Rumors swirled before the 2014 NFL Draft that the Cleveland Browns were considering Johnny Manziel with the fourth overall pick. Instead, the Browns traded back and selected cornerback Justin Gilbert to pair with Joe Haden. After Manziel fell past the Dallas Cowboys, the Browns traded up in the back-end of the first round to select the Texas A&M product.
While Manziel has his problems with his size and the news circus that comes with him, an argument could be made that Manziel had the most productive two-year college career for a quarterback of all time. Though he was redshirted, Manziel was the first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy, and he got even better in his sophomore season despite losing the Heisman race to Florida State‘s Jameis Winston.
The only player standing in Johnny Football’s way is Brian Hoyer. Before an ACL injury last season, the Browns won three games in a row and they were actually in first place in the competitive AFC North. It was reported last week that Manziel passed Tyler Thigpen for the backup quarterback spot.
The Browns spent a first-round pick on Manziel, and owner Jimmy Haslem is in love with him, so it wouldn’t make sense to see Manziel start the season on the bench. If and when Manziel captures the starting job, there will be a big problem for him. Cleveland’s best receiver, Josh Gordon, may be suspended for all of the 2014 NFL season. The receivers behind him are unproven to say the least. Miles Austin is decent, but he has failed to stay healthy over the past few years. Nate Burleson and Andrew Hawkins have also seen their better days, and Travis Benjamin is still extremely raw.
Manziel has drawn comparisons to Doug Flutie and Fran Tarkenton for his ability to extend plays after they’re broken down. Johnny Football has an “it” factor, and there seems to be something special coming with him. Quarterbacks have to flamed out of the league due to being on the Browns, but Manziel has the ability to bring Cleveland to the top. It will be fun to see how he progresses before the NFL season begins.