SI.com’s Peter King wrote in his recent Monday Morning Quarterback column that Cleveland Browns GM Tom Heckert likes Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon, while Mike Holmgren is trying to decide whether or not to take Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Some have fudged those words into saying the Browns are “torn” between the two, but to me, it reads that the Browns are still undecided with what they will do with that fourth overall pick.
Will they shock the NFL world and take Tannehill? Will they make a huge reach and take Justin Blackmon? Or will they do what I believe to be the smart thing, and take Alabama’s Trent Richardson?
To me, Richardson is the most proven player of this group, both in terms of his performance on and off the field. Taking Blackmon would be a huge reach for need if you ask me, and grabbing Tannehill would be taking him about 20 picks too soon.
However, if the Browns decide that Tannehill can be a franchise quarterback someday, and Colt McCoy cannot, I think you have to make the pick. Cleveland is desperate for an identity as much as anything else, so snatching up a guy they believe could represent the franchise wouldn’t be a bad move. Despite their struggles as rookies, Jake Locker and Christian Ponder look like they will turn out to be pretty good picks.
For the Browns, though, Tannehill would have very high, very unfair expectations given the state of his current development. I don’t think you can expect him to come in and be awesome right away like Cam Newton was, but that’s certainly not out of the question.
Ryan Tannehill is, indeed, a great athlete, but to me, his upside is as a developmental player, not an immediate plug-and-play guy. I could be wrong there, certainly, but I’m not willing to bet that Ryan Tannehill would be an effective opening day starter in 2012, especially with the added pressure of being a top five selection.
I think the Browns need to keep building this team, and if they want a quarterback to come in and play sooner rather than later, wait until your second round pick and take Brandon Weeden from Oklahoma State.