There’s no doubt the Cleveland Browns have improved this offseason. It’s not tough to improve on 0-16 last season and 1-15 the season before but the Browns have actually made a concerted effort to bring in talent and get wins.

The Browns have traded for Tyrod Taylor and Jarvis Landry, and with picks 1, 4, 33 and 35 in the NFL Draft, the Browns should get at least a few wins this season.

One area that the Browns haven’t done well in is drafting quarterbacks. Since coming back into the league in 1999, the Browns drafted Tim Couch (R1), Spergon Wynn (R6), Luke McCown (R4), Charlie Frye (R3), Brady Quinn (R1), Colt McCoy (R3), Brandon Weeden (R1), Johnny Manziel (R1), Cody Kessler (R3) and DeShone Kizer (R2). Many of these quarterbacks haven’t lasted long in the NFL and it’s clear that they have a terrible track record with quarterbacks.

That’s Ryan Leaf’s point when he was on The Herd Friday. A self-admitted bust himself, Leaf was trying to look out for all the quarterbacks entering the NFL Draft by warning them about being drafted by the Browns. And if there’s a situation where the Browns are set on drafting a quarterback, Leaf suggests that player should pull an Eli Manning and do all he can to play anywhere else than Cleveland.

“If I were Sam Darnold and I have this leverage right now and I know I’m going to be the first pick in the NFL Draft, I’m going to my agent and I’m saying “Figure out a way for me not to go to Cleveland.””

Weighing the pros and cons for making a decision like this, Leaf has a point here and while it’s pretty scummy, Sam Darnold (or any QB) should at least consider this.

No one is downplaying the kind of shitstorm that will come as a result if Darnold pulls a John Elway or Eli Manning and refuse to go to the team who has the first overall pick. Elway threatened to play baseball for the Yankees instead of playing for the Baltimore Colts while Manning had the support of father Archie and brother Peyton for leverage to not go to the San Diego Chargers.

Both people had to go through a lot of criticism at the time and to this day, some probably haven’t forgiven them. But look at their careers and the facts speak for themselves. Elway and Manning both have two Super Bowls and bother are either in Canton or will be and they certainly wouldn’t have had that success being with two terrible teams with no future at those times.

Does that make a mockery of the Draft? Yes. Does that defeat the purpose of the worst team in the league being able to get the best player in the Draft just because they don’t want to go to that team? Yes. But that’s not Sam Darnold’s problem. Sam Darnold has to worry about one person and that’s Sam Darnold.

I’m not going to lie, the criticism will be strong and will make for a terrible few weeks for Darnold. But as it has been seen before, it could be worth it in the long run. And in our modern-day fishbowl memory newscycle, most people will forget about it within a month anyway. So if Sam Darnold really doesn’t want to go to Cleveland, better speak up now because your NFL career may be on the line.

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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