Cleveland Browns shouldn’t wait on a QB in NFL draft


(AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

The NFL draft is almost upon us, which means we can almost put all these mock drafts to bed. But before we do, the Cleveland Browns have Brian Hoyer penciled in as their Week 1 starter, so they will likely look to add a quarterback in this year’s NFL draft. They have the No. 4 pick in the first round.

“That’s been a big part of the discussion in the draft room,” Cleveland Browns Coach Mike Pettine said. “That’s a position that we know we’re going to need to address, and you talk about where you’re going to do it and the impact that it’s going to have on the rest of the team.

But where, Coach?

“Certainly it’s an ideal situation if you can get that quarterback later in the draft and that way you’re drafting a position player at four,” Pettine said.

It may be ideal, but it is much harder than it looks. Looking at the average production for quarterbacks in their first three seasons shows it gets more difficult to find a starter the longer you wait in the draft.

Round Drafted G GS Cmp Att Comp% Yds TD
Top 5 pick overall 32 31 550 960 57.3% 6246 37
2nd round 17 12 220 384 57.3% 2414 11
3rd round 16 10 188 321 58.4% 2011 9
4th round 18 9 154 280 55.2% 1734 10
5th round or later 10 5 93 166 56.1% 1043 6
Source: Pro Football-Reference. Data since 2000

But the Browns are a franchise in distress and it doesn’t appear they can afford to wait. They have not made the playoffs since losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2002 wild-card game, have won more than six games once (10 in 2007) and have averaged five wins over the last decade.

“We’re in the ‘win now’ business and as history has shown, it’s very difficult to do with a rookie quarterback,” Pettine said.

It’s even harder the longer you wait to draft one.

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.
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