Every two days, Rishi Pochiraju will reveal a quarterback on his grand list of quarterback rankings. Each quarterback will receive a grade out of 50 – 10 points for each category. Up next: number 27.
#27. Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns
Brandon Weeden’s first year in Cleveland had moments of positive signs and also moments of confusion while playing and not playing (i.e. getting stuck under the American Flag before the season opener). He started fifteen games, going 5-10, but much of the work was done by Trent Richardson and a solid front seven on defense.
It’s sometimes difficult to remember that Weeden is 29 years old and will be 30 in October. He’s actually older than Aaron Rodgers. Weeden’s time in Cleveland, as well as in the league as a starting quarterback, could be limited because he was drafted six years “late”, but that won’t matter if he plays well for the time being.
Physical traits and athleticism
At 6-3, 220 pounds, Weeden is nothing special at the position he plays as a physically gifted athlete – he’s average, but, like most quarterbacks his size, what he has is enough to succeed. He does have a strong arm and his deep balls are accurate, however. Grade: 5.5/10
With a normal NFL-caliber arm, Weeden can make every throw required of him to any receiver. The turnovers he made last season weren’t because of a lack of arm talent – rather, they were because of bad decision-making and anticipation on throws. Weeden’s arm allows him to make accurate intermediate throws, especially on crossing routes and skinny posts. He has the arm strength to stretch the ball down the field to a speedster like Josh Gordon. Grade: 5.5/10
When under pressure and when he’s forced to move out of the pocket, Weeden’s mechanics become sloppy, leading to a lack of anticipation and timing on his throws, which results in interceptions. He often fails to set his feet outside of the pocket, even when he has time. With a clean pocket and excellent vision, though, Weeden is an effective quarterback, especially when he is able to step into his throw and get that zip or touch on the ball – whatever is needed for any certain situation. Grade: 5/10
At times, Weeden looked somewhat uncomfortable in the pocket, although he is tough and can take hits inside the tackle box. He was often too quick with his reads and did not wait for the plays to develop, and checked the ball down to his running back. His pocket awareness is also a concern, and his blitz recognition could be more on-point – he took a number of unnecessary sacks last year. He should be able to fix these mental errors. Grade: 5/10
Weeden worked last offseason to beat out Colt McCoy for the starting quarterback job, and I expect him to beat out Jason Campbell this offseason through hard work and motivation by several factors, including his age. Before the draft, I heard nothing but positive remarks on Weeden’s determination, and by watching him on “Gruden’s QB Camp,” it’s obvious that he’ll do anything to succeed. His play last season did not necessarily live up to the way his intangibles line up, but he comes across as a good-natured person off the field. Grade: 7/10
Weeden should lock down the starting quarterback job during the preseason and training camp. Receiver Josh Gordon believes that the Browns can be “explosive” on offense, and there’s no reason that won’t happen with Weeden (hopefully for the Browns) improving and Trent Richardson returning. Here’s to hoping that Mr. Weeden doesn’t get stuck under the flag. Overall grade: 28/50