The Cleveland Browns should look to what the Washington Redskins did in the 2012 NFL Draft when deciding upon a quarterback in 2016.
Losing season after losing season after losing season. No playoffs since 2002. FirstEnergy Stadium has never hosted a playoff game. And after 15 long years, the Cleveland Browns still have not found their franchise QB. It seems as if every year heading into the NFL Draft, the Browns biggest need is once again, quarterback. Well this year, the Browns need… you guessed it! A quarterback.
Let’s take a flash back to 2012. The Washington Redskins were in major or need of a quarterback after subpar seasons from both Rex Grossman and John Beck. Washington held the sixth overall pick in the 2012 draft and knew they needed to jump up four spots to draft a QB.
The Washington Redskins agreed to a blockbuster trade with the St. Louis Rams, trading their sixth overall pick in 2012, second round pick (39) in 2012, and first round selections in 2013 (22), and 2014 (2) in exchange for the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Two quarterbacks highlighted the 2012 NFL Draft. Andrew Luck out of Stanford, and Heisman trophy winner, Robert Griffin III of Baylor. The Indianapolis Colts released one of the all time greats in Peyton Manning, and drafted a future one in Andrew Luck. So, Washington drafted Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick.
RG III went on to have a star-stunning rookie season, winning offensive rookie of the year as well as being selected to the Pro Bowl. Griffin’s style of play caused him to suffer many injuries including a torn ACL in his rookie season. RG III has been led down a rough path ever since his rookie season. He was released by the team following the 2015 season.
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In the 2012 NFL Draft, Washington drafted QB Kirk Cousins in the fourth round as a backup plan if Robert Griffin III did not work out. Well, one thing led to another and RG III was a healthy scratch the entire 2015 season and Kirk Cousins led the league in completion percentage and most importantly, he led his team to the playoffs. At the start of the official new league year, Cousins had the franchise tag placed on him after an acceptable season.
Like the Redskins in 2012 (under much different circumstances), the Browns hold the 2nd overall selection in this year’s draft. Of course once again, their biggest need is quarterback and the team has been linked to the top two in this year’s draft. Jared Goff out of California and North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz.
Hypothetically, let’s say the Browns draft Goff or Wentz with the second overall pick in the draft. Cleveland finally has one of the best QB groomers in the NFL in Head Coach Hue Jackson but the way things have worked out since 1999, wouldn’t you want a backup plan? The Redskins sure did and it has turned out nicely for them.
The Browns should take the exact same approach Washington did in the 2012 NFL Draft and I think they will.
A few quarterbacks that the Browns could look at drafting in the middle rounds could be a guy like Kevin Hogan from Stanford. Hogan finished as a finalist for the Manning Award as the nations top QB and is a big time leader. The Buffalo Bills even said Kevin Hogan is the most NFL ready QB in this year’s draft class. Brandon Allen from Arkansas is another option, another on field leader and playmaker.
Many Browns fans are sick and tired of waiting for FirstEnergy Stadium to host its first playoff game. It all starts with the most valued position in all of sports, quarterback. A position the Browns haven’t had in well over a decade.
Goff and Wentz have the chance to both be special and according to the NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, “are just as good if not better than Winston and Mariota from a year ago as prospects.” Winston and Mariota both greatly exceeded their expectations last year and both have their teams VERY excited for the direction they’re heading in.
With any NFL prospect, there is certainly no guarantee. And we’ve seen that first hand here in Cleveland. So why not have a back up plan just like the Washington Redskins did. That franchise took a chance and now have one of the league’s better QB’s in Kirk Cousins.