Browns Depth Chart Review: The Quarterbacks

The Cleveland Browns added players in Free Agency and then 12 in the NFL Draft. We start our series look at the team's depth chart by looking at the four quarterbacks currently on the roster. What are their strengths, areas of concerns and what role might they play this season?

The NFL really never stops. Between Free Agency, the NFL Draft and all the Organized Team Activities before Training Camp, the cycle keeps spinning. The Cleveland Browns made some moves in Free Agency, added 12 draft picks in the NFL Draft and have had their rookie mini-camp already. That gives us a perfect time to take a look at the team's Depth Chart, position by position, and evaluate where each player stands.

A lot of unknown still stands with the Browns roster. At this time last year we weren't sure about Taylor Gabriel, Isaiah Crowell or K'Waun Williams. Each, in their own way, made an impact on the 2014 Season and are now considered a part of the team's future. The Browns have increased the depth of talent on the roster but value competition over everything else. Can an Undrafted Free Agent make the team again this year? Will a veteran be a surprise cut?

Lots of moving parts as we prepare for Training Camp.

We start out our Browns Depth Chart Series by looking at The Quarterbacks. The QB position is considered the most important position on the field. Most fans are unhappy that GM Ray Farmer has not seemed to treat it as such. Most didn't want Farmer to trade the farm to get Marcus Mariota but are disappointed the team didn't add a young signal caller in the Draft. So what do the Browns have at the QB spot?

Josh McCown

Age

35

Height/Weight

6'4", 213 pounds

College

Sam Houston State

Experience

13 years

2014 Stats

11 Games: 56% Completion, 2,206 yards, 11 TDs, 14 INTs, 9 Fumbles

Estimated Current Depth Chart Position

QB1 - HC Mike Pettine has stated that McCown enters the off-season on top of the team's QB Depth Chart.

Strengths

McCown is a leader whose heady play can lead a team. His accuracy in 8 games with the Chicago Bears in 2013 is a sign that, behind a good line and with good receiving options, he can be efficient. He is also willing to mentor Johnny Manziel.

Areas of Concerns

Turnovers. 23 in 2014 is a big concern. His 2013 season with the Bears is an outlier of an unimpressive career.

Projected 2015 Depth Chart Position

QB1 - The Browns seem to want McCown to start this season, much like last year with Brian Hoyer. Manziel is the lone threat but has a long way to go to become a starting level QB.

Role Expectations

The Browns expect McCown to lead the offense, get the team into the right plays and limit turnovers. The Browns will run a lot and use schemes to put the veteran QB in the best spot to succeed.

Off-season will be a success if...

McCown shows a good grasp on the offense, is accurate and makes plays when opportunity provides. For McCown, holding off Manziel will be a big key. For the Browns, the team might hope Manziel is able to beat out the veteran and show hope for the future.

Related Links

McCown Excited to Mentor Young QBs

McCown Worth $5 Million?

Johnny Manziel

Age

22

Height/Weight

6', 210 pounds

College

Texas A&M

Experience

1 year

2014 Stats

5 Games: 51% Completion, 175 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs, 1 Fumbles

Estimated Current Depth Chart Position

QB2 - Manziel is the lone QB on the Browns roster that the team may be able to build around for years to come. Manziel didn't put forth the effort to develop last year so this year may be a true rookie season where he gets a feel for the work required and develops the skills needed to produce in Year 3.

Strengths

Mobility and arm strength are both good. He can rifle any pass in and can be accurate deep down the field. His competitive nature is very strong but was greatly impacted by off the field issues.

Areas of Concerns

Maturity and work ethic are obviously big concerns off the field. On the field Manziel struggled to read defenses, go through his progressions and feel the rush. Those are many of the same concerns he had coming out of college.

Projected 2015 Depth Chart Position

QB2 - Manziel could amaze everyone and beat out McCown. The Browns are not likely to make that easy on him though as he has to prove it in practice, in film and off the field first.

Role Expectations

The Browns don't seem to have a lot of expectations for Manziel but still hope he can develop. His role will be to learn from McCown and develop. The rate is up to him.

Off-season will be a success if...

The off-season is basically a make or break for Manziel and very little will do with results on the field. Instead the off-season will be a success if he proves his dedication to football and the Browns.

Related Links

Manziel's Draft Evaluation - 2014

Pettine Speaks About Manziel

Thaddeus Lewis

Age

27

Height/Weight

6' 2", 219 pounds

College

Duke

Experience

3 years

2013 Stats

6 Games: 59% Completion, 1,092 yards, 4 TDs, 3 INTs, 4 Fumbles

Estimated Current Depth Chart Position

QB3 - The Browns brought in Thad Lewis as competition for both Manziel and Connor Shaw. Based on his experience, arm and legs he fits in right now at the #3 QB but could be #2 or cut.

Strengths

Mobility and arm strength are both good enough. He has developed as a passer since his rookie year with Cleveland. Can manage the game as he did with Buffalo 2 years ago.

Areas of Concerns

Accuracy and talent level are the biggest concerns for Lewis. He is old for a player with 3 years of experience, 27 right now. Not a ton of upside but a reasonable floor.

Projected 2015 Depth Chart Position

QB3 - We assume that either Lewis or Shaw get this last spot. For a few reasons Lewis gets the nod here.

Role Expectations

Lewis is the Browns worst case scenario play at the QB position. They know he can help the team by mitigating bad plays but that his upside is minimal.

Off-season will be a success if...

He makes the team. Worst case for the Browns is that Lewis is the #2 QB because Manziel shows no signs of developing. Best case is that Lewis sits behind Manziel and McCown, in some order, but gives them insurance in case of injuries or poor play.

Related Links

Thad Lewis: Choosing a College (Subscriber)

Lewis Returns to Browns

Connor Shaw

Age

23

Height/Weight

6' 1", 210 pounds

College

South Carolina

Experience

1 year

2014 Stats

1 Game: 50% Completion, 177 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT, 0 Fumbles

Estimated Current Depth Chart Position

QB3 - Shaw is a poor man's Manziel without all the character concerns. He will likely battle with Lewis for the last spot, although the Browns went with only 2 QBs for most of last year.

Strengths

Mobility, effort and intelligence. Shaw can move around well, is a full go effort guy and is smart on the field. Shaw is a grinder who impresses people with his guts.

Areas of Concerns

Arm strength and injuries. Shaw struggles to put zip on the ball and his ball flutters beyond about 15 yards. He may be able to develop better mechanics and get physically stronger but it may not be enough, especially in Cleveland's wind and weather, to compete on this level.

Projected 2015 Depth Chart Position

Cut - If the Browns keep 3 QBs, Lewis seems like a better bet than Shaw. Nothing against Shaw who proved he was a warrior last year in his 1 start but he doesn't provide enough on the field.

Role Expectations

Role model and someone to push Manziel. Shaw is a competitor and he won't give up his roster spot easily. The Browns can point to Shaw and McCown as examples for Manziel.

Off-season will be a success if...

For Shaw, making the team will be a big success. He will have to show improved arm strength. The Browns would likely be okay if Shaw was their 3rd string guy.

Related Links

Connor Shaw's 1st Start Faced Long Odds

Exclusive Interview with Young Connor

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