Browns Mailbag

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Browns Mailbag: Is the 32nd pick too late to draft a quarterback?

After a week in Mobile, Alabama, and a thorough look at the questions in this week's mailbag, it's clear that draft season is in full swing for Browns fans.

We're expecting a lot of the future mailbags to look like this one, and that's OK. This time of year is fun because the future is right around the corner.

Hey what up guys? I really hope you guys don't wait until No. 32 and try and snag a QB because all of the top QBs will be gone by then. Cleveland has missed on QBs why? Because Weeden and manziel were both No. 22. Just because a team has a QB doesn't mean they won't take one just to screw everyone else. So you can't have that mentality when you draft or it will be another BAD draft AGAIN! - Steve D., Tampa

Some well-known history before we dive into this. The Browns have drafted eight quarterbacks since the team returned in 1999. Four were first-rounders, three of which were picked at No. 22 in their respective classes. The highest-selected, Tim Couch, started the most of any of them. Two were third-rounders and two others were Day 3 picks. All eight started at least one game during their time with the Browns.

And here's a look at some Pro Bowl starting quarterbacks around the NFL who have been picked at No. 22 or later: Tom Brady, Tyrod Taylor, Derek Carr, Andy Dalton, Tony Romo, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Brees.

Understandably, the Tom Brady's of the world are a relative anomaly. Yes, you can find a great quarterback in the later rounds just like every other position, but it's not something you can count on. A quarterback selected early in the first round carries a higher set of expectations and a shorter window to justify his spot in the pecking order. Needless to say, the success rate for quarterbacks selected in the first round, particularly the first half of the first round, is higher than that of quarterbacks selected at 22 and beyond. And again, that applies to every position, not just the one that garners the most attention.

What becomes tricky about the quarterback position is teams don't always follow the tried and trued "best player available on the board" method when they're in need of one. It's why you'll see many draft experts slot a quarterback at No. 1 or No. 2 even if they rank them No. 8 among overall players. The position is that important. Needs are a part of the equation at that part of the draft, and they become amplified when it pertains to the quarterback. It's why a quarterback such as Alex Smith went No. 1 in 2005 and Rodgers, who was certainly in the conversation with the first pick, went 24th.

Which brings us to this year's draft. The Browns are the highest-selecting team that could feasibly take a quarterback in the first round -- Tennessee, with Marcus Mariota, certainly will not but the Titans have made it clear they're open to trading the pick. Behind the Browns are teams such as the Cowboys (4th), 49ers (7th), Eagles (13th), Rams (15th) and Texans (22nd) that could be interested in quarterbacks as early as the first round.

The next few months will be used by every team to draw up a big board and map out every possible scenario. If it's possible to pull off a move like the Raiders did in 2014 and land all-pro linebacker Khalil Mack in the first round and Carr in the second, it will certainly be considered. Every option is on the table at this point of the process and it will remain that way for quite a while before April 28.

In regards to the GM turnstyle over the past several years, I'm curious how much (if any) attention has been given to the scouting department. Although the early picks in the past few drafts have not panned out, the Browns have made some great selections in later rounds/supplemental picks (Armonty Bryant, Billy Winn, Isaiah Crowell and Josh Gordon) - Joe Z., Washington D.C.

The vast majority of the Browns scouting department has remained in tact and many of those who were with the team during the years of those particular picks will be involved in this year's draft.

A few more to add to the list: K'Waun Williams, Ahtyba Rubin and Buster Skrine.

What are the chances that WR Josh Gordon plays with the Cleveland Browns next season? With Duke Johnson Jr. on his way out, is that a sign for others that have struggles off the field? - Christian P., Yorktown, Virginia

There's no sense in putting a probability on it. Those would be empty, hollow numbers. Here's what's been said about Gordon, who was suspended for all of the 2015 season, in recent weeks.

"If Josh is able to clear that and come back to the roster, we would sit down with him and figure out where he is physically and mentally and move forward," executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said. "But prior to that, it would be premature for me to comment or determine how we might use him or think about him."

Why does the team need to take a QB so early when we have Connor Shaw, who was very good in college, Josh McCown, who played well when not hurt, and Austin Davis, who is OK at backup. What we really need are more very good offensive and defensive players - Ken M. Grecia, Costa Rica

Depth isn't the issue for the Browns at quarterback, but Cleveland, as Brown said last month, is seeking a signal-caller "that can be here for a period of years and drive continued success."

"Excited about the three guys here and potentially adding more until we get to the point that we know we have a franchise quarterback here in Cleveland," Brown said.

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