AKRON, Ohio —
The Cleveland Browns will have a quarterback competition. They expect rookie Brandon Weeden to win it.
Speaking before a banquet for Browns fans, general manager Tom Heckert said the team drafted Weeden out of Oklahoma State in the first round with the idea he would start in his first season.
Heckert’s comments came one day before the Browns hold their first organized training activities (OTAs), when Weeden and Colt McCoy will be on the field together for the first time.
“You can write about it and talk about it however you want,” Heckert said. “The best guy is going to play and we fully expect Brandon to be that guy. That’s our goal is to have him be the guy. I think when we say, open competition, the best guy’s going to play, that’s just the way it is. But we drafted Brandon Weeden to be that guy.
“(You) draft a guy 22nd in the draft, you think he’s going to be that guy.”
McCoy has gone 6-15 in two seasons as Cleveland’s starter. He made 13 starts last season before missing the final three games with a concussion. The Browns pursued a trade to get Robert Griffin III before the draft and had brief talks with Indianapolis about a trade for Andrew Luck before selecting Weeden, a 28-year-old former minor league pitcher, with the No. 22 overall pick.
Heckert said the team was impressed with Weeden’s performance in a recent rookie camp.
“He’s got a strong arm, he’s accurate, he’s smart and picking up the offense was nothing for him,” Heckert said.
Also, Heckert said he expects defensive tackle Phil Taylor to play this season despite undergoing surgery last week for a torn chest muscle he injured lifting weights. Taylor could be back by late October, Heckert said.
“He’ll definitely be back, no doubt, no question about it,” he said.
Heckert said the Browns have more depth on their defensive line to soften the blow of Taylor’s injury.
“We feel a lot better about the position this year than we did last year,” he said. “If it happened last year, it would have been a different story. When we came into this thing, we said we were going to build through the draft. We said depth was going to take care of itself. Now, we’re at a position we have depth at some positions where we can get away with some things we couldn’t the last couple years.”