Well this should be a fun little project to get going, shouldn’t it! Today will be the first installment of our Cleveland Browns Positional Preview so we might as well start with the most important position in football, the quarterback.
This is pretty obvious, it’s Case Keenum. Okay, but seriously, we all know it’s Baker Mayfield. Coming off of a great first season in which he broke the rookie touchdown record, expectations were high for Mayfield. His sophomore slump appeared to hit hard as we saw a sharp decrease in production. The touchdowns decreased, the interceptions increased and we saw Baker running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off. Obviously he can’t take all the blame for abysmal offensive line play but poor decision making was present and it seemed as if he was playing to prove all of the doubters wrong. If he settles in to the role and doesn’t try to show off then he should be at the very least an above average NFL starting quarterback.
Now it’s time for the legend of Case Keenum to grace the city of Cleveland. The man who delivered a dagger into the hearts of Saints fans during the infamous Minneapolis Miracle, the man who built the University of Houston’s football program over the five years he played there and last but not least, the man who went 16-32 (excluding his fluke year in Minnesota) over the course of seven seasons on five different teams. Keenum is a quality backup who has shown brief, and I mean brief, flashes of his ability to start and win games. He’s signed to a team friendly deal and is set up to be a bridge if the Browns choose to move on from Baker.
The Battle for Third String
We’ll start with the one listed higher on the unofficial depth chart, Garrett Gilbert. Gilbert’s accolades speak for themselves. In 2008, he was one of the top high school recruits in his class and a member of the 2014 Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. Gilbert was most recently the starting quarterback of the AAF’s Orlando Apollos.
Finally, we have NFL Combine standout Kevin Davidson. The Princeton product looked good in his senior season which included a game where he set the Ivy League record with seven touchdowns. Davidson has a good shot of earning the third spot and has the potential to be a serviceable backup for a couple years to come.
Quarterbacks Still Available
Cam Newton: Newton is still a starting caliber quarterback and will most likely get signed in the event of an injury to a team’s starter. The only thing that has kept him unemployed is his injury history.
Colin Kaepernick: The last time we saw Kaepernick play he looked like he could at least be a solid backup quarterback. Recently, Kaepernick’s name has been thrown around about potentially being signed.
Kelly Bryant: The former Tiger, for both Clemson and Missouri, is the only quarterback in the 2020 class that remains unsigned. Bryant, who is by no means a starting caliber quarterback, is skilled enough to the point that he should at least be on a practice squad.
The quarterback play needs to improve drastically from where it was last season in order for this Browns team to be successful. Baker has a lot of room for improvement but only time can tell if he makes the jump and can put the team on his shoulders. In the next installment we’ll be looking at the running back position.