If you have watched the Browns this year, it is clear they need quarterback help. The Browns currently hold the first and fourth picks in the upcoming draft and have the opportunity to take a top quarterback prospect. But some may not know which is the best fit for Cleveland.
The Browns recently hired Todd Haley as their offensive coordinator. It is still a question of which offensive system Cleveland will run. According to rumors, Haley will call the plays and they will run a little bit of his system and Hue Jackson’s system. I will break down the prospects and grade them by the fit to Jackson’s and Haley’s scheme.
|A||This prospect can check off all the boxes as their perfect quarterback.|
|B||This prospect is a good fit, but may have some bumps along the way.|
|C||This prospect is average to the scheme.|
|D||This prospect does not fit the scheme and will struggle.|
I compiled the average net yards passing for the last four years Hue was the offensive coordinator for the Bengals and head coach of the Browns.
2014: 6.5 yards (16th)
2015: 7.3 yards (3rd)
2016: 5.2 yards (31st)
2017: 5.2 yards (31st)
What this information says is in a perfect world, Jackson wants to throw the ball down field. It has been seen in Browns games, as he has called plenty of vertical plays. He loves the short throws, and then mixing in the deep ball regardless of the quarterback’s abilities. Browns fans saw this from the moment Robert Griffin III stepped on the field in 2016. Jackson wants a quarterback that can throw the deep ball. But he also wants a quarterback that is a mix between Kizer and Cody Kessler. Someone who could air it out, but does not sacrifice their accuracy.
Next, let’s look at Haley’s last four seasons as the Steelers offensive coordinator and what the average net yards passing were each season.
2014: 8.2 yards (3rd)
2015: 8.2 yards (3rd)
2016: 7.3 yards (13th)
2017: 7.7 yards (8th)
This information speaks very similar to Jackson’s style of coaching. Haley also likes to air the ball out down field. The Steelers always have home run hitters at wide receiver like Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant. The Browns have been lacking this for years and I believe this was one thing Haley and Hue saw eye to eye on. They want to fool the defense into bringing the safeties down, opening the field for them to hit someone down field. One disagreement they may have had is having the quarterback run. Jackson likes to make run schemes for the quarterback, while Haley very rarely does.
Now they just need to find a quarterback who can be their perfect fit.
If you have seen Mel Kiper’s latest NFL Mock Draft, he has the Browns taking Josh Allen first overall. I have been skeptical of his game as his completion percentage being under 60 percent is extremely scary, but he does poses the size and elite arm strength to stretch the ball down field and Hue will love that. Allen also has the cool laid-back personality that would not clash with Haley’s fiery attitude. Allen will be in consideration at first or fourth overall.
The biggest concern about Mayfield is his size and if it will cause problems in the NFL. But on the field, he can make every throw. Mayfield threw a lot of sideline passes at Oklahoma, but he can also sling it down field with very good accuracy. It’s not likely the Browns take Mayfield with the number one pick. But solid performances at the combine and his pro day would put him in consideration for fourth pick. The issue here is Mayfield and Haley both having strong emotions. They could crash and burn if they struggle together.
It is hard to envision Rosen’s attitude fitting in Cleveland. The Browns are looking for a quarterback they can coach, and Rosen has been reportedly known to be very difficult to coach. He has the arm to make every throw and get the ball to his receivers accurately. However, he lacks almost any mobility to move out of the pocket. If Cleveland drafts Rosen, there might be a Rosen and Haley boxing match Week 1.
As much as I am skeptical of Darnold succeeding in Cleveland, he is the perfect fit for the Browns. Darnold has a laid-back personality, has high potential, and has shown that he can make NFL throws. He is extremely raw at 20 years old, but posses everything Hue and Haley are looking for. Darnold could sit behind a veteran for a year and learn this new system and adjust to the NFL.
Hue Jackson will be more intrigued with Lamar Jackson than Haley. Jackson has some RG3 in him and can make a ton of plays out of the pocket. Hue has worked with multiple quarterbacks that can throw on the move, but Haley has had mostly pocket guys. Hue and Haley will want to be on the same page regarding their quarterback. However, Lamar Jackson can be successful in the right system.