Grading the Cleveland Browns' First-Round Selection of Johnny Manziel

By Nick Schaeflein
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

While Johnny Manziel waited and waited, it became great theatre on the first night of the 2014 NFL Draft. Like many players before him, the countless camera shots of Manziel in the greenroom became social media gold during the “slide” of teams passing on the former Heisman Trophy winner. During that time, the Cleveland Browns were wheeling and dealing as if Kevin Costner was calling the shots. Finally, with the 22nd overall pick, the Browns took the lightning rod quarterback in Johnny Football.

The Browns will hope that this 22nd pick works out better than previous selections of Brady Quinn and Brandon Weeden. While Manziel will be under a continuous microscope for both on-field play and off-field actions, the pick is actually not all that bad for the franchise.

Cleveland has a good defense that will give Manziel some short fields to work with. They also have playmakers at the skill positions in Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron to help out the quarterback. What Manziel does best is being able to extend plays and create something out of nothing. When he was in trouble in college he he would just throw the ball up to Mike Evans for a big play. Now he will be able to do those same types of big plays with Gordon on the outside as the beneficiary.

Manziel was likely the player that Cleveland was targeting all along at the quarterback spot. They could have taken him at three different times during the draft, and the later pick will actually save the team a good chunk of change in the process. Ultimately, the Browns got their guy, and they have Trent Richardson to thank. That trade during the season last year gave Cleveland the flexibility during the first round to work these moves.

The selection of Manziel earns the Browns an A grade. It is an A grade for the fanbase, an A grade for the salary cap and also an A grade for adding an immediate playmaker on offense. Cleveland does still have some work to do in order to get back to winning football, but this pick is a step in that direction. While there will be massive pressure on Manziel to perform at a high level, there is also pressure on the Browns as a franchise. Cleveland has to get this pick right in order to avoid yet another setback. They were active on day one, made a big splash and got their guy. It was a first round for the Browns that you could make a movie with.

Nick Schaeflein is a Sports writer for Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.

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