The good news is that there is nothing to talk about with regard to the Trent Richardson pick at three. The Cleveland Browns paid a price and they got a guy they absolutely wanted and needed to help kick-start a mostly dead offense from 2011. Yes, the Browns paid with some lower round picks to make it happen, but this is Heckert’s M.O. to a large extent. It is a strategy that I mostly agree with too. If you don’t always want to be subject to the actions of others, you need to control your own destiny. Sometimes that means getting Phil Taylor. Other times that means getting Montario Hardesty. Both times it leaves me confident that at least Tom Heckert got who he wanted. That brings us to Brandon Weeden.
Brandon Weeden is a guy that the Browns obviously wanted. The only question is how much? Did they want him more than Michael Floyd (13th to the Cards) and Kendall Wright (20th to the Titans?) Nobody knows for sure, but I would bet the Browns wanted Floyd if they could have found a way to get him. I would also bet the same with Kendall Wright. Additionally, we can say conclusively that the Browns wanted Brandon Weeden more than they wanted Riley Reiff who was selected with the pick after the Browns at number 23. We can also say conclusively that the Browns wanted Brandon Weeden more than they wanted to roll the dice going forward with Colt McCoy.
Now Colt McCoy has gone from the incumbent starter all the way to being the subject of trade rumors. If you believe Adam Schefter’s sources, the Browns flat out lied to Colt by telling him they wouldn’t select a QB in the first round. While it is tough to believe the Browns would make any such guarantee to a guy who had a season like Colt McCoy had a year ago, I guess it’s possible. No matter. In the end, that’s all just noise that doesn’t matter much. This isn’t a rec league and the Browns need to whatever they feel they need to do. For the Browns’ brass last night, that meant “adding to the pile” at QB as Mike Holmgren likes to say.
What’s to say about Weeden? For the Browns it is a bold move, to say the least. It is the boldest move at QB since the Browns drafted Brady Quinn. That’s not to say Weeden is anything like Quinn, of course. I’ve said that the Browns are still paying for the Quinn move even to this day, but for whatever reason this Weeden pick feels differently to me. A lot of it has to do with the fact that the Browns paid for Weeden long ago because of the trade down with ATL vs. the trade up with the Cowboys. Gambling on Weeden won’t cost the same kind of money and if he flops the Browns won’t have to watch someone else use their first round pick at the top of next year’s draft. All that being said, the stakes are still pretty high for the Browns if Weeden isn’t able to perform at a high level.
Did the Browns take too much risk taking Weeden at #22? Depends on if he can play. In the end that’s all that really matters. Brandon Weeden will have to play well for the Browns to come out looking good from this draft. The Browns took a risk by selecting Brandon Weeden, that’s for sure. Every draft pick is a risk though, and apparently going into the season with Brandon Weeden seemed like less of a risk than going into it with Colt McCoy.
Do I like it? I don’t know. I just don’t have a strong opinion on it yet. I can understand it and make sense of the mindset that most likely led to the move. It certainly could make some sense but there’s no doubting it was a risk. Every draft pick is a risk, of course, but it always feels that much higher stakes when it is at the quarterback position. This is certainly a far cry from Robert Griffin III. Then again, Robert Griffin III will not have the advantage of playing with Trent Richardson and whoever else the Browns draft with all those picks not surrendered to the Rams. Let’s just say I’m cautiously optimistic for now.