Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Better – Be – Mighty – Quinn

Dear Browns Fan:

I like the Joe Thomas pick. Along with the signing of Eric Steinbach, shoring up the lousy offensive line was a very, very good idea. Makes the entire offense better.

Brady Quinn, on the other hand…. This year’s #2, and next year’s #1?!

The Browns are thin just about everywhere. I’d expect Thomas to start right away. However, because of the price paid for Quinn, this becomes a must win right now team. If they go another 3-13 and hand a top 5 pick to the Cowboys, there will be some very, very unhappy campers in Cleveland.

And the overall prospects of significant improvement are not that good.

1. As mentioned, the team doesn’t have much depth. If starters miss significant time, it’s not going to be very pretty.
2. Thomas, a rookie left tackle, is going to take some lumps for a while. Given the line reshuffle, coordination is going to take some time also. And 3 out of the 5 line positions are staffed by almost replacement level players.
3. Defensive line play is an issue. Ted Washington is 200 years old and was getting handled by one blocker on a pretty routine basis last year. Orpheus Roye is also getting up there.
4. If they start the season with Charlie Frye, there will be tremendous fan pressure to play Quinn. If Charlie falters, he’ll get a quick hook. If Quinn comes in before the line gels, then he’ll get killed as well.

Quinn is a very high risk pick, because of the trade price the Browns paid. Given the trade price, there’s a significant chance of a very tough negotiation. The Browns will want to pay Quinn as the number 22 pick. Quinn, on the other hand, will argue that he should be paid like a top 10 pick in next year’s draft.

Given that the Steelers, Bengals, and Ravens are all better than Cleveland (at least on paper at this point), it will be a struggle to get to a decent record.

If everything gels for the Browns, and Quinn plays like Roethlisberger did as a rookie, everyone will forget about the price paid. On the other hand, if the turns into the next Ryan Leaf….