CLEVELAND -- Marcus Mariota!
The Browns’ offseason won’t be complete without that Pantone-2028C-orange-colored hat bill grazing Roger Goodell’s shoulder as Mariota hugs the commish from the stage in Chicago.
Trade for the man. Get yourself a quarterback. Dwayne Bowe will thank you.
But let’s take a three-step drop from the fan hyperventilation to assess this situation. I like Mariota, and I believe the Browns do, too. With five-plus weeks until the draft, there’s plenty of time for Cleveland to aim for Eugene, Oregon. Colleague Pat McManamon makes a compelling case for a Mariota trade-up.
But if the discussion is whether the Browns can get from No. 12 overall to No. 2 overall, that’s going to take more than the Browns’ two firsts (12 and 19). It’s going to take those two picks, plus, at the least, a high future pick, either a first or second.
And possibly more than that.
Mariota probably won’t command an RG3-sized haul, but the Titans exchanging 12/19 for 2 would be buying an Igloo in Daytona Beach.
A team must looooove Mariota to do that. I’m not convinced the Browns are there, though a private workout can always change that.
Ray Farmer is enticed by trades but would be hard-pressed to give up three or more valuable picks for a player who's not considered the best at his position in this draft.
That’s why the Browns have at least four options that seem more sensible than an all-in aggressive play on Mariota.
1, See if Mariota falls past the Jets at 6 then consider a move up.
2. Let Mariota fall to you at 12.
3. Dangle that No. 19 overall pick to Chip Kelly for Sam Bradford.
That last option won’t be attractive for Browns fans, but it enables the team to the complete the roster overhaul then comb what’s considered a good 2016 quarterback stable. Michigan State’s Connor Cook, Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg and Ohio State’s Cardale Jones should be available. This gives the Browns one more chance to see the Manziel project through.
Manziel's play in 2014 was woeful. But that's seven quarters of woeful play, not seven games. Dumping a first-round quarterback after seven quarters goes against everything a build-through-the-draft GM stands for.
Yes, most playoff runs are made with stellar quarterbacks. But improvement is still attainable with average quarterback play, at least for a year. The Texans and Bills won nine games apiece last year with this quarterback stable – Kyle Orton, EJ Manuel, Ryan Mallett, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum.
It’s not that you can’t win without a quarterback; you can’t win big.
Couple the offense with a receiver from the first two rounds. Run the ball a lot and hope for the best. Add offensive line depth.
Get the right quarterback if he comes to you, or if you absolutely love him, consider him a franchise-saver.
Don’t force it.
If Mariota falls to seven, then you have something.
Twelve to 2 will hurt worse than you’d think, especially as Mariota could require patience to grasp an NFL system.
Read more: The Browns rarely have shown patience with a young quarterback, but they do have the ammunition needed to trade up. Will it be for Marcus Mariota, asks Pat McManamon.