By Christopher DiMarino
Without insulting either the Cleveland Browns organization or Ryan Tannehill, let me elaborate on why I believe Pittsburgh Steelers fans shouldn’t lose sleep over Tannehill. The Browns have been in hot water for the past 2 seasons regarding their franchise quarterback. Colt McCoy is a very hard worker and a great leader, but many doubt he has the physical abilities to be a long term solution. McCoy’s stats to date have been far from great which only backs up these accusations. In his defense, he severely lacks weapons and is on a team that typically trails early. So the great debate began, replace McCoy or augment him with weapons.
It was made public that Pat Shurmur assured McCoy that he was their starting quarterback. This reassurance came amidst the rumors that the Browns were trying to trade up 2 spots to draft RG3. All seemed copacetic until it came out that the Browns were instead trying to trade for Sam Bradford. To remind everyone, before the Rams traded their 2nd overall pick, there were rumors that they might draft RG3 and trade Bradford. McCoy now must feel offset; this chain of events would make any quarterback uneasy. Cleveland will without a doubt be a frictional setting for any quarterback for years to come.
The Browns (like the Bengals) have 2 first round selections (4th and 22nd). Tannehill enters the draft as the 3rd rated QB. He has a good physical attributes, but only one season of experience in college. Many critics are questioning his intangibles, while others contend that his arm strength alone should land him in the top 10. Cleveland picks 4th which, in many people’s opinion, is way too early to grab Tannehill. But should they pass at 4, it is extremely unlikely he will get past the Dolphins at pick 8. So the odds of that 22nd pick landing Tannehill are slim, especially when you consider how QBs always seem to get drafted much early than expected.
If they take Tannehill at 4, he will likely hit a worse pitfall than McCoy. Not only will they still be light on high caliber weapons, but they lost star running back Peyton Hillis this offseason. Combine these factors with his learning curve for understanding a new system and preparing for NFL caliber defenses (Ravens and Steelers twice). So the converse of drafting Tannehill would be to draft Justin Blackmon at 4 and give McCoy a fighting chance. Or, they could even replace Hillis with Trent Richardson at 4 and use pick 22 on another high quality receiver like Kendall Wright, Reuben Randle or Stephen Hill. The only way that the Browns will draft Tannehill is if they trade down to Jacksonville (which is unlikely) or the fins pass on him. So Steelers fans can rest at ease, knowing that while the Browns will look different on Offense, McCoy will still likely be their signal caller come September.