In my final look at the Browns QB situation we look at rookie first round draft pick, Brady Quinn.
College: Notre Dame
As a three year starter for the Fighting Irish, shattered 36 school records including career pass attempts, completions, yards, yards per game, touchdown passes, and lowest interception percentage. Won 29 games as a starter which is tied for most in school history. Ranks in the top ten in NCAA Division I history in career pass attempts, passing yards, and touchdown passes. Was selected in the 1st Round of the 2007 NFL Draft (22nd overall) by the Browns.
Pros: Just like Charlie Frye, Quinn is Cleveland born and Cleveland bred so he too lives, dies and bleeds orange and brown. Perfect college pedigree after studying under offensive guru Charlie Weis his last two years at Notre Dame. Played in an NFL style system under Weis and thrived in it. Extremely intelligent as he graduated from ND with a double major in Finance and Political Science and was one of the highest scorers on the pre-draft Wonderlic Test given to every draft prospect. Prototypical size for NFL QB, very athletic and calm in the pocket. May have a chip on his shoulder after 21 other teams passed on him in the 2007 NFL Draft.
Cons: Seems to lack accuracy at times on throws to the sideline or down the field. Wears his emotions on his sleeve at times which some consider to be a lack of confidence and leadership. Many of his statistics in college came versus what many believe to be sub-par talent due to the weak schedule Notre Dame carried as an independent program. Suffers from a supposed big game stigma as he failed to win a Bowl Game or a game against a top ranked program during his entire college career. A work out freak, which some consider to be a bad trait for quarterbacks as they need more arm and shoulder flexibility and less muscle mass.
Prognosis: Brady Quinn seems to be the national media whipping boy. From his demeanor at the NFL Draft to his hair style it seems everyone loves to hate Brady... He is not in the same league as JaMarcus Russell... He played against inferior talent... He can't win the big game...
But isn't this the guy who was the consensus #1 pick if he would have come out after his Junior year in 2006? Isn't this the same guy who would have beaten USC if Reggie Bush hadn't illegally pushed Matt Leinart into the end zone in 2006? Isn't this the same guy who has put up monster numbers against top college level talent only to have his defense give up 40+ points and lose?
I'm not saying Brady Quinn is the next Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer or Tom Brady. But I don't think he's the next Akili Smith, Ryan Leaf or Tim Couch. I do think that he will be a more than solid NFL QB for years to come due to his work ethic, determination and desire to prove his doubters wrong.
Now despite all his tools and talent, the NFL game is a totally different speed that the NCAA. Unless he just plays like gang busters in training camp he should not start the season as QB1. Even though the Browns have improved their O-Line and have weapons that neither Tim Couch or Charlie Frye had in their rookie seasons, I get the vibe that Quinn will need some time to adjust to the NFL game (a la Carson Plamer or Steve McNair).
The last thing the Browns need to do is ruin another rookie QB like Couch or Frye, especially one that actually has a ton of talent. Quinn needs to learn for a year or so. Play here or there in 2007 when the situation allow it and build for launch in 2008. The 2007 Cleveland Browns do not have a large chance to be a factor in the NFL. The 2008 Cleveland Browns do. Especially now that they have their "Franchise QB" on their roster.
And for those who say the Browns gave up too much for him with the 2008 1st round draft pick... the only two "top tier" QBs coming out in 2008 are Brian Brohm of Louisville and Colt Brennan of Hawaii. I will take Brady Quinn over them in a heartbeat.