Connor Shaw and Jimmy Garoppolo are the latest quarterback prospects to work out for the Cleveland Browns. They are just two names on a list that grows with each week leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft.
You can't blame Browns general manager Ray Farmer for wanting to do his homework before the draft. The Browns have been selecting near the top of each draft for several years, and finding a franchise quarterback is the best way to stop that trend. Given their draft position(s), they're in a great spot if they find a guy they believe in.
Latest Mock Draft
Latest Mock Draft
Currently the Browns have three of the top 35 picks in the draft: No. 4 overall, No. 26 (a gift from the Indianapolis Colts in the Trent Richardson trade) and No. 35 near the top of the second round. All three spots are potential places for the Browns to find their franchise quarterback -- assuming, of course, that the Browns are convinced that one of the guys they've worked out is the one.
And they certainly need the one. The Browns have had one season with a double-digit win total since the franchise's rebirth in 1999. The list of starting quarterbacks during this time is downright laughable -- from Tim Couch and Brandon Weeden to Ty Detmer and Colt McCoy to Brady Quinn. No matter which head coach, offensive coordinator or quarterback was in place, the results have been surprisingly miserable year after year after year.
Since 1999, the Browns have finished in the bottom third of the NFL in total offense every year except two. They've been in the bottom three for seven of those seasons. Last year's team finished 27th in the NFL in points scored. Now Rob Chudzinski (noted offensive mind) is out and Mike Pettine (defensive one) is at the helm. This doesn't bode well for the Browns, at least on paper.
Yet Farmer hopes to find his man given the team's nice draft assets. Shaw and Garoppolo are just the latest in a long line of interviews and workouts conducted by the Cleveland front office and coaching staff. Teddy Bridgewater has come through town. So has Blake Bortles. Johnny Manziel, too. The list also includes prospects like Derek Carr, Aaron Murray and Tom Savage.
While Murray is a candidate to be taken in the later rounds since he's coming off of ACL surgery, the rest are all prospects rumored to be taken in the first two rounds, and most of them likely in the first. Even Murray could sneak higher than expected given his impressive pro day and college tape. As they say, all it takes is one team to fall in love with a player, and the Browns are asking each on dates.
The Browns are currently linked to wide receiver Sammy Watkins in SB Nation's latest mock draft, but it's also not surprising to see a projected trade up for Manziel at No. 19 overall. It's the team's assortment of 10 overall picks that give them the ammunition to get their man and also grab him at a proper value target. While the frenzy of the draft can wreak havoc, those who are well prepared generally conduct business accordingly.
At this point in the process, that's exactly what Farmer is trying to do.