Getting the QB right is the litmus test of every NFL team. If you don't, you won't win. PERIOD!!!
Over the past 10 years, the Browns have taken two shots at first round QB's since 2014. The first was Johnny Manziel, the second...Baker Mayfield. During that period, the Browns have been mocked/vilified for not drafting QB X,Y or Z. Looking back...it doesn't look nearly as damning.
Here is the list of QBs taken in the 1st round in the 5 year period of 2014-2018
2014: Manziel - Out of football; Bortles - currently a FA with no takers; Bridgewater - about to have a competition with Sam Darnold in Carolina...but does anyone see him as a big time starter?; Carr was a 2nd round pick, but he is by far the most successful in this draft..but still not exactly a superstar
2015: Winston - turnover machine trying to revive his career in NO...will he actually win the job and keep it?; Mariota - backup QB in LV
2016: Goff - after 2 decent years, he has plummeted, lack of arm and vision has him trying to resurrect his career in Detroit; Wentz - another QB that flashed and burned. Will his old coach bring him back to life in Indi?; Lynch - do I need to say anything?
2017: Trubisky - Never really caught on in Chicago, now a backup in Buffalo; Mahomes - the one that got away, rumors say the Browns were trying to get him and then bailed on 12 after he was poached. THAT one hurts a bit.; Watson - lots of stats...but most in cleanup. I don't see him nearly as good as some do...but that may all be irrelevant now as his career is in serious jeopardy due to off the field issues. Anyone still think we should trade Baker for him?
2018: Baker - after a rough year with a bad HC, surviving 3 HC's in his first 2 years, he has come out of it with his needle rising and leading a playoff team.; Darnold - on to Carolina to compete with Bridgewater.; Allen - first 2 years were rough, but he broke out in 2020. Needle is pointing up.; Rosen - backup in SF; Jackson - he is a winning QB, but it says something when WR's are AVOIDING playing with him.
In the end, during that 5 years, 16 QB's were taken in the 1st round. Of those 16, NONE take before 2017 are with their original team...NONE...and only Mahomes, Watson, Mayfield, Allen and Jackson are still not only with the team that drafted them, but starting.
That is less than 33% success rate (but again, Watson has off the field issues and wants a trade and Jackson is proving to be WR repellent). Long term, I see Mahomes, Mayfield, and Allen duling it out for the AFC and dominating the SB.
In hindsight, the Browns did VERY WELL!