There's only one thing that takes away some of the attention a team's quarterback receives, and the Browns went through that during the early part of the offseason with a coaching search.
Now that it's in the past and Hue Jackson is in the fold, Browns fans are directing the majority of their questions back to the signal-caller. We're going to knock out a few of those in this week's installment.
Now that Hue Jackson is our head coach, which I think is a great move, what are the chances of us going after a QB with our first pick? - Jeff B., Springfield
Perhaps Jackson was the only coach Cleveland could have hired that would have elicited this type of question. Jackson's track record with quarterbacks is well-documented but worth revisiting. In Baltimore, he helped select and groom Joe Flacco during his first two seasons in the NFL. Over the past two seasons in Cincinnati, he helped guide Andy Dalton to the two best seasons of his blossoming NFL career. He's a former college quarterback who has gotten the best out of multiple players at the position. It adds to the allure if Cleveland goes with a quarterback at No. 2 in the 2016 NFL Draft.
All that being said, it's Jan. 20. "Early" doesn't even cut it. Alas, there's nothing more enticing than draft talk, especially when it involves the potential arrival of a new quarterback, and we're certainly not above it.
Throughout last week, Jackson was asked numerous questions about the quarterback position. When it pertained to Duke Johnson, Jackson said he needed time to watch the second-year quarterback on tape, meet with him and provide him with a "fair opportunity" to learn about him before making any major decisions. When it pertained to the Browns' No. 2 overall pick, Jackson played it coy, laughing as he said "I can't tell you that yet." The decision at No. 2, and the rest of Cleveland's picks, will be a collaborative process involving Jackson and the rest of the key members in Cleveland's football operations.
What Jackson has made clear in recent interviews is what he wants to see from his quarterback, whoever it may be.
"It goes without saying he's got to have arm talent and leadership ability is huge," Jackson said on Cleveland Browns Daily last week. "Poise under pressure because on third down, that's when it's tough, and a guy's got to have poise under pressure in that situation … He's got to have some charisma because you've got to be the face of the franchise. You've got to be able to get this crowd and our team and everybody behind him."
Will Connor Shaw, if healthy, be given a chance to be the starter? He had a terrific college career and has played as well or better than any other QBs with us over the last few years. Possibly believed to be a weak NFL arm? - Brad C., Angola, Indiana
Shaw is certainly among the players Jackson will evaluate over the coming weeks and months. Considering all of the turnover at quarterback throughout the 2015 season, it'd be a safe bet to say Shaw would have received an opportunity of some sorts if he didn't injure his thumb during training camp. Arm strength certainly isn't Shaw's top asset, but he's showed enough moxie and command of the offense to earn an opportunity to prove himself.
You know, normally if a HC said he didn't want an OC I would freak out but Hue is the man. I'm glad he isn't going to have one because I have supreme confidence of his play calling and another chef would just ruin the pie. I really hope Cleveland goes QB with the first pick and then it will be awesome. - Steve D., Tampa
The assembly of Jackson's staff is ongoing and nothing has been finalized outside of the retention of special teams coordinator Chris Tabor. That said, Jackson acknowledged he loved calling plays and that remains on the table as he embarks on his second head coaching opportunity in the NFL. A number of coaches around the league, including Arizona's Bruce Arians, Kansas City's Andy Reid, Green Bay's Mike McCarthy and New Orleans' Sean Payton, call their own plays and have experienced plenty of success along the way.
I don't think a quarterback at pick 2 is a smart pick. What are the odds of trading back for two first rounders? Which, after all, would favor the analytics. - Chas B., Hinckley
As mentioned above, it's far too early to rule anything out when it comes to the draft. The Browns, of course, have traded down a handful of times since they returned as a franchise in 1999 but never when they've had a pick as valuable as No. 2 overall. In 2009, Cleveland made a series of trades that moved it from No. 5 to No. 21, where it selected eventual Pro Bowl offensive lineman Alex Mack. The Browns went from sixth to 21st in 2011 and picked Phil Taylor. In 2014, it was No. 4 to No. 8 after a couple of trades.
Trades are always a possibility on Draft Day, but sometimes it's easier said than done, especially when it comes to a pick as valuable as No. 2. The bar for what to expect for a pick on that level was set very high by a 2012 trade between the Rams and Redskins, as Washington sent St. Louis three first-round picks (No. 6 overall in that year's draft) and a second-rounder in order to land Robert Griffin III.