Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 6/5/12

Stop me if you have heard this one before. Kid walks on the football field and throws the prettiest 55 yard pass that you could see. Enough Zip so that the ball only lifts 15 yards off the ground and when the receiver catches the ball it’s still moving with velocity. You think you have found the next great QB, until he tells you “I’m a baseball player”.

 To often players commit to one sport in High School. Then when they don’t make it pro, they are stuck with the realization that a real 9-5 job may be on the horizon. 

Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham have popularized basketball players switching to football. So maybe things are starting to turn for the better. Football is becoming the fall back for athletes who did not go pro in basketball and baseball.

 Most NFL quarterbacks were highly recruited baseball players, John Elway and Dan Marino were both drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 1979 Major League Baseball draft.  So the talent to play multiple sports is there, but a time has to come when you decide which way to go.

 Brandon Weeden is not the first to try his hand at being a pro baseball player and return to college to play QB.  Drew Henson and Chris Weinke set the table for this trend. Although Drew Henson was terrible and Chris Weinke was a career backup, the standard was set.  

 Could Brandon Weeden be better than Chris Weinke or Drew Henson?

 I believe that answer to be yes, and I’ll tell you why.

  • Brandon Weeden did everything in college that you need to do in order to get drafted. He has the size, arm strength, and accuracy that you look for when grading quarterbacks.   

  • In his first year as the starting quarterback Weeden passed for 4,277 passing yards, 34 touchdowns and 13 interceptions with a 66.9 completion percentage in 2010 while playing much of the season with a ruptured tendon on his throwing thumb.

  • Coming back for his senior season Weeden threw for 4,727 yards and 37 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while completing 72.4 percent of his passes. Not only did Weeden improve on the amount of yards he passed for, but he also improved on his completion percentage.

  • Andrew Luck, Robert Griffith III, and Ryan Tannehill were all Quarterbacks drafted in Top Ten of the 2012 NFL Draft. Brandon Weeden beat them all.

  • Weeden played two years of college football and for two years he was the quarterback for the Fred Biletnikoff award winner, an award given to the nation’s best wide receiver Justin Blackmon.

  So what is the problem with this pick for a franchise that has been chasing a QB of the future since 1999?

 Oh yeah that’s right, he is 28 years old…., but let’s really examine what his age brings

  • Brandon Weeden was a high school shortstop that was drafted as a pitcher by the New York Yankees out of high school.  A torn labrum and tendinitis ended his baseball career early. Within days Brandon had made the decision to try his hand at college football.

 The loss of the baseball career could ultimately work in Brandon’s advantage as he likes to say

“In baseball, you guys know, it’s a game of failure. I’ve failed, and I’ve had some success.”

 Other than Brandon Weedens age, there is not much to say about the way he plays the game.

  ”It used to kind of get under my skin, but there can be a lot worse things I can be answering questions about,” said Weeden. “There’s nothing else. That’s really the only knock on me is my age. I have fun with it. “And here’s the fact: I can’t change it. I can change a lot of things, my footwork, throwing motion, release, this and this and this. I can’t change my birth certificate. I wish I could pull a Danny Almonte, but I can’t do it.”

 Brandon is no slam dunk pick as the future leader and Super Bowl champion of the Cleveland Browns.

  • What I have heard from all the scouting reports is that Brandon could not anticipate throws. He could not roll out of the pocket well and when under pressure was not really accurate with the ball tending to throwing off his back foot. With him being in the shotgun and running a system offense he would have a hard time coming out from under center and \having to make quick decisions.

 That sounds like any quarterback in the NFL.  Take a look at Tom Brady’s scouting report and it will say does not move well laterally and does not throw well under pressure.

 At the Senior Bowl all the scouts raved at how he picked up the offense quickly. He adjusted well and showed the most improvement day to day, so the ability to learn the offense should not really be as big a concern as people think. Remember he came intoOklahomaStateshattering all the QB records.

 Sporting News writer Russ Lande was writing on the Senior Bowl, these are some reports he has made on Brandon Weeden.

 1. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State, (South Squad) Weeden saved his best day for the final padded practice. He displayed outstanding arm strength, making great throws with excellent accuracy. He showed excellent touch on a fade route into the end zone and the ability to squeeze passes between defenders. It was clear from this week of practice that Weeden was the best quarterback in Mobile and has legit first-round talent.

 8. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State. From the first practice on Monday, Weeden not only showed the strongest arm, but also was the most consistent all-around passer. He displayed the touch to put balls in spots where only the receiver had a chance to make a play. He did an excellent job of setting up and getting rid of the ball quickly, and made intermediate and deep throws look easy. According to numerous NFL sources, Weeden impressed teams even more when they interviewed him as he displayed the maturity, football intelligence and confidence with which few college quarterbacks enter the NFL. We have a feeling that after his performance this week, Weeden is going to climb draft boards in spite of his age (he will turn 29 in 2012) and will end up being a first-round pick.

 Bill Livingston of the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote an article after the first week of OTA’s:  Brandon Weeden is the most talented Cleveland Browns QB in a long time.

 In my opinion Kelly Holcombe has been the best quarterback to get under center since the Browns returned in 1999. Yes the city is standing behind Colt McCoy, but only because we wanted to give the kid a chance.  Cleveland is a city that likes to do that, remember Charlie Frye.

 Like I said, or for that matter like everyone has said Brandon Weeden is 28 years old, but who cares. Kurt Warner found success starting his first NFL career at 28, Roger Staubach is America’s QB but he did not play his first game until he was 27.  We know that it can be done at any age. Now all Brandon has to go and do is prove it.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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