In the upcoming NFL draft it is clear there is a need for Cleveland to pick a QB as the long term solution. Most mock drafts and NFL insiders have Cleveland picking a QB in the 1st round whether it be Bortles, Bridgewater or Manziel but what if they didn’t? Instead of using their first pick on a QB they could instead use it an elite wide receiver to pair with NFL leading receiver Josh Gordon and they would have their choice of receivers, be it Sammy Watkins who rip through Ohio State’s defence on his way to 200+ yards in the Orange Bowl, Mike Evans who had an unforgettable performance against the leading Alabama defence or former Biletnikoff award winner Marqise Lee.
With Fresno’s Derek Carr expected to be gone by the time they pick again Cleveland could pick a QB like Aaron Murray, AJ McCarron or Zach Mettenberger or as they will all likely still be on the board when they pick in the 2nd round they might be better off picking a guard like Cyril Richardson or local boy RB Carlos Hyde out of Ohio State.
Then you’re left with three I mentioned earlier. With Brian Hoyer returning as the presumptive starter it could be possible for any of the three just to redshirt the year, this would be particular important if they were to pick Murray or Mettenberger as both are returning from serious injuries and would allow them to learn the playbook and improve their mechanics.
Out of the three my preferred candidate would be Zach Mettenberg as he has experience in pro-style offence with Cam Cameron, is accurate and has possibly the strongest arm in all of college football which particularly important considering what a home run weapon Josh Gordon. He may struggle a bit with mechanics but these can be worked on and these have proved quite a bit this year under Cam Cameron.
The other two have both had strong run games in college which they could rely on when they were having an off day. This may not work if Cleveland struggle again on the ground next year although it should improve with Dion Lewis returning. They may all have a problem with mobility and escaping the rush although Mettenberger has been working on it this season. These pocket passer may suffer as well with the read-option so much in vogue currently in the NFL to the extent that we have seen Andy Dalton trying it. McCarron hasn’t had to face much pressure in his Alabama career with protection from the likes of All-American Cyrus Kouandjio and others.
If they did do so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering Cleveland has only picked 20 of its starting QBs in the first round with only Tim couch being selected in the top half of the 1st round way back in 1999.
Although brining in Bortles, Bridgewater or Manziel might be viewed as the safe option sometimes it can pay off better to take a risk. Bringing in someone like Manziel might be the best business decision but drafting him will drawing significant media attention and could end up like Tebow did although he does possess better mechanics and a stronger arm. Whoever they choose, it does seem like they will be a rookie QB in Cleveland next season.