Browns have options for adding QB
There's a difference between saying the Browns have to take a quarterback and saying the Browns have to get a quarterback out of this draft. While I don't think they have to take a QB, I do think they need to add one. There are three strategies here, and I don't think any of them are bad.
1. Go after Johnny Manziel: If you take a QB at No. 4 overall, I think you have to go with the highest upside, and for me Cleveland gets that by taking Manziel. He is nowhere near a perfect prospect, but not only has the notion of what a perfect QB prospect looks like changed, Manziel has charisma that in some ways transcends what he is as a player. This is a franchise that should be willing to consider that kind of a player. The Browns certainly have added enough picks that even if Manziel were to struggle, they'd still get talent from this draft. Plus, Brian Hoyer's presence means Manziel doesn't have to start right away.
2. Call the Redskins about Kirk Cousins: There are fair questions about Cousins' upside, but it shouldn't take a first-rounder to pry him out of pick-starved Washington. The Skins need picks, and the Browns have a bounty. Cousins doesn't come with a promise that he'll be great, but he has a chance to improve the outlook in the short term, which is something the Browns' brass could conclude a rookie starter won't.
3. Take the best QB at No. 26: That could be Teddy Bridgewater. Maybe it's Jimmy Garoppolo. Whoever it is, it's a player the Browns will be able to add by the virtue of having landed a first-rounder for Trent Richardson. It doesn't mean they just call it found money and place a huge bet, but at No. 26 it's at least a low-cost bet for a potential future starter.
Mel Kiper Jr. has been ESPN's NFL draft expert for more than 30 seasons and has published a draft report for 35 years. He also can be found on Twitter @MelKiperESPN.
It doesn't have to be with first pick
Yes, but not necessarily at No. 4. I'm not sure that there is as big of a drop-off among the top quarterback prospects and the next wave or two as we originally thought heading into the draft process, and there are a bunch of guys potentially available in the second-, third-, or fourth-round range that a team like the Browns could draft and develop.
Part of this belief is admittedly because I'm a big Brian Hoyer fan, dating back to when he was coming out of Michigan State as a draft prospect. However, I realize that he hasn't yet proved that he can stay healthy and be an effective starting quarterback at the NFL level. I think you can enter the season with him as the starter, but you need to have someone behind him ready to take over in the event of injury or performance issues with Hoyer.
Cleveland needs to take advantage of the sheer number of picks it has in this year's draft -- five in the top 83. I'd love to see the Browns take Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins if he's available at No. 4, putting him opposite Josh Gordon and forming one of the best receiving corps in the league for Hoyer and whichever rookie QB they add later in the draft.
Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and UCF's Blake Bortles are the likeliest choices if the Browns do decide to take a QB fourth overall, while Pittsburgh's Tom Savage -- a prospect with a strong arm and experience playing in cold weather -- could be a good target in the second round.
Todd McShay is the director of college scouting for Scouts Inc. He has been evaluating prospects for the NFL draft since 1998. Follow McShay on Twitter @McShay13.