04/30/2012 - A closer look at the Browns' drafts: Round 1/22 - Brandon Weeden, QB, 6-4, 221, Oklahoma State...Weeden is expected to start immediately. He might have been able available in the second round, but the Browns did not want to risk another team drafting him. - The Sports Xchange
If being older than Aaron Rodgers is the biggest red flag NFL scouts can drum up for Brandon Weeden, the Oklahoma State quarterback is just fine with that.
Weeden will turn 29 years old during his rookie NFL season, and has already experienced the ups and downs of being a professional athlete. Dealing with a torn labrum and tendinitis in his rotator cuff in 2006, he decided to pursue football rather than undergo major arm surgery.
It would be four years before Weeden burst onto the college football landscape as a first-team All-Big 12 performer with 4,277 passing yards, 34 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2010 - playing much of the season with a ruptured tendon on his throwing thumb.
He rewrote the Cowboys' record book as a senior, throwing for 4,727 yards and 37 touchdowns. Weeden was one of two players in the FBS to complete more than 400 passes and complete at least 72.4 percent of his passes while leading Oklahoma State to an 11-1 record and a victory over Andrew Luck and Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl.
No one was concerned about Weeden's age while he was setting a school career record with 9,260 passing yards at Oklahoma State. But it comes up in nearly every conversation discussing his NFL prospects.
"It used to kind of get under my skin, but there can be a lot worse things I can be answering questions about," said Weeden. "There's nothing else. That's really the only knock on me is my age. I have fun with it.
"And here's the fact: I can't change it. I can change a lot of things, my footwork, throwing motion, release, this and this and this. I can't change my birth certificate. I wish I could pull a Danny Almonte, but I can't do it."
In Weeden's corner is that he has already ridden the roller coaster of professional athletics. "In baseball, you guys know, it's a game of failure. I've failed, and I've had some success," he said.
Weeden also faces the inevitable comparisons to Chris Weinke, who at 28 years old become the olden Heisman Trophy winner in history in 2000 for Florida State following a minor league baseball career. Weinke spent seven nondescript seasons in the NFL, but is now a noted quarterback guru.
Weeden reached out to Weinke for advice during his pre-draft preparation.
"I just kind of asked him what his approach was, how he went about it. And it was scary, he said the exact same things I've been saying. So it's consistent," said Weeden. "He opened up to let me pick his brain a little bit, because it's a unique situation. There's not many other guys that have been in this situation."
Weeden pointed to a list of quarterbacks including Rich Gannon, Roger Staubach and Kurt Warner who didn't enjoy great NFL success until the second half of their careers.
"Think of it, there's a lot of guys," he said. "You look back at my time at Oklahoma State, I didn't get hit. My body's extremely fresh. No injuries. I'm healthy. Everything's good. I think I've got a lot left in my tank.
"Those guys played into their late 30s. A 10-year career in the NFL is a great career, and I think I've got every bit of that."
Positives: Sticks throws into tight windows over the middle, throwing to spot on slant or between zone defenders before receiver is open. Baseball pitcher background translates to NFL arm strength. Sprays the ball anywhere on the field, especially when given a pocket from which to deliver. Shows touch on fades and shorter throws and doesn?t overthrow passes to open receivers. Will step up into pocket while looking downfield, reset his feet and deliver. Tough player who takes a hit and bounces back up; played most of the 2010 season with a ruptured tendon in his right (throwing) thumb. Team leader on the practice and game fields.
Negatives: Sails throws to either sideline; receivers make him look good with acrobatic catches. Back-foot throws are not accurate. Sometimes trusts his arm too much, trying to stick passes late in the play or when he is off-balance. Gets lazy with footwork at times; will flip balls into dangerous places. Pats the ball before throwing. Almost always works out of shotgun formation on passing plays. Fails to see blitzers, opening himself up to backside pressure. Tries to avoid pressure by throwing late over the middle. Old for a rookie at 28.