By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The Cleveland Browns will be drafting a quarterback this year in hopes of saving the franchise.

Yes, much like 2017, and 2016, and 2014, and 2012, and 2010, and 2007, and 2005, and 1999, the Browns are set to use a high draft pick to select a quarterback. It’s a situation that puts top prospects in the unenviable position of having to publicly state that getting drafted by the Cleveland Browns would be anything but the very worst moment of their lives.

As we sit here during a blizzard in New England while we await a not-totally-exciting weekend of playoff football, we’ve got some time to think. And, after CBS displayed the humorous graphic comparing the Jets’ all-time touchdown leaders to Brady this past weekend, why not expend a little bit of brainpower to a good old-fashioned “Brady is so much better than this bad franchise” comparison?

Just like every other NFL team, the Browns had ample opportunity to select Mr. Brady out of Michigan in the 2000 draft. After all, after having restarted the franchise in 1999, there’s no doubt the new Browns braintrust wanted to land a franchise quarterback who could lead the team to glory for many years to come.

They believed that man was Tim Couch.


Worse, after drafting Couch first overall in 1999, the Browns still could have added Brady when they made the 183rd selection in the 2000 draft.

Instead they drafted Spergon Wynn.

Double woof.

But hey, in 2016, they could have drafted Carson Wentz at No. 2 … oh, right, they traded that pick and ended up selecting Cody Kessler. Hmm.

OK but they made up for it in 2017, when they owned the No. 1 overall pick and the No. 12 pick so they were all set to take Deshaun Watson — OH NO they traded that pick away too and ended up going with DeShone Kizer! My apologies for forgetting that.

Anyway. As you know by now, some 18 years after the Browns drafted Wynn, Brady was drafted 16 picks after that and has gone on to become the greatest quarterback of all time. For the Cleveland Browns, that has got to sting.

While the disparity between Brady and Whoever Has Quarterbacked The Browns has been quite obvious, it really looks worse when you compare their accomplishments side-by-side — even when you spot the Browns the two-plus season head start they got before Brady became a starter.

Tom Brady (2001-17)
488 TDs
160 INTs

Browns QBs (1999-2017)
325 TDs
355 INTs

I don’t know what’s more amazing — Brady throwing 163 more touchdowns in 34 fewer games, or Brady throwing 195 fewer interceptions. It’s probably the latter.

Look at this, as well. It is humorous.

Browns total touchdown passes since 2001 (272 games): 297
Brady’s playoff touchdown passes since 2001 (34 games):

Ha! What a romp! That’s 21 percent of the touchdowns in 13 percent of the games.

It’s funny, too, when you itemize the quarterbacks who have started games for the Browns since 1999. So let’s do it!

Browns starting QBs since 1999 (# of starts in parentheses)
Tim Couch (59)
Derek Anderson (34)
Colt McCoy (21)
Brandon Weeden (20)
Charlie Frye (19)
Brian Hoyer (16)
DeShone Kizer (15)
Brady Quinn (12)
Kelly Holcomb (12)
Josh McCown (11)
Trent Dilfer (11)
Jeff Garcia (10)
Cody Kessler (8)
Johnny Manziel (8)
Doug Pederson (8)
Jason Campbell (8)
Seneca Wallace (7)
Robert Griffin III (5)
Jake Delhomme (4)
Luke McCown (4)
Ken Dorsey (3)
Ty Detmer (2)
Austin Davis (2)
Spergon Wynn (1)
Bruce Gradkowski (1)
Thaddeus Lewis (1)
Connor Shaw (1)
Kevin Hogan (1)

Patriots starting QBs since 1999 (# of starts in parentheses)
Tom Brady (251)
Drew Bledsoe (34)
Matt Cassel (15)
Jimmy Garoppolo (2)
Jacoby Brissett (1)

Should we do wins? I guess so.

Browns’ record since 2001 (reg. season and playoffs): 83-190
Brady’s record (reg. season and playoffs):

Wow. I guess when you look at it that way, Brady and the Patriots really are better than the Browns. (Remember: It’s snowing out.)

One area where the Browns have matched Brady is in perfect seasons.

Number of Browns’ 0-16 seasons: 1
Number of Brady’s 16-0 seasons:

What’s the point of all of this, you ask? Eh, not much. But with Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield all set to get asked a million times in the coming months how they feel about potentially being drafted by the Browns, they should briefly imagine how badly the Browns could have destroyed even Tom Brady if he had been selected by Cleveland on that fateful April day in the spring of 2000. Then they should do whatever they can do to avoid being the next victim.

You can email Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.


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