When it comes to the months leading up to the NFL Draft, teams tend to utilize smoke and mirrors to keep other clubs unaware of their true intentions. And sometimes, they simply show their hand because they don’t care.
On Thursday morning, the Cleveland Browns were one of the only teams that didn’t show up to the Pro Day workout of quarterback Johnny Manziel. In this instance, which pre-draft approach are they taking?
From the looks of it, the Browns are taking the “show their hand” route by displaying complete disinterest in Manziel, who many have speculated was one of Cleveland’s top draft targets from the get-go. While the majority of the NFL made the trek to Texas A&M, the Browns chose to avoid the event entirely, nearly bringing speculation that they’d draft the polarizing passer to end.
Assuming that’s the case, the Browns could instead be targeting a quarterback with their second first-rounder, the 26th overall pick. Manziel will likely be off the board at that point, which leaves options like Derek Carr, Zach Mettenberger and Jimmy Garoppolo available for Cleveland.
The Browns could also opt against spending an early-round pick on a quarterback altogether. They have a promising gunslinger in Brian Hoyer already on the roster, and could choose to hand him the reins while bringing along a late-round project. Alex Tanney is the only other quarterback currently on the roster, but offers little in terms of long-term potential.
Either way, it looks from the outside like the Browns have thrown in the towel with their pursuit of Manziel. Considering the front office/coaching staff rebuild and recent lack of overall success, the Browns taking a high-risk, high-reward prospect might not be an ideal move for their future.
Then again, maybe it’s a smokescreen. Maybe they’ve already made up their minds that they want Manziel, and going to his Pro Day was pointless.
It’s rather hard to differentiate at this time of the year. I guess we’ll find out when the 2014 NFL Draft rolls around on May 8.