-winning quarterback in the past decade:

  • Eli Manning made it to the Super Bowl in four NFL years. He was 27 when he won his first title, 31 when he won his second.
  • Aaron Rodgers made it to the Super Bowl after six seasons, though he didn’t play in three of those because he was sitting behind Brett Favre. Rodgers was a champion at age 27.
  • Drew Brees was 31 when he won the Super Bowl, and it took him nine NFL seasons to get there.
  • Ben Roethlisberger, only a year older than Weeden right now, was 23 when he won his first title, 26 when he won his second.  Ouch.
  • The aforementioned Peyton Manning was 31 when he won his Super Bowl. It took him nine NFL years to get to the top.
  • Tom Brady was 24, 26 and 27-years-old during his three Super Bowl titles. He sat for one year behind Drew Bledsoe and won the title the following year as a replacement starter. He messes up all of my lists.
  • Despite defense being the difference, Trent Dilfer was 27 when he won with the Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens, and Brad Johnson was 30 when he won with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
  • Also of note: Matt Hasselbeck was 29 when Mike Holmgren rode him to the Super Bowl; it was Hasselback’s seventh year in the league, but he didn’t win.
  • Brett Favre was 26 when he won his first Super Bowl under Holmgren.

So there it is. The old guys don’t get to play this game.

Now, that’s not to suggest Weeden couldn’t buck this trend, survive the loaded AFC North and miraculously win the Browns their first Super Bowl in just three years.

Maybe he’s the next Kurt Warner – he who entered the league at 27, won the Super Bowl with the St. Louis Rams at 28, got back there with the Arizona Cardinals at 37, and managed to play 12 NFL seasons after it was all said and done.

Maybe we’re all becoming a little too obsessed with the term “franchise quarterback.”  I’ve been dreaming of that guy too – a young stud who’ll play for the Browns for 30 years and lead the team to 15 Super Bowls.

But perfect players like that simply don’t exist.

The catch with Brandon Weeden (or the reason you’re getting him at No. 22 or No. 37), is that he’s old.

The catch with Andrew Luck is that the Indianapolis Colts had to endure a 2-14 season and a horrific PR battle between Manning and Jim Irsay.

The catch with Robert Griffin III is that the Washington Redskins had to drop three No. 1 picks on him.

The catch with Favre was that he threw crazy interceptions.

There’s always a catch.

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