A week from today, the first round of the NFL Draft will be history. What will we debate about then?
In Cleveland, it seems about half of Browns’ fans will be ga-ga if GM Ray Farmer selects Texas A & M quarterback Johnny Manziel with the fourth overall pick next Thursday, while the other half will be relieved. Doesn’t that say everything about picking the former Heisman Trophy winner?
If this were two years ago, and Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III were possibilities for the Browns, don’t you think a majority of the team’s supporters would be on board with the choice? Of course.
The NFL talent gurus are also split on taking Manziel. He’s a huge risk, at least that’s the opinion of many of the folks who judge college players coming into the National Football League.
The main questions about the former Texas A & M quarterback are his size and his style of play, which some people consider reckless, too reckless for the NFL. Certainly, Brett Favre was considered a passer who played fast and loose with the football, and carved out a pretty successful career in professional football.
He will be enshrined in Canton some day soon.
As for the size, most of the QB’s supporters talk about New Orleans’ Drew Brees and Seattle’s Russell Wilson, who have both piloted teams to Super Bowl victories as proof shorter quarterbacks can succeed in the league.
However, neither player was selected in the first round, let alone in the top five choices. And although Wilson is a good player, and a great leader, putting him in the discussion of great quarterbacks seems to be a bit of a stretch.
When was the last time a quarterback who measured in at around six feet tall was picked in the top ten selections of the draft?
The answer: It has been 13 years since Michael Vick was selected first overall by Atlanta in 2001.
What has been the wrap on Vick throughout his career? He can’t stay on the field.
This isn’t to say that Manziel will have a similar career path as Vick, but it does explain why many pro scouts are reluctant to say he should be picked in the first five selections next Thursday.
Other bigger quarterbacks get hurt too, and Brees and Wilson have both been durable throughout their NFL careers. But the thing is, neither was a premium selection. If you are picking in the top five, you have to feel you are getting a great player who is going to start in his rookie season and be a mainstay for your team for many, many years.
As for the Browns, even though they finished 4-12 last season, they did have six players who received Pro Bowl recognition, and added two more, S Donte Whitner and LB Karlos Dansby who merited All Pro status last season.
They have to believe they are ready to win in 2014, and are they better off filling the holes they have on the offensive line, wide receiver, inside linebacker, and in the secondary with their first few picks next week than drafting a passer who seems to be risky?
Farmer and new coach Mike Pettine can look in their own division and see Andy Dalton, who has led the Bengals to three straight playoff apperances, despite not being one of the league’s best QBs. They also see the current Super Bowl champion Seahawks, who were led by a strong defense and running game in route to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
We still maintain that the Browns certainly need a quarterback, but in this year’s draft, there isn’t one worth picking in the top five. Add more talent, and see who is available in the second and third rounds.
You may just find another Brees or Wilson.