It’s tough to dislike the Cleveland Browns, because they have been such a picture of incompetence over the past years (pretty much since they came back into the league), that you don’t need to wish bad things upon them, if you dislike them. They will always end up doing bad things to themselves.
With the NFL draft taking place over the past couple of days, many people were wondering what the Browns were going to do with the number four overall pick. Was it time they tried to grab what they hope will be a franchise passer? There is always that possibility, and for a long time the Browns were linked to controversial Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. But at No. 4? Too high, right?
For once, it seems like the Browns did some smart thinking as they prepared for this draft. And they weren’t afraid to move around. Trading back from 4 to 9, then back up to 8, they drafted…a cornerback. Which was probably a smart move. Nobody is certain about this crop of QBs, so taking one this early was still a large risk. Sure, the Jacksonville Jaguars took Blake Bortles at No. 3, but they were even more desperate for a signal caller than the Browns were. The Brows at least have Hoyer, while all the Jags have is…Chad Henne? For real?
Then the Browns moved again, moving up from 26 to 22 so that they could grab the most divisive, and headline grabbing prospect in a long time: Johnny Football.
And I like the move. A lot.
I have spent the past couple of years tying to decide if I love or hate the way that Manziel plays football. He is brash, and cocky, which is great. He makes mistakes, which is more fun than so many of our dull athletes out there. He plays the game ferociously, and even if I don’t love the move to scrambling quarterbacks, I understand how they are a nightmare of defensive coaches to plan for.
I have no idea if Manziel will be any good in Cleveland. He is small, and doesn’t have the best arm. But they guy is an athlete, and he is a competitor. And I like that for the Browns, who after so many years of failure, could use some hope and excitement.
Watching Manziel play, I know for sure that he will be a better NFL quarterback than Tim Tebow, who in my mind is one of the worst players to suit up as a QB in history (yes, I know, he won some games as a Bronco, but come on…he was awful). I don’t know that he will be in the league of Cam Newton, who not only holds a similar skill set, but is a physical specimen that Manziel cannot attain. How beat up will he get in a league where everybody is faster than they were in college? Where he will definitely suffer some massive hits just based on his style of play?
I read one article that with this pick the Browns were looking at Manziel as a solution for the next 5-7 years. Not the next 15. I agree with this, but for this franchise, this is what they need to be looking at. They need some spark, and they need something for the fans to cheer for. If Manziel comes in and lights the league on fire, then great. He will probably not last to have a long career like a Brady or Manning, but if he can ignite this franchise for a few seasons, then he has done his job. And it is a massive sign of relief, as they didn’t have to spend a top-5 pick to get him.
I must say that I am pretty excited to see what the kid can do against NFL talent. A big plus, I feel, is that he did play in the SEC, where there are tons of NFL-caliber players anyway, and not some small school in a minor league. The SEC is tough, and Manziel generally tore it up. This will make a more seamless move for him into the pros.
This is something that probably hasn’t been said in a long time, but it must be exciting to be a Browns fan right about now. The possibility of a brighter future is right there, and everyone will have to wait and see if Manziel is all he is hyped up to be. I can’t wait.