It's Week 14 of the 2013 NFL season and the Cleveland Browns, by some magical stroke of luck, aren't yet mathematically out of the playoffs. Chalk it up to the relative mediocrity of the AFC in general but there's still a faint whiff of the postseason floating around Cleveland and Browns fans are basking in it (mostly because it covers up the stench of dead fish, wet homeless people and polluted water). This is a new feeling in Cleveland. Fans aren't accustomed to talking about the postseason in December.
What they are accustomed to, however, is talking about the draft.
The NFL Draft is the Super Bowl for the Cleveland Browns.
It's like crazy, overweight, uber-religious families and Christmas. They spend eleven months waiting for it, one entire month enjoying it, and the moment it's over, they're planning for the next one.
The NFL Draft is what keeps Browns fans plodding through the awfulness that is being a Cleveland sports fan. It's what they look forward to immediately following [insert quarterback here]'s first interception of the season. Unfortunately for Cleveland, while the rest of the teams in the AFC North are opening up shiny new Playstations in the form of franchise quarterbacks and late round runningbacks, the Browns keep getting lumps of Brandon Weeden shaped coal, year after year.
But, this year, Cleveland has something different: a brand new daddy in the form of new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam. Sure, their new daddy might be a little shady, a little rough around the edges. He may participate in questionable corporate practices. That's neither here nor there, because this daddy has deep pockets and he knows what all his little children want: a franchise QB.
Okay, the Christmas metaphor is playing itself out.
Plain and simple, the Browns have a new owner, one with seemingly endless amounts of money (for now). This owner seems to want to win. Being a former minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, he's used to winning. He's gone out and assembled a Front Office staff that is easily the most qualified and experienced staff that Cleveland has seen since it's rebirth. Complete with an offensive "innovator" and hometown hero at head coach, a highly experienced and successful offensive coordinator, a fiery, blitz happy defensive coordinator, a General Manager with a speed dial to rival Jim Irsay's, and a CEO that can successfully balance the books of a Fortune 500 company in his sleep, the staff in place in Cleveland is the most diverse and experienced this franchise has ever seen.
And this staff is an agreement on one main thing: to win in today's NFL, you need a franchise quarterback.
Weeden isn't it. Campbell isn't it. Hoyer, while being a very welcome surprise, isn't it either.
While we let these final weeks play out, it's time to start taking a look at the candidates to become the Browns 21st (22nd? 23rd?) starting quarterback since 1998.
Over the next few weeks, I'll be breaking down many of the 2014 NFL Draft quarterback prospects. As we all know, NFL draft rankings are extremely fluid. Some of these guys are underclassmen and may decide not to declare. Other guys may experience injuries in their respective conference championships and bowl games. I will do my best to keep the dossiers on them as current as possible.