It's no question that the Cleveland Browns have a dire need to draft a quarterback in the 2014 draft. With the clearing out of Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden, there is a gaping hole on the roster sheet at the most important position on the team. Brian Hoyer may emerge as a winning starter. But as of now, he is far from the clear quarterback poised to bring this ill-fated franchise to taste the postseason anytime soon. However, if the new management and coach follow their predecessors in putting all their hope on a high first-round quarterback, they will find themselves in the same situation as previous administrations.
The solution to the Browns first day flops is to take a low risk, high value pick. One that can start from day one and one who has a low probability of being a bust. Jake Matthews will most likely be available at pick four and will likely have a relatively long career with the experience to start come Week One. In five years, no one will be talking about how regrettable taking Matthews was. Something the Cleveland fans and commentators have not been able to say much in the past in regards to first rounders.
The experienced four year starting offensive tackle at Texas A&M has long been viewed as a top ten draft prospect and his performance at the scouting combine solidified this perspective. Displaying excellent athleticism and agility for a 6'5" 308 lb offensive lineman, Matthews showed the scouts exactly what is to be expected of a top ten talent. This is just the kind of safe pick that the Browns usually pass over with the first pick and we all know how that's been working out for them.
Jake Matthews is the smart pick not only because he is a top ten talent, but because whomever ends up taking the reins at quarterback will need superb protection to be successful. Coupled with Pro Bowl center Alex Mack, the offensive line will provide pocket security needed for either a rookie quarterback or Hoyer to do what he needs to do.
Cleveland has a great draft presence this year with two first-round picks and ten in total. Quarterback can be addressed in the second pick of the first round or the first pick of the second round where quality talent will still be available. This reduces obligatory pressure put on a top quarterback to be the Cleveland Browns savior. With such an abundance of draft picks, Cleveland is in the position to put together rookie additions that will compose a solid team if chosen wisely. Add that to the offseason free agency upgrades at running back (Ben Tate), wide receiver (Andrew Hawkins and Nate Burleson), linebacker (Karlos Dansby), and safety (Donte Whitner).
With such uncertainty with the top quarterbacks of this draft class, the Browns can't risk another bust with their first pick. Decision makers seem to be bucking the trend of bad choices made in the past and hopefully in May that will continue. If they do, we will see a Browns season next year that is built on a more solid foundation than just hope.