NEW YORK (AP) -Brady Quinn knew he could fall in the NFL draft the way Matt Leinart and Aaron Rodgers had the last two seasons.
Even before he dropped to No. 22 after being the considered a potential overall No. 1 pick, he kept saying it wasn't a problem. ``That means I'll be playing for a better team,'' Quinn kept repeating.
Well, the former Notre Dame quarterback isn't playing for a better team.
He's playing for the Cleveland Browns, who might've taken him at No. 3, but chose offensive tackle Joe Thomas instead. Cleveland, 4-12 last season, then dramatically traded up from the second round to take a player it hopes is the next Otto Graham, NOT the next Tim Couch. Couch was the first overall pick in 1999 for an expansion team that replaced the original Browns, who defected to Baltimore in 1996.
But Quinn is going home - he grew up near Columbus in Dublin, Ohio. And considering he has Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow to throw to, and Thomas to block for him, he may not be so badly off. Except in the wallet.
And Quinn said during the week money didn't mean as much as the chance to play in the NFL.
``I had a dollar in my wallet when I walked here and I still have that dollar,'' Quinn said with a smile after he was drafted.
Still, it had to have been a shock how far he fell, especially when he was available to quarterback-needy Miami at No. 9 . The Dolphins opted instead for Ted Ginn Jr., the Ohio State wide receiver whose questionable route-running and frequent drops had him projected in the 20s, speed notwithstanding. The reception to that pick in Miami was boos from fans who wanted Quinn.
He certainly looked a bit shell-shocked when he ambled onto the stage at Radio City Music Hall with his family to accept a Browns jersey with No. 1 on it from commissioner Roger Goodell. Funny thing about that: The jersey was still available because Thomas, on whom the Browns used their first pick, was the one player invited to the draft who declined to attend. He went fishing on Lake Michigan instead.
In fact, the most embarrassed people about the late choice might be the NFL folks who invited Quinn to New York. Quinn was outplayed by JaMarcus Russell in LSU's win over Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl, helping elevate Russell to the top spot and the Oakland Raiders.
The league has taken care over the years to ensure invitees will all be taken high. Running back Adrian Peterson, taken seventh by Minnesota, was the last of them chosen before Quinn. So after Miami took Ginn at nine, Quinn and his agent, Tom Condon, moved out of the ``Green Room,'' where players wait in front of TV cameras, into a smaller waiting room.
Condon knows about these things.
Last year, he represented Leinart, who went from being a consensus No. 1 to 10th overall with Arizona. He ended up having a good season, although he took a beating behind a horrible offensive line.
Rodgers dropped even lower two years ago, waiting until 24th when Green Bay took him. He was considered about even as a prospect with Alex Smith, on whom San Francisco used the No. 1 pick. Then Rodgers watched as teams with no need at QB passed on him.
That's more or less what happened to Quinn.
Nobody between Miami and Dallas, who had that 22nd pick, really needed a QB. Nor do the Cowboys.
But Kansas City, which was 23rd, certainly does, with Trent Green about to go elsewhere and Damon Huard, a career backup, set to be a stopgap. The Chiefs likely would have jumped on a young QB.
So the Browns moved up for a player they considered with the third pick, surrendering their first-rounder next season to do it.
If Quinn turns out to be anywhere near as good as Graham, a Hall of Famer who played in the 1940s and '50s, it will be well worth it.
If he's as bad as Couch ....
The Browns will continue to pick high.
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