Reviewing Johnny Manziel and the Cleveland Browns’ draft

When the Browns entered their pick for the 22nd overall pick in the draft, Rodger Goodell came to the podium and said what everyone knew he would: “The Cleveland Browns select Johnny Manziel, Quarterback, Texas A&M” and Radio City Music Hall exploded.  Ever since that moment, sports media has been debating the merits of this pick non-stop.

Personally, I feel that the pick was an unnecessary one.  Before the draft even started, the Browns had a roster that was pretty solid as they had 5 Pro Bowlers in 2013.  To me it seemed that quarterback was not a major need as they already had a serviceable one that could get the ball into the hands of tight end Jordan Cameron and wide receiver Josh Gordon in the form of Brian Hoyer.

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While Brian Hoyer did have limited in-game action in 2013, in those few starts I think he showed that he deserved a year as a full time starter.  I mean the guy sat behind Tom Brady for almost five years, he had to have picked up a few good traits.  The pick of Johnny Manziel to me says that the Browns will not be providing Hoyer that opportunity.  And while I know that reports have come out stating that Manziel will start the season as a backup, we all know that this probably won’t be the case.

When everyone in the stadium is wearing a jersey with a big number “2” on it do you really think that they will keep Johnny on the bench? I certainly don’t think so.  By taking “Johnny Football” the Browns have put themselves in a situation where he has to be the guy…for a long time.  Otherwise, he just becomes another name on the egregiously long list of Cleveland Brown failed quarterbacks.


Now a few thoughts on some other picks:

1st Round Pick, Cornerback, Justin Gilbert: Browns GM Ray Farmer was able to deal the 4th overall pick to Buffalo to move back and gain an additional pick in 2014 as well as a first rounder in 2015. To me this was an amazing pick; the Browns were able to add to the future while at the same time adding a corner to pair with All Pro and now very rich man Joe Haden. If Gilbert lives up to his expectations, the defense in Cleveland will be incredibly stout against the pass.

2nd Round Pick, Tackle, Joel Bitonio: This is another great pick by the Browns.  Bitonio is listed as a tackle, but many scouts have noted that he is more than capable of moving to the interior of the offensive line.  In a game against UCLA, Bitonio was able to shut down the explosive Anthony Barr.  He will definitely provide a boost to a Cleveland offensive line that already features Alex Mack and Joe Thomas.  I can say this about Johnny Manziel, he won’t be leaving the pocket for lack of protection.

3rd Round Pick, Running Back, Terrance West: After trading Trent Richardson last season, the Browns’ running game completely tanked.  It was clear that they needed to add more depth for their backfield stable.  With the often injured Ben Tate now in place as the work horse back, it wouldn’t surprise me if we saw West contributing heavily to the Browns’ offense by the end of the season.


Some final thought on the Browns:

  • With Josh Gordon getting into more trouble and Cleveland knowing about it during the second night of the draft it’s a little shocking to see that they did not draft a receiver in a very deep class.  I think the fact that they didn’t draft a receiver even after the news broke shows that the Browns front office had a plan in place for this year’s draft and they stuck to that plan.  But even if Gordon was a lock to play every game in 2014, I would argue that the Browns receiving corps could still have used an upgrade.  Now a week after the draft it seems that Cleveland will be relying on the combination of Johnny Football to Miles Austin to provide for its air-attack.
  • One interesting piece of news that came out this week was that wide receiver Andre Johnson of the Houston Texans is unhappy with his current team and is planning on skipping mandatory mini-camp.  I think it would behoove the Browns to make an offer on him.  Remember that the Browns acquired a second pick in the 2015 first round.  I’d think that alone would be enough to obtain Andre Johnson.  Johnny to Andre sounds a little better than Johnny to Miles if you ask me.

cleveland browns

  • HellOOO?

    Ryan, the pay day is in the details. Take the time to proof read and double check your facts. When you enter the work force accuracy counts.

  • HellOOO?

    Browns didnt trade with Minnesota in first round. They traded with Bills

  • Michael Cain

    Well written piece. You obviously know the game.

  • Michael Gartman

    Decent piece, Ryan. Certainly can’t argue with you on neglecting a receiver, but I think the Browns made the right move to get Manziel. We’ll know for sure within two or three years.