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Monday, March 29, 2010
AFC North mailbag: Browns

By James Walker
ESPN.com

I must say the Dawgpound has been the most active readership in our AFC North inbox this offseason. There are a lot of questions surrounding the Cleveland Browns in recent weeks, so let's get some answers.

Nathan from Coralville, Iowa, writes: I know the Browns overpaid for Jake Delhomme. But how can he seriously be penciled in as a starter? Isn't Seneca Wallace a much better quarterback?

James Walker: Delhomme is more proven, Nathan, and has led teams to the playoffs and a Super Bowl. Wallace doesn’t have near the same qualifications. And let’s be honest: A $7 million salary does have a lot of clout in who plays next season. You don’t want Delhomme sitting on the sideline with that kind of money holding a clipboard. That would mean Cleveland's front office made a huge mistake.


Michael Estep from Cleveland wants to know why the Browns don't skip drafting a quarterback and wait for University of Washington's Jake Locker next year.

Walker: Because football is too unpredictable and teams do not operate the way fans often think, Michael. Waiting for Locker involves too many variables. First, you're assuming the Browns will go 2-14 next year to secure the No. 1 overall pick. What if they go 5-11 again or 8-8? Second, what if Locker has a down year and/or suffers a major injury next season for the Huskies? It would be foolish for Cleveland to try to predict everything that will happen a year from now when the team can attempt to improve the quarterback position in this year's draft.


Joseph from Columbus, Ohio, writes: If the season started today, who are the Browns' starting linebackers?

Walker: Unofficially it would be D'Qwell Jackson and Scott Fujita in the middle and David Bowens and Matt Roth on the outside. Eric Barton's status is a bit up in the air coming off neck surgery, but I think Jackson is younger and better at this stage. "King Kong" Marcus Benard also is a possibility on the outside, but he's likely the first guy off the bench on passing downs. The Browns are not done acquiring players. So some things can still change by training camp.


Paul Whitmore from Grand Blanc, Mich., wants to know "IF" (in capital letters) Texas quarterback Colt McCoy is drafted, when will he become the starter.

Walker: I'm glad you emphasized the "if," Paul. Because the Browns are definitely interested in McCoy, but with 31 other teams you just never know how the draft will shake out. But if McCoy is drafted as Cleveland's long-term solution at quarterback, the team's goal would be for him to sit at least one year under Delhomme to get use to the speed of the NFL game. But if Delhomme plays the way he played last year, McCoy or any rookie quarterback could see action late next season.