CLEVELAND -- Leadership was just one of many qualities the Cleveland Browns were looking for when they went in search of a quarterback during the offseason, and they feel as though signal-caller Tyrod Taylor is the perfect guy to guide the franchise in the right direction after an 0-16 record in the 2017 season.
And the Browns are so confident Taylor can lead a team after watching him guide the Buffalo Bills to the playoffs for the first time in 17 years, they sent a third-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft to Buffalo in a deal on the first day of the new league year to acquire the quarterback’s services.
“The beauty of Tyrod is I think he is a natural leader,” Browns general manager John Dorsey said. “I think he has the skillset physically to extend plays. He does not turn the ball over, which I really like and admire. He has the arm strength to really go deep.
“I just thought it was a natural fit.”
During his seven-year career with the Baltimore Ravens and Bills, Taylor completed 793 of his 1,271 attempts (62.4 percent) for 9,056 yards and 51 touchdowns against 18 interceptions. Of those 793 completions, 116 went for at least 20 yards and 22 more were 40-yard gains.
In his three seasons with the Bills, the last of which ended with the snapping of a 17-year playoff drought, the 6-foot-1, 215-pound Taylor completed 774 passes for 8,837 yards and 51 touchdowns against 16 interceptions.
“Obviously, he has arm talent,” Jackson said. “He also can win games with his legs. He is a leader of men.
“This guy’s work ethic is second to none. He comes early and stays late. He is another coach on the field. He has really worked at his game. I think he has really improved in some area every year. What he did in Buffalo by leading them to the playoffs says a lot. This guy walks in the building having more wins than a lot of people in this building. Hopefully, a lot of that goodwill will rub off on the rest of the organization.”
And as for the term “bridge quarterback,” which implies the Browns plan to play Taylor this year while a rookie they select highly in the 2018 NFL Draft sits behind him and learns the pro game, Dorsey and Jackson are not buying into the line of thinking of having a one-and-done leader.
“We want success, and we want long-term success with Tyrod,” Dorsey said. “Right now, he is our starting quarterback. Right now, I could not be more excited to have Tyrod as a Cleveland Brown.”
Jackson added, “This guy is the starting quarterback on our football team. There are no ‘bridge’ players. This guy goes out and gets this organization to winning and gets us to the playoffs or whatever all that is, none of you guys would be writing ‘bridge’ anymore.
“You would be talking about how this is your quarterback. I see this young man as our quarterback. If we draft somebody who, in the future, is a better player, that will all take care of itself in time, but he is not a ‘bridge.’ He is our starting quarterback.”