The 2013 Buffalo Bills (which happen to have been Coach Pettine's team in 2013, by the way) are an interesting case study. Much like the Browns, they have had mediocre production from the QB position for a number of years. In 2013, they had the opportunity to draft the first QB in E. J. Manuel. What's not to like? 6'4" 237 lbs, fast and smart with a good arm, played in the ACC.
Would first round pick E. J. Manuel propel the Bills into the playoffs? Not quite....
Manuel was installed as the starter for the Bills. He had some decent games and won a few for the Bills. But the Bills were 6-10 again this year, same as last year. Truth to tell, when Manuel got injured the Bills eventually installed Thad Lewis (the Browns number 3 qb in 2012), who actually played a little better than Manuel, with higher qb rating and lower INT percentage, etc. So getting the big strong qb did not lead to an instant turnaround, but he is probably an upgrade--over time--compared to Ryan Fitzpatrick and Lewis. I see at least 5 guys that I think may be similar to Manuel--good enough to start, but not a one-man team. If you are willing to wait till 2015 and 2016 they will be worth it. But for just one year, it is hard to compete against a less talented guy that has some NFL experience.
Thad Lewis is undersized, not as gifted an athlete as E. J. Manuel, but because of his experience and grit he was a bit better than E. J. last year.
Mike Lombardi liked to congratulate himself for finding a potential starting qb in Brian Hoyer. I think he is ok as a caretaker type qb, though eventually he will be overtaken by one of the young guys. But the Browns also cut Thad Lewis to sign Hoyer, and Lewis might be just as good as Hoyer. In 2013 I would say that Lewis was better than Manuel.
If the Browns do improve their team in 2014, I'm looking for most of the improvement to come from the running game, linebacking, O-LIne and defensive backfield, rather than the qb position.