As much as Cleveland needs a quarterback, it is going to be extremely difficult for them to pass up Myles Garrett at the top of the draft. (It will be even more difficult for some fans to accept it if that is what the Browns actually do.)
So where does that leave the team in its search for a quarterback?
Once the Browns take Garrett at No. 1, they have to sweat out the San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears – both teams that seem content at quarterback after their offseason moves, but you never know.
More from Dawg Pound Daily
- How the Browns could maximize Nick Chubb in 2023
- Can Deshaun Watson get to Patrick Mahomes level for Cleveland Browns?
- 3 Cleveland Browns who should see an expanded role in 2023 and 1 who should not
- Is Marcus Davenport on the Browns radar in 2023?
- 5 Free agents from Super Bowl LVII Cleveland Browns should target
If the 49ers and Bears both pass on a quarterback, then things will get interesting.
The Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans, picking at No. 4 and No. 5 respectively, are set at quarterbacks (the Titans more so than the Jaguars), so if the Browns feel as if they need to make a move, those could be two potential trade partners.
The New York Jets (No. 6) and San Diego Chargers (No. 7) are potential threats to draft a quarterback, so if the Browns are serious about Watson or another candidate, they may have to make a move.
The question then becomes if Watson is the man to target?
There is absolutely no questioning Watson’s big-game ability after watching what accomplished the past two years in the college football playoffs. His leadership skills are off the charts, as is his ability to rise to the moment.
The interceptions are going to be a concern until he proves otherwise, as is the question that all NFL teams struggle with when it comes to quarterbacks that run a spread offense in college.
But that may be changing, thanks to a quarterback that Watson has been compared to – Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota.
ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky ran a story this week highlighting how Mariota’s success may slowly be changing the way that NFL teams evaluate incoming college quarterbacks.
The biggest takeaway? It all comes down to coaching and patience, according to Matt Bowen, a former NFL safety and current ESPN.com analyst:
"“I think pro coaches and scouts have to adapt to the changing game at the lower levels. I have coached a spread offense at the high school level the last two years. We run up-tempo, work out of the gun, etc. However, the route concepts and reads are no different than a ‘pro-style system.’"
"“Mariota and the Titans should be a prime example of how the position is changing. Pro and spread concepts mixed together. Tennessee is downhill, power run with pro concepts that are also paired with QB designed runs, run-pass options, etc."
"“The point here, in my opinion, is to cater to the position, given the development of QBs starting in high school. Make them comfortable. Adjust the playbook. And put them in a position to succeed based on their skill set. That’s coaching. You can’t take a kid who has run a spread system since the age of 14 and throw him into a pro-style box. That’s poor management.”"
To sum it up, you need a team that has:
- a coach that knows how to teach the position,
- a strong running game, and with
- the understanding of management that you are not necessarily selecting a quarterback for Week 1 of the following season, but rather for the next decade.
Sound like anyone we know? (OK, except for maybe the patience of management part, which the Browns are still working on.)
If there is one head coach that is suited to maximize Watson’s talents, it would seem to be Hue Jackson.
The fear among Browns fans is that Jackson and executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown will screw up the Garrett pick by “over-thinking” the selection.
It may be time to start applying that same line of thinking to Watson and truly transform the franchise with a first-round double of Garrett and Watson.