The wait is finally over: Johnny Manziel is the newest player for the Cleveland Browns. After three trades in the first round, one of the NFL’s worst franchises went against its own draft board and took the man its owner, Jimmy Haslam wanted all along. There’s just one problem: Everyone in Cleveland is going to regret this.
Do the names Brady Quinn or Brandon Weeden ring any bells? Weren’t the Cleveland faithful rejoicing when both quarterbacks fell to the Browns in the 2007 and ’12 NFL Drafts? Look how those picks turned out.
Sure, Manziel has one solid receiver in Josh Gordon and a solid tight end with tons of upside on Jordan Cameron, but the offensive line in Cleveland is awful with the exception of Joe Thomas at left tackle. Plus, to whom is Manziel going to hand off? Ben Tate isn’t going to take pressure off and help a rookie quarterback who needs tons of work to succeed at the next level.
The Browns made their defense an even bigger asset by trading down and then back up in the top 10 to take Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert, which undoubtedly makes new head coach Mike Pettine happy. However, the Browns are now giving up on Brian Hoyer after he set the woods on fire in two games last year before tearing his ACL. Sure, Manziel was exciting in college, but he’s not a Peyton Manning-type player who can step into the starting lineup in Week 1 and improve the team.
It’s a sexy, ticket-selling pick, but it’s not a realistic long-term improve pick and it will haunt the Browns, who will be in this same position again in a couple of years.