While the Cleveland Browns front office looks to address the quarterback position this offseason, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr feels that, if the team were to desire to do so via the draft, they could be in for a bit of a gamble as current quarterback Brandon Weeden could have been the top passer taken had he been able to wait until 2013 to declare for the NFL.
“Obviously you look at where the quarterbacks are this season,” Kiper said via conference call on Wednesday. “There’s not one that there’s consensus on. So it’s possible he could’ve been the first quarterback taken this year.”
The Browns, selecting sixth-overall in the upcoming draft, are widely considered to be addressing the pass rush to accommodate Ray Horton’s change to the 3-4 defense. Kiper added that if the Browns were considering using their first-round selection on a quarterback, it would be a substantial risk given the current player pool.
“You look at [West Virginia's] Geno Smith and [USC's] Matt Barkley and Brandon Weeden, it would’ve been a tough call,” Kiper said. “It would’ve been a tough, tough call. Nobody right now is in this draft saying, ‘if I’m Cleveland, I’ve got to take this quarterback even though I have Brandon Weeden.’ There’s no quarterback that screams out, saying, ‘take me, even though you have Weeden because I’m that much better.’ There’s nobody. So I don’t think Cleveland’s going to be able to find that guy.”
Weeden, who was out out eligibility as the quarterback of Oklahoma State, went 22nd overall to the Browns in 2012. They have been rumored to be in the mix for Baltimore’s Joe Flacco in the event he is able to test the free agent market. Kiper has the Browns taking Florida State defensive Bjoern Werner at No. 6 in his most recent mock draft.