Brandon Weeden was chosen 22nd overall in this year’s NFL draft, and it is beginning to look like he may well be the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns this season.
So, what has been the one thing that everyone has seemed determined to focus on?
Brandon Weeden will be 29 years old by the time the season starts.
During the months preceding the draft, analysts discussed his game and dissected everything to do with Weeden, much like they do every rookie prospect.
But the one thing that they kept coming back to was his age. Not everyone saw it as problem, but it was an issue that kept rearing its head, none the less.
I want to go on the record here and say that I think Weeden’s age will help him as he tries to forge a career for himself in the NFL.
Just a bit of background before we move forward; Weeden didn’t always play football. He was drafted in the second round of the 2002 baseball draft by the New York Yankees. After bouncing around several teams, injuries ended his baseball career, and he played his last games for the High Desert Mavericks in the Class-A California league.
Weeden then enrolled at Oklahoma State in 2007, but it wasn’t until 2010 that he was named as the starting quarterback. In his 2011 senior season, he led the Cowboys to an 11-1 record, culminating in a victory over Andrew Luck’s Stanford team in the Fiesta Bowl.
Scouts and coaches may look at his age and see that they will obviously not be getting as many years out of Weeden than they would a 22-year-old.
But what they are getting is someone who has already been a professional athlete. He has shown that he can lead men into battle and I am sure his maturity has been a benefit, especially when playing with young, and at times volatile players at the college level.
Weeden has a good head on his shoulders, as well as having the football skills to match. He is well sized at 6’4 and 221 lbs. He has a quick release, and good arm strength, and his accuracy when throwing the ball is one of his strong points.
Unlike a lot of the quarterbacks chosen in this year’s draft, Weeden should be able to start immediately. He is a proven leader and can compete well under pressure. Granted, he may not have faced the toughest of defences in his college days, but he has all the skills necessary to be a winner in today’s NFL.
But he must produce straight away. Like Weeden has mentioned in interviews, he cannot help the fact that he is 28. But the fact remains that in a few years time, the skills he has at the moment could well be waning.
However, if the Cleveland Browns can get a good few years of production out of Weeden, they will be well placed to turn their franchise around. Don’t forget that the Browns also drafted running back Trent Richardson with the third overall pick this year. If those two rookies can get it going, the Browns could be one of this year’s surprises.