The Cleveland Browns found their quarterback of the future in the first-round of the 2014 NFL Draft when the team selected QB Johnny Manziel, but Cleveland also may have found a valuable signal caller who flew under-the-radar in South Carolina’s Connor Shaw.
Shaw, a 6-foot, 206-pound quarterback, is one of the best quarterbacks to ever put on a South Carolina Gamecocks uniform and owns the best record for a signal caller in school history at 27-5. Shaw put together a 17-0 record at home and had a phenomenal senior season completing roughly 64 percent of his passes en route to 2,447 yards, 24 touchdowns and just one interception through 13 total games (12 starts).
Shaw does not come in with the size needed nor the mechanics to be a franchise quarterback at the professional level, but his heart and passion for the game cannot be questioned. Shaw is a phenomenal leader both on and off the field and has the toughness needed to make it as a valuable back-up for a NFL squad. His accuracy and touch are on point, and he is a good athlete from the quarterback position. A nice comparison would be to former NFL journeyman QB Jeff Garcia.
Shaw has durability issues and cannot seem to stay healthy for a full season at the collegiate level, which is roughly three games shorter than the professional level (not counting preseason games nor postseason games). He lacks the mechanics to be a top signal caller and lacks the arm strength to be an elite NFL quarterback.
Shaw will likely compete with NFL journeyman QB Tyler Thigpen for the No. 3 quarterback job, and I believe that Shaw will edge Thigpen out for that roster spot. Thigpen may have the experience over Shaw, but Thigpen’s upside is questionable and is no more than a marginal backup at best. Shaw has the potential to be a great backup quarterback and would be an excellent player to surround Manziel with due to his mental focus and maturity level.