Draft 2021: should the Browns choose a quarterback?

It is possible that the question in the headline will seem very emotional to someone. However, let's reason. In the first week, the Browns were the only team to lose more than 14 points. Their rivals were some of the favorites of the season, and therefore the loss did not cause too much reaction, and Cleveland fans remember the very depressing recent past. Surely everyone wants the team mechanism under the leadership of the new head coach Kevin Stefanski to work and we could watch another talented team, but for now the Browns remain Browns.

Browns quarterback

It is hard to deny that some of Baker Mayfield's carelessness in handling the ball and reduced accuracy is becoming a problem for the team. The quarterback enjoys the support of his partners and coach, but the hypothetical scenario in which the club's management decides to create additional competition for Mayfield is becoming less and less fantastic.

Baker will hit the pitch Thursday in his thirty-second game in the NFL, two full seasons. Its results so far are not impressive at all. Among quarterbacks who have made at least 600 passing attempts since the start of the 2018 season, he ranks fourth from the end with 61.9% of completes. Only Andy Dalton, Sam Darnold and Josh Allen are worse. During the same period, Mayfield threw 36 interceptions and only incomparable Jamis Winston is ahead of him. Out of thirty-one matches in the starting lineup, he did without gifts to his opponent only in eight. Last Sunday, against Ravens, Baker passed 54 percent, averaging less than five yards per shot. And this, alas, does not come as a surprise.

You should not consider this as a call for an urgent replacement of Mayfield, after all, over the past few years, a lot of quarterbacks have passed through the club and this leapfrog has bothered both the fans and the players themselves. But the question ahead is whether to activate the fifth year option in his contract. 

In such circumstances, it seems logical to draft a young player who could create additional pressure on Mayfield. If after that he plays more stable, then for Cleveland it will be a win-win option. Now let's figure out who might be interested in the Browns front office next spring.

Early choice

Sam Ehlinger, Texas

This peak would be remarkable in itself, given the principled rivalry between Oklahoma and Texas. In addition, Mayfield beat Ehlinger in a face-to-face meeting in 2017, and last year he spoke out quite hard about the Texas quarterback in the press. Will it lead to chaos? Cleveland is used to him. We will only regret that Hard Knocks will not be able to join the team.

As far as Ehlinger's prospects are concerned, his possible future in the NFL is comparable to that of Jalen Hurts, drafted by Philadelphia. Sam is unlikely to be interested in teams that need a starting quarterback here and now. The Browns could potentially take him in the second or third round, though some mocks send him to the first. At the moment, the team has two choices in the third and fourth rounds, and they can quite afford to spend one on the quarterback.

Mid draft

Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

A name that is only familiar to real college football freaks. Ridder is the double threat quarterback that many have expected to break out this season. Under him, Cincinnati have played 22-4 over the past two years and made it to the AAC final, although in 2019 it was not very convincing.

This offseason, Ridder won a spot on the lineup against Ben Bryant and now he has to show his talent without experienced hosts. He is damp, but works great with his legs, can throw on the go, and many underestimate the qualities of his hand. It can be considered a fourth or fifth round prospects. It is unlikely that he will succeed in becoming a threat to Mayfield right away, but Cleveland will have a good alternative if something goes wrong.

Late pick

Brady White, Memphis

He played strong in the first week of this season and White's performances are worth watching. This choice is a fairly safe option for the Browns. If the team activates the fifth year option for Mayfield, then the young player will have about two years to work and develop in peace. In principle, there may be another player in this place, we are talking about the strategy as a whole. 

Cleveland hasn't chosen quarterbacks in the last two drafts, and many analysts are inclined to believe that choosing a player of this role every few years is wise, especially if a student with the right style and skill set is available. The club in such a situation does not particularly risk anything, but it can get a serious asset.

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