2012 Rookie QBs: Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns
By Matt Waldman
Posted June 24th, 2012

Strengths: When Weeden has time he can pick apart a defense that plays zone. Weeden sets his feet welll and makes turns with good positioning of his feet to deliver the ball from the pocket. He has a strong enough arm to make the requisite NFL passes, and he's willing to throw the ball on the move or deliver the ball knowing that pressure is coming. He also demonstrates a good command of the routes and an internal clock about when those routes are breaking open. He will work from one side to the other when scanning the field. His delivery is quick - the elbow is above the shoulder - and he can fire it over the top or from a three-quarter delivery with velocity. He has strong arm mechanics, and combined with his size, he's the classic first-round draft pick based on meeting the prototypes of arm, school, and physique.

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Weaknesses: Weeden may understand where his routes are on the field, but he needs to make sure he's not making risky throws into coverage just because he knows where his receivers are supposed to be and wants to get rid of the ball quickly. He's very quick to throw blind as he turns and this leads to rash or foolish decisions when it comes to checking the ball down or throwing the ball away to stop the clock. Sometimes Weeden makes plays that are predetermined, and he gets stuck in situations where he's making a good throw but a bad decision against a good defensive scheme for his play. The biggest question surrounding him is whether Weeden can demonstrate the same consistent accuracy, touch, and decision-making under center while dropping three, five, and seven steps and facing pressure, rather than one-step, hitch, and throw from the shotgun.

2012 Outlook: Weeden was drafted in a spot where he'll be expected to earn the starting job in Cleveland this season. Expect a turnover-ridden, rookie year in one of the tougher divisions in the NFL. Weeden projects as a bye-week starter, at best, in 2012.

Dynasty Outlook: If Weeden can survive his rookie year and demonstrate more skill under pressure in a pressure-packed AFC North, then there's potential that he can become a top-15 fantasy quarterback for years to come. Just remember that at age 29, this has to happen within the next year or two and Weeden's game needs to remain at this level for at least four to six years for picking him to make sense. This is a pretty narrow margin of error when it comes to selecting quarterbacks. Weeden projects as a fantasy backup four years from now. Drafting him as a starter is risky, even if he has the opportunity right now.

NFL Comparison: Chad Henne is a solid comparison for Weeden. Both are strong-armed passers from big programs with issues dealing with pressure and lack the maneuverability and consistent decision-making to overcome the realities of starting in the NFL.

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