The 2014 NFL draft is not thin on high-profile quarterbacks, nor does it lack teams with high picks and holes to fill under center.
One of those teams is the Cleveland Browns, who will pick fourth overall Thursday night, but first-year head coach Mike Pettine isn’t ready to hand the job over to a rookie just yet. In fact, Pettine said Thursday that it will be a tall task for any 2014 prospect to beat out his incumbent, Brian Hoyer.
“There will be competition, but I think it will be very difficult, based on my evaluation of this year’s draft class, it will be very difficult for anyone in this draft class to come in and beat (Hoyer) out. I really believe that,” Pettine said, via USA Today.
Hoyer, formerly Tom Brady’s backup with the New England Patriots, had a very abbreviated stint as the Browns’ starter last season, tearing his ACL during his third game. Cleveland won all three of those games, however, and Hoyer said he is confident that he can continue that success if given the chance to start this season.
“I only played three games before I got hurt, so it’s not like I had a full season under my belt for them to say, ‘Hey, he’s the guy we’re going to go with.’ I don’t blame them for it,” said Hoyer, a Cleveland native who grew up rooting for the Browns. “No matter what happens in the draft, I’ll have that chance to compete for the starting job, and if it comes down to that, I have the ultimate confidence in myself that no matter who they bring in here, I can beat them out.”
The Browns hold two picks in the first round of this year’s draft (Nos. 4 and 26) and one (No. 35) early in the second. They are widely expected to use one on a quarterback.