COLIN COWHERD: The Darnold thing, Rosen being drafted by Cleveland. Yesterday Baker Mayfield’s like, I love Cleveland. He sounded like a politician.
RYAN LEAF: I know.
COLIN COWHERD: You’re not into that.
RYAN LEAF: OK, so I’ve been taking this platform here for the past week on my radio show. Of course, I have a different perspective. I don’t want anybody to– to your point, the bust rate’s going down. I don’t want anybody to be a bust, I want them to be successful. And there is no evidence to show me that Cleveland is going to be successful. It’s a place for quarterbacks go to die. How many quarterbacks in the last– 27 quarterbacks in the last 10 years?
COLIN COWHERD: Some of them like Tim Couch, was–
RYAN LEAF: Brady Quinn.
COLIN COWHERD: Talented guys.
RYAN LEAF: Yes, and this is my perspective. If I were Sam Darnold and I have this leverage right now and I know I’m going to be the first pick in the NFL draft, I’m going to my agent and I’m saying, figure out a way for me not to go to Cleveland. Eli Manning this for me. Because tell me this, if he goes there and they triple their win total this year and they win three games next year, how does Hue Jackson not get fired.
COLIN COWHERD: He will.
RYAN LEAF: Right, so now you have a new head coach and a new system, and now you’re behind the eight ball even more. Everybody talks about what a great guy he is. Personable, blue collar, but don’t let that get in the way of you being successful. I don’t know if you have the collateral behind you to do something like John Elway or Eli Manning did. And the scrutiny that comes upon it is so much larger now. But what if he just plays five years there and is just mediocre because they never win.
COLIN COWHERD: Well, I’ll tell you something, Ryan, you bring up an interesting point. There are very few Drew Brees stories where it doesn’t start out well and you reboot your career and it works. I mean he is one of the only ones and I think he works because of Sean Payton.
What if Drew Brees doesn’t get Sean Payton? He’s a Hall of Famer, right, he’s going to be a Hall of Fame quarterback. For the record, he had his– nine guys have ever thrown for 5,000 yards in a season. He’s got like five of them. OK, so you know how great he is.
He’s one of the only quarterbacks ever that was allowed to reboot his career. And it’s successful.
RYAN LEAF: And by choice. He was a free agent, so he got to choose. If anybody wants to argue with me, they may go with like Peyton Manning in ’98 when Indianapolis was down. He came in and transformed that organization. Matthew Stafford coming from an 0-16 Detroit team, coming in. They haven’t been– they haven’t won championships, but they’ve been better and he’s been the face of that franchise.
So you want the mindset of your quarterback– like how Baker talks is like, I could be the guy that changes the culture in Cleveland.
COLIN COWHERD: He’d be a but. Johnny Manziel promised he’d wreck the league, too.
RYAN LEAF: Everybody has. I like the moves they’ve made. Dorsey’s in there, Wolf’s in there, the trades they’ve made. But I don’t know if it’s any of that. I think it’s the culture. And I’m worried that he just gets lost in the shuffle like all quarterbacks have going into Cleveland.
Now if I had the leverage that he does now where no one has that leverage until you’re a free agent– especially first round draft picks. I would be talking to my agent right now saying, hey, we can’t end up in Cleveland.