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What traits, skill sets Hue Jackson looks for in top QB prospects

INDIANAPOLIS — Browns head coach Hue Jackson knows what he wants in a quarterback, and he outlined it Thursday at the NFL's annual scouting combine.

"I think if I had to build a perfect quarterback," Jackson said, "first it would be accuracy. He's gotta be able to throw the ball straight, he's gotta be able to throw the ball to the person he intended to throw it to. You have to have arm talent. I think that's really important."

The second part? "He has to be able to process football at a high level," Jackson said. "I think football IQ is really important."

And the third? "Leadership is paramount," he said. "A guy has to be able to lead and uplift a football team to get them to follow him to get them the best they can be because sometimes as the quarterback you've got to go challenge people to do a little bit more than what they're used to. And I think it's important that a guy has that trait."

This is what Jackson wants in a quarterback. What's not yet clear is who might fit that profile in this year's draft class. But that, after all, is what this week in Indianapolis is for, as the Browns and the league's 31 other teams dissect the nation's top college prospects.

And perhaps no position gets as much attention as quarterback. It's also an area Cleveland hopes to address after it saw signal-callers — including current members of the rosters in Robert Griffin III, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan — play last season because of injuries and inconsistency.

"We're going to keep searching," Jackson said. "I think we all understand, no one's really claimed this position yet on our football team so we need to do everything we can to continue to add a player that we feel, as an organization, really good about, that can lead our football team and we'll continue to chase that."

The Browns will have that opportunity with players across all positions this week as they fine-tune their draft board. That, of course, includes quarterbacks. Among this year's top signal-callers are Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer, North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky and Clemson's Deshaun Watson, who are all projected to be first-round picks.

"You're trying to find out as much as you can, and this is just another piece of the puzzle. We'll spend even more time as we leave here to continue to build a case for who's gonna have an opportunity to play for us and I think that's what you have to do," Jackson said.

"There's so much that goes into this decision and I think there's no rush by any stretch of the imagination because we want to make the right decision. But I think there's a lot of different things that you need to work through when you're talking about putting a quarterback on your football team."

Jackson, who has spoken of the need for quarterbacks to be the "face of the organization," echoed that sentiment.

"I think that's really important and a lot of pressure comes with that," he said, "so a guy's got to be able to handle that."

The combine should provide him and the Browns more answers.

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