On Monday, Cleveland Browns GM Ray Farmer told reporters that he would not be attending Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel‘s pro day on Thursday due to a scheduling conflict. Farmer, who attended the pro days for Lousiville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and UCF QB Blake Bortles, also let it be known that he doesn’t buy into the hype that pro days create.
While Farmer may not be in attendance, the Browns will be represented in some capacity. But with Farmer not being present to see Manziel throw, does this mean he is no longer being considered a potential Browns draftee?
Not necessarily. In Orlando for the 2014 NFL owners’ meeting, Farmer clarified that he prefers private workouts in order to evaluate talent. During the pro days for Bridgewater and Bortles, Farmer conducted private interviews and workouts. However, his absence from Manziel’s pro day will not be the final determination on whether he lands in Cleveland.
While Farmer has certainly done his homework on the former Aggie, the deciding factor on where Manziel lands may not be in Cleveland’s hands. With the Houston Texans holding the No. 1 overall draft choice, signs are pointing toward them selecting a quarterback. The Texans’ decision to trade Matt Schaub solidifies their need to draft their long-term solution.
Drafting before the Browns with the third overall pick, the Jacksonville Jaguars could potentially be looking at a QB. The Jaguars’ decision to bring back veteran Chad Henne may indicate that they are content with him for the 2014 season, but could look to draft a long-term solution in later rounds.
If the Texans and Jags decide to draft quarterbacks with their first picks, including the Browns’ top target, look for the Browns to take the “best overall” approach.
A forgone conclusion is that the Browns will be drafting a quarterback in 2014, but the secrecy of Farmer and the Browns is a puzzle that the media is trying to piece together. Farmer’s revelation that he won’t be in attendance for Manziel’s pro day is just another bit of small news that is over-analyzed and won’t be the determining factor on whether the former Heisman Trophy winner is selected by Cleveland.
While the secrecy of the new regime in Cleveland is puzzling to some, the Browns have shown the ability to upgrade the roster, and the buzz created by their free agency period should carry over into the draft. One thing is clear: whether or not Manziel is taken by Cleveland is something we won’t know until draft day.