With the NFL Draft Combine going full mode right now, once again attention has drifted away from the turmoil in the Browns’ front office to who should they take with the 4th overall pick in the draft in May.
And of course, this brings up Texas A & M quarterback and former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. Certainly, he would bring excitement to what has become a moribund franchise, but would that translate into victories and playoff spots.
Browns’ fans don’t want relevance, as one Cleveland sports talker always espouses, they want wins. No one will be happy if there is plenty of buzz about the Browns and they finish 5-11 once again.
Our question to people who are begging for the Browns to take Manziel is would they bet a year’s pay that he will succeed in the NFL? Because that’s what Cleveland GM Ray Farmer has to do. If he’s not the answer, then Farmer has to explain his pick to owner Jimmy Haslam.
On Friday, the discussion centered on size, both Manziel’s height and the size of his hands. He didn’t receive good marks on the first set of measurements, coming in at under six feet (5’11-3/4″), but he had the biggest hands out of the top three passers entering the draft, larger than Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles.
However, do these two things help Manziel with probably the most important job an NFL quarterback has, the ability to read defenses and put his team into plays that will succeed against the opposition.
Johnny Football’s supporters will point out that he is taller than the Super Bowl winning quarterback, Seattle’s Russell Wilson. However, critics (such as us) will point out that Wilson is not really an elite NFL passer, and while he did pilot the winning team, the Seahawks’ defense and running game had more to do with the victory.
If you made a list of the top ten quarterbacks in the league today, Wilson wouldn’t be on it. That supports our theory that GM Ray Farmer and his scouting staff should draft the best player available with the fourth selection, not the best QB left on the board.
Veteran scouts also seem torn on the Texas A & M quarterback. While many love his ability to make plays, others say he is quick to leave the pocket and leaves plays on the field. Others feel he’s a solid top ten pick, and conversely some scouts think he’s the biggest risk among the possible early selections.
Our thought is Farmer should take the best player on the board, because none of the holy trio (Bridgewater, Bortles, or Manziel) are Andrew Luck or even Robert Griffin III. The Browns have to get a player who can impact winning in 2014 with the choice, not someone who may have to be replaced a year from now.
Teams that overdraft QBs are usually still looking for replacements, just ask Jacksonville who selected Blaine Gabbert early and Minnesota, who did the same with Christian Ponder.
And it is not like the only need the Browns have is at that position. They still need a talent infusion for the entire roster, even with six Pro Bowlers. They still need another wide receiver, offensive line help, a running back, inside linebackers, and safety help, particularly if T. J. Ward leaves via free agency.
Manziel might be the sexy pick, but sexiness doesn’t win football games in the NFL.