Christmas Already? The NFL Draft and The Cleveland Browns

Brian Tarcy returns to the pages of the OBR with his wishes for the annual upcoming high point of the Browns holiday season.

I am a Browns fan, therefore I am an April fool.

Like Sashi Brown, I am dreaming of the most dominant defensive line in the NFL, anchored by Myles Garrett, who will instantly make all the other young talent better. I am not at all thinking about Courtney Brown-itis.

And just like Whatshisname, the great new Cleveland Browns quarterback, I am again imagining Josh Gordon, the best NFL receiver since Jerry Rice, scoring touchdowns for the Cleveland Browns. I am certainly not thinking about how it is 4:20 (at least) twice a day, every day.

Like every Cleveland Browns fan, I don’t know Whathisname’s actual name. Not yet. And I don’t even know for sure that our new great quarterback will be truly great. I sadly admit that I am simply hoping for a quarterback that doesn’t throw like Brady Quinn, think like Brandon Weeden or drink like Johnny Manziel.

Still, just like Hue Jackson, I am game planning for next year’s Super Bowl.

As usual, I am serving baloney. But this year I am going to fry it until it is burnt orange. And then I am going to plate it with a stripe of white bread.

I am oozing April optimism. 

Like the true believer that I was raised to be, I believe in NFL Draft Santa.

And I am planning to put tequila and donuts under my NFL Draft tree for NFL Draft Santa, like I do every April.

Yes, I have an NFL Draft tree. Doesn’t every Browns fan?

My NFL Draft tree looks like a Festivus Pole. It helps later with the airing of grievances.

Like you, I decorate my NFL Draft tree with the shiny jagged pieces that have broken off from my soul on Sundays during every fall since 1999. Last season, in particular, I created many new decorations.

And then I wait for every April when I hope that a mythical Mel Kiper-like figure will deliver me presents. Every year, I hope to not get coal. Every year, I have gotten coal. I got coal before coal mining was great again.

But not this year. This year, I believe that I am getting diamonds. There will be no more Trent Richardsons, Barkevious Mingos, Justin Gilberts, or… well, I hope NFL Draft Santa finally gets the picture. Players who can actually play in the NFL would be a great present. Yes, diamonds. Not coal.

Analytics says this is a good idea. Right?

Like Captain Obvious, I believe the Cleveland Browns need a quarterback.

But what they need even more is not to force it and miss drafting an actual great player at another position.

It is easy to forget that for every Andrew Luck or Russell Wilson, there are about ten Blake Bortles and Geno Smiths in the NFL. On draft day when we are begging for a quarterback, it is also easy to forget that the Browns have drafted several bad quarterbacks, and one who was more dedicated to his pet inflatable swan than he was to football. 

Still, I know that Whatshisname will soon be a Brown. I sure hope he can play.

I hope Whathisname is not a “developmental quarterback.” Either the guy can play, or not. I used to be a true believer in developing a quarterback from the bench. No more.

Other than Kirk Cousins or, the classic, Aaron Rodgers, I can’t think of a good example a quarterback who developed during this era while sitting on the bench. It’s like comparing apples to stepladders to refer to back to Steve Young or Brian Sipe and other eras.

In fact, I believe that both Cousins and Rodgers would be even better had they started sooner.

In other words, I think the whole idea of a developmental quarterback is mostly a myth. If a guy can play, the eye test usually tells the truth in less than two years. 

An actual template of a developmental quarterback was my favorite Browns quarterback since 1999, Brian Hoyer. Plucky and not quite good enough. It is easy to say he developed because he sat behind Tom Brady. Or maybe he would have been plucky and not quite good enough if given a chance right off.

I think that creating a supporting cast is more crucial than how long a quarterback sits.

Ben Roethlisberger, and later Wilson, stepped into teams that were already built. Dak Prescott did also.

Maybe Cody Kessler will look better with better players around him. That’s what I think. Or maybe Whatshisname will.

Like Hue Jackson, I trust Hue Jackson on this one. 

And if the Browns can finally get it right, the NFL Draft will actually more resemble Christmas than April Fools Day.

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