Browns owner: No. 1 priority is to find quarterback

David Kenyon
Courtesy of Joe Nicholson, USA Today Sports

In consecutive years, the Cleveland Browns have traded out of draft spots that other teams found franchise quarterbacks. They want to avoid a third straight mistake.

During the introductory press conference for general manager John Dorsey, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said Dorsey’s primary responsibility is identifying and acquiring the right quarterback.

Per Keith Britton of 92.3 The Fan, Haslam said:

“The Cleveland Browns are not going to be successful until we get a QB. We’re going to look at free agency and the draft. And we’re going to do whatever it takes.”

That, of course, is far easier said than done, especially for the Browns.

Since drafting Tim Couch with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft, Cleveland has started 28 quarterbacks. Including Couch, the Browns have used four first-round selections on the position. The last three picks combined for 40 starts in Cleveland.

In 2016, a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles netted the NFC East squad Carson Wentz. In 2017, the Houston Texans traded up to select Deshaun Watson.

Meanwhile, the 0-12 Browns are approaching an offseason where they are expected to hold the No. 1 selection of the draft again. Top college prospects to watch include Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield.

Although the Los Angeles quarterbacks, Rosen and Darnold, have not officially declared for the NFL, at least one is expected to pursue the pros. Louisville star Lamar Jackson could join the bunch, though Mayfield is a senior and rising on draft boards.

Haslam also mentioned Cleveland will look at free agency, but Kirk Cousins seems like the only realistic option. And there’s no guarantee he’d want to leave Washington in favor of joining a franchise facing even more issues.

Either way, however, the message is clear: Dorsey better find the right quarterback, or else he might not last long with the Browns.