The Cleveland Browns stuck with the offensive side of the football when they selected the No. 22 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Nineteen picks after taking former Alabama running back Trent Richardson, the Browns selected former Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden with the No. 22 overall selection. The Browns acquired the No. 22 pick in a draft day trade with the Atlanta Falcons last April.
Weeden, a 28-year old, took an unconventional path to the NFL -- one that led him through the minor league baseball system and New York Yankees organization.
Once at Oklahoma State, Weeden became the starter in 2010 and finished his career with 15 school records, including marks for the most passing yards in a game and half, touchdowns passes in a season, career passing touchdowns and career passing yards.
He completed 766 of 1,102 attempts for 9,260 yards and 75 touchdowns while at the helm of the Cowboys’ offense.
“It’s a huge positive, no negative at all,” Weeden said of his age while at the 2012 Senior Bowl. “There are going to be ups and downs in your professional career. Playing quarterback at any level is really hard, much less at the highest level. There are going to be some peaks and valleys and I’ve dealt with that a little bit in baseball and I know how to deal with it. You’ve got to let stuff slide off your back sometimes and I think that’s one of my biggest attributes.”
Changing from professional baseball to college football was a challenge Weeden met head-on. He made the adjustment quickly after moving to Stillwater, Okla.
“I coached at my high school alma mater for a couple years in my offseasons and always threw the football in the offseason,” Weeden said. “The transition was pretty smooth. I knew it was what I wanted to do. The first year back and being on Scout Team was a little bit different, getting used to the speed of the game. Once I got used to the speed of the game, I knocked the rust off pretty quickly.”
Weeden worked his way through the first two seasons, primarily in a backup role. When he became the starter, Weeden earned first-team All-Big 12 honors by the conference coaches and Associated Press. His two teammates, wide receiver Justin Blackmon and running back Kendall Hunter were the only players to finish ahead of him in the AP’s Player of the Year voting.
“We threw the ball to (Blackmon) as many times as we could, but at the same time, we had a lot of other guys to throw it to,” Weeden recalled. “We had (wide receivers) Josh Cooper and Tracy Moore that were just as reliable. When you have three guys to throw it to like that, your chances of having success as a quarterback are pretty good.”