Four prospects for third string Browns quarterback

New York Giants Kyle Lauletta #17 talks to the media while players clear out their lockers at Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Monday, December 31, 2018.123118 Giants An30
New York Giants Kyle Lauletta #17 talks to the media while players clear out their lockers at Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Monday, December 31, 2018.123118 Giants An30 /
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Cleveland Browns
KANSAS CITY, MO – JANUARY 17: Case Keenum #5 of the Cleveland Browns and Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns review game film on the sideline during the fourth quarter of the AFC Divisional Playoff against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on January 17, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images) /

Is it worth it for the Cleveland Browns to take a developmental quarterback with a day three draft pick? 

No, the Cleveland Browns are not going to replace Baker Mayfield as the starting quarterback or even Case Keenum at second string. These guys are both quality performers who should stay in Cleveland for the foreseeable future.

But they might well seek to replace Kyle Lauletta as the third-string quarterback and allow that player to compete for a protected roster spot on the 53-player roster.

In today’s NFL, it’s a good idea to try to develop quarterbacks just in case Baker gets appointed to be Ambassador to a foreign country or something totally unforeseen happens. Not because we are plotting an insurrection against the first string, okay?

Teams are drafting on upside, which — literally — this year means they are drafting based on uncertainty. If they know very little about someone, well, that means he MIGHT be very, very good. This is ridiculous, but true.

In fact, the only quarterbacks who truly stand out for this writer are Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields. After that, it is more about the chronic unhappiness of the organizations drafting quarterbacks than the outstanding traits of the quarterbacks out there. Desperation and chronic depression have caused teams to see traits that are not there.

Let’s be clear. The reason why the Jets are drafting a quarterback is not that Zach Wilson of Brigham Young University suddenly became a dominant performer hailed by scouts nationwide.

Rather, it’s more the case that the unhappy Jets became determined to draft a quarterback no matter what. They failed to lose enough games to qualify for the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes, and, as an organization, nevertheless are still determined to draft a quarterback.

Still, scuttlebutt has it that there are still some within the organization that were not convinced that Zach Wilson is better than Sam Darnold. That’s a very wide range of opinions.

Wilson was outstanding, no doubt, but against mostly mediocre competition. His most impressive stat was1,231 yards between INTs in 2020. The least impressive stat is that he has had surgery on torn labrums in both shoulders. Those are not guaranteed to be trouble-free surgeries. The Jets say they aren’t worried, but that does not cause the risk to decrease. Once again, they have it backward.

Similarly, the 49ers trading up to third overall did not confer superpowers to their target. It doesn’t mean that a quarterback has become the third-best player in the draft. This analyst believes the target is Justin Fields, by the way, on the grounds that coach Shanahan had immediate success with Robert Griffin III, and need have no fear of Fields.

The trade only proves that the 49ers are sick of Jimmy Garoppolo and cannot wait to replace him.

Teams are falling in love with unknown quantities. That’s how, apparently, Trey Lance has become one of the hottest commodities in the draft. Some team will apparently take a chance on Lance in the top-10, after little more than one season for the  North Dakota State Bison.

Really? One season in the Missouri Valley Conference and he is a top-10 draft pick?

The reason is that we know very little about him, so he might be really, really good. That’s the truth. Oh yes, he’s tall, also. Hence on many draft lists, he’s rated higher than Ohio State’s Justin Fields. The main plus is that less is known about him than Justin Fields.

Drafting on upside is normally what teams do on day three, the late rounds of the draft. There are some quarterbacks who are not being talked about that are about at the same level as the ones who are being pumped up for the first round. Thus, I am not saying that they are first-round draft picks. I’m saying that some of the quarterbacks that are going to be drafted in the top ten this year probably are hit-or-miss prospects that should be taken later in Round 1 or perhaps even in Round 2 or Round 3.

Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, Trey Lance, and Mac Jones are likely to be drafted Round 1, and Kyle Trask is likely to go on day two at the latest. Those players are possible starters at some point in the 2021 season. The Browns wouldn’t want to blow an early-round pick on one of these players, because they are not looking for a starter or even a second-string quarterback.

Let’s comment on some quarterbacks who are perceived as truly developmental, and who would be kept on the roster as a third-string quarterback to be used only in an emergency, not as a replacement of second-string Case Keenum.

One of the stats that this fan likes that does not get much attention is yards between interceptions (total passing yards divided by total interceptions). Passing touchdowns is not always a great stat, because if you are Troy Aikman and you have Emmitt Smith on your team, it isn’t a sign of weakness to hand the ball off and score a touchdown on the ground. Just score.

On the other hand, getting passing yards is always good, and throwing interceptions is always bad. So that is one of the key metrics used to evaluate players.

Four quarterbacks are listed here as potential material for a third-string developmental quarterback that might be attractive for day three. It doesn’t mean that all of them will slide that far, but if even one does, it might be worth taking a flyer.

It would be hard to justify expending a day two pick on a quarterback, because that pick could be used to take a starter at another position. On the other hand, day three picks usually do not help the team in a major way, so a gamble on a longshot quarterback (hello, Tom Brady) is much easier to justify.