If the Browns draft a quarterback No. 1 overall — as most expect them to do — Hue Jackson hopes Cleveland doesn’t have to play him immediately.
“Would be have to? I would hope not,” Jackson said Wednesday from the NFL Scouting Combine. “I would hope there’s other things. There’s going to be other opportunities, as we all know. We have free agency right upon us as well. We also have opportunities with the quarterbacks that are on our football team right now. Again, we’ve just got to see how it all fits as we move forward.”
The Browns have another opportunity to get veteran AJ McCarron after botching a trade with the Bengals for the quarterback at the trade deadline. McCarron, who becomes a free agent March 14, has ties to Jackson, having gone 2-1 as the starter in 2015 with Jackson as his offensive coordinator.
Jackson declined comment on McCarron specifically but was asked about projecting quarterbacks with a small sample size. McCarron played in only 11 games and made only three starts — plus one postseason game — in four seasons.
“I think you look where they come from, who did they play for,” Jackson said. “I think there are a lot of other different variables you can look at, and then it’s obviously projecting. Can a guy come in and play for you and do the things you need him to do to help you win? I think you have to go through all those different scenarios and play them all out to see what fits for you.”
The Browns are evaluating the top quarterbacks in the draft and will get a chance to watch them and talk to them even more this week.
“I’ve seen them all,” Jackson said. “Obviously, this is another opportunity starting now to get a chance to talk to them, to get a feel for them a little bit more. I think it’s too early in the process to really talk about where they are, where they rank or anything like that. But I think obviously this is really the start of it, and you’ll work through the combine, work through the pro days, the private workouts and all those things, and we’ll get to know them more as we go through the process.”