The Fast Lane: Drafting a quarterback?

Lane Adkins reveals the Browns thinking about the draft and the quarterback position.

Internal discussions regarding the Browns QB woes continue to be center stage in the weeks leading up to the NFL draft.

The Browns have continued to investigate and discuss the QB position heading into the draft, without a clear indication as to whether the dynamic within the roster will change.

As theOBR previously reported, the Browns did engage the St. Louis Rams and offer a first round draft pick for QB Sam Bradford, prior to the player being dealt to Philadelphia.

Upon St. Louis turning down the Browns offer (as we previously reported, the Browns did not have a QB the Rams wanted in trade), the Browns inked free agent QB Josh McCown to help stabilize the turbulent QB spot in Cleveland.

There is a growing belief that the Eagles could offer Bradford to a team such as the Tennessee Titans, New York Jets or Cleveland Browns in trade to position themselves for Oregon QB Marcus Mariota.

As of this writing, the Browns have not engaged in discussion with the Eagles for Bradford, but have had subtle talks on moving up in the draft to select Mariota. ‘The Fast Lane’s' understanding is that the Browns are apprehensive about trading two first round selections and an additional selection/player to move into position to select the QB.

Within the Browns organization, there has been open dialogue and debate as to whether Mariota is a ‘true’ franchise type QB. There is a lack of a consensus regarding whether the player will be an impact player within a short period of time. What the Browns do see in Mariota is an intelligent player, who is very athletic, and has a better grasp of the game other than the system-specific offense he operated within while at Oregon.

Other QBs in the draft have garnered the attention of the Browns. Bryce Petty (Baylor) and Brett Hundley (UCLA) are viewed as developmental QBs and the Browns are exploring them as options to get into the system and bring along.

Petty and Hundley are not deemed to be NFL-ready and will require time and patience to succeed at the next level, though the Browns have evaluated the qualities each possesses.

The belief coming out of the Cleveland is Hundley has the highest ceiling and potential of quickest impact. Despite his athleticism and good arm strength, the Browns see a QB that pulls the ball down quickly to run and has ball placement that is inconsistent.

It should be noted Hundley performed well behind a much-maligned offensive line. His pocket presence is in need of improvement, especially considering the QB played exclusively from the shotgun at the collegiate level.

Quote to note: “Hundley has the tools you want to see in a QB at this level. He’ll face some challenges stepping into the league, but with the right coaching and dedication, he has starter quality ability and physicals. If Hundley would have been at Oregon rather than Mariota, we’d be talking about him going early in the first round.”

Bryce Petty's best body of work has come following the season. Petty spent countless hours working under center and making reads, which wasn’t part of the offensive scheme he played within at Baylor (basically one read, spread, shotgun offensive).

Petty is a work in progress. At the Senior Bowl, Petty demonstrated the ability to get under center and make plays, though awkwardly at times. At his Pro-Day workout, Petty’s footwork was clearly improved and he demonstrated the ability to make all the throws necessary.

Quote to note: “He (Petty) clearly isn’t as one-dimensional as you would have believed by simply viewing the tape. He has shown the ability to move around/outside the pocket, his footwork is improving and he can throw the ball. Like every QB in this draft, his ball placement needs work, but there is a base to work with in Petty.”

In Cleveland, the debate will certainly carry on into the draft.

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