5 Realistic Candidates for Browns Backup QB Job

What if P.J. Walker gets injured while Deshaun Watson is out? Suddenly Dorian Thompson-Robinson is the quarterback and who is the backup? The Cleveland Browns need another plan.

Aug 17, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Kellen Mond (7) in
Aug 17, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Kellen Mond (7) in / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
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Garrett Gilbert, unrestricted free agent

Maybe this one is too obvious. Garrett Gilbert is sitting out there all by himself waiting for the phone to ring. This is a guy who has a year plus with the Browns and Kevin Stefanski, owns a Super Bowl ring as Patriots backup, and also graduated from Lake Travis High same as Baker Mayfield.

After leaving the Browns, he became a backup for the Cowboys, and almost knocked off the Pittsburgh Steelers. Plus there are no records of him ever being injured since coming to the NFL since 2014. He is old, but the mileage is low. He's ideal for the practice squad.

The downside, of course, is that he hardly ever played. Lifetime, he has appeared in only eight games, starting two games and losing both. Starting for Dallas in 2020, he was ahead most of the game to the Steelers, before losing 24-19. Then, due to Covid, Gilbert was signed on a Friday and then started on Sunday and led Washington to a 27-17 loss. That's actually rather impressive considering the conditions.

However, since he's now 32 years old, he can be ruled out as a prospect. He's not a choice for teams wishing to live in fantasy land and develop a "Franchise Quarterback" so forget all about that. He might win a game down the stretch, however, if they start preparing now for the just-in-case scenario.

Jeff Driskel, unrestricted free agent

Like Garrett Gilbert, Jeff Driskel is ancient and will never be developed into the mythical "Franchise Quarterback" that every team hopes for. Teams would like to gamble on a young kid on the grounds that he might be the next Tom Brady, but they are just not interested in the next Earl Morrall (a journeyman who went to four Super Bowls and owned three winner's rings after age 34).

Anyway, Driskel is what he is by now. He is a player with a strong arm and good running speed but his lack of experience at the college level hurt his game.

His story is that he didn't star in college or accumulate a lot of playing time at Florida due to injuries, and never became a full time starter. Granted a fifth year of eligibility, he transferred to Louisiana Tech where he finally was a star.

However, he had about two years' worth of playing time in a five-year college career and thus didn't develop as well as he could have. In the NFL, he had chances and showed talent but no team success.

Playing backup for bad teams (6-10 Cincinnati, 3-12-1 Detroit, 5-11 Denver and 3-13-1 Houston) he has accumulated a 1-9 record as a starter but with an 80.5 passer rating for his career. In view of the horrible teams he has played with, his stats are not that bad. For a third-string emergency quarterback, he might be a very good option.

Currently Driskel is a true free agent, having been cut from the Arizona Cardinals practice squad. He is available.

Next. Watson gets another MRI on his shoulder. Watson gets another MRI on his shoulder. dark