The Cleveland Browns Could Be The Next San Francisco 49ers
I can’t believe I’m writing this either, but here we go: The Browns are in good shape. They had an excellent 2014 Draft, where they filled several needs and drafted at a position where they were potentially already settled: quarterback.
I know, I know, Brian Hoyer is not “good.” But he might be. We only got to watch him play a few games last season before he tore his ACL, but he played well enough — five TDs against three INTs and almost 600 yards in two games against the Bengals and Vikings — to be considered the starter going into this year, even with the arrival of Johnny Manziel.
Could we have the makings of a San Francisco 49ers situation, where their starting quarterback is good, but their backup is even better? When Jim Harbaugh and company traded Alex Smith, game manager extraordinaire, to the Chiefs two years ago, they received the 34th pick (2nd round) in the 2013 draft and the 56th pick (2nd round) in the 2014 draft. After a series of trades, this is their current compensation for their old QB, replaced by the dynamic Colin Kaepernick:
-Tank Carradine, DL (40th pick, 2013)
-Carlos Hyde, RB (57th pick, 2014)
-Chris Borland, LB (77th pick, 2014)
-2015 4th-round pick
That’s amazing. The 49ers were already one of the deepest and most talented teams in the league, and now they’re even deeper and more talented because they traded a guy they didn’t need (and who can’t hurt them in the years to come).
The Browns have been bad for a long, long time. But the current administration understands the need for depth at all positions, including quarterback. If you’re able to develop your backup AND starter to the point where they are both viable candidates to lead your team, you’re going to end up a winner sooner or later.
Cleveland fans should be rooting for Brian Hoyer. He may be standing in the way of Johnny Football’s rise at the moment, but his own success could reap massive rewards for the team — whether he’s wearing a Browns uniform in five years or not.
Now, if only we can figure out a way to turn Lake Erie into the Pacific Ocean, Cleveland will be well on its way to becoming the next San Francisco.
Photo via Getty