Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden didn't exactly silence his critics during his rookie season last year, but the 29-year-old sophomore-to-be has no doubts about what he'll do in 2013.
Weeden said Monday he can beat out any competition the Browns' front office brings to camp this year, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer:
"I completely expect to be the starter," Weeden said before an appearance Monday at the Cleveland Auto Show. "That's my mind-set going in. I'm confident in my ability to be the guy, to lead this football team. I expect completely to be better this year than I was last year."
Weeden started 15 games for the Browns after they drafted him with the No. 22 overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft. He led the Browns to a 5-10 record in those games. He completed 57 percent of his passes for 3,385 yards and 14 touchdowns. He outpaced his touchdowns with interceptions, though, throwing 17 picks.
Weeden's primary competition for the quarterback job came from Colt McCoy, who was the team's third-round pick in 2010. McCoy played in just three games in 2012, completing nine passes for 79 yards and a touchdown.
With a new regime in town, Cleveland might want to head in a new direction at the quarterback position. However, after spending a first-round draft pick on Weeden just last season, it would be more of a shock if Weeden was pushed aside than if he wasn't. It would be hard for the Browns to give up so quickly on Weeden, unless they can get some kind of return on him.
Regardless, Weeden, McCoy and Thaddeus Lewis -- the No. 3 quarterback -- are all still on the Browns' roster for next season. But could they make a move in free agency, the draft or via trade to improve the most important position on the team?
Dawgs By Nature suggests a pair of backups elsewhere in the NFL that could step in tomorrow and make a difference:
The "best" potential tall, big armed quarterbacks that are available for acquisition are Matt Moore and Ryan Mallet. Neither is a blue chip prospect; Moore possesses NFL experience and has had limited success, but doesn't have the arm Mallet possess. He also made his living out of dunderhead decisions in the college ranks, and went in the third round due to the combination of maturity issues and the aforementioned decision making.
Unless the Browns make a run for Joe Flacco, there isn't much on the free agent market. The Browns have a lot of money to spend this offseason, but all indications point to Flacco re-joining the Ravens with a long, expensive contract. That leaves ... Rex Grossman or Jason Campbell? Neither would be the quarterback of the future for the Browns.
So that leaves the draft -- with endless options. Although it's not considered the best year to draft a quarterback, the Browns can still use a mid-round pick on a quarterback and let him compete with Weeden & Co. for the starting job. West Virginia's Geno Smith is likely to be the first off the board, but the Browns could still make a run for a handful of other play callers.
Todd McShay said he doesn't rate any quarterback first-round worthy, but feels Matt Barkley, Mike Glennon, Tyler Wilson, Tyler Bray, Landry Jones and Ryan Nassib could be second- or third-round draft picks. The latest SB Nation NFL mock draft has the Browns selecting a linebacker in the first round.
While it seems Weeden can win the starter's job, don't be surprised if the Browns do bring in some competition. After all, what do the Browns have to lose? They haven't had a winning season since 2007.
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