As a Cleveland native and die-hard Browns fan, there was only one player in the draft that I absolutely wanted them to pick. Ray Farmer shook things up Thursday night, that's for sure.
First he trades the fourth pick to the Bills for a first and fourth in next year's draft. Okay, I could handle that, as we are assuredly going to get a top 10 pick from the Bills next year (Sorry, Bills fans, but thanks for the pick). Sure, Watkins is a great player, but they have a young quarterback in EJ Manuel that still needs work.
Then Farmer began to baffle Browns by trading the ninth pick to Minnesota for the eighth pick, while giving up a third rounder just to move up one spot. Supposedly, other teams had interest in Justin Gilbert, and the Browns wanted to add to their already better-than-average defense.
And Johnny Manziel continued to fall past every team. There were rumors that the Patriots wanted to move up and pick him. Manziel was set to be drafted by Kansas City as Alex Smith only has one year left on his contract, giving Johnny time to grow as an NFL-ready player.
Farmer continued to steal the show by trading with the Eagles for the 22nd pick and giving up just their 26th overall acquired from the Colts in the Trent Richardson trade and a fourth rounder.
There was no doubt that Manziel was going to be drafted by the Browns. When Roger Goodell announced his name, the crowd erupted. The Browns had officially stolen the first round, making headlines all across America, ESPN, Twitter and other social networks.
He flashed the dollar signs, which has been coined as "Manzielling," as he walked across the stage donning his Browns hat. I purchased his jersey five minutes later.
Overnight, the Browns sold 1,200 season tickets; the offices never shut down. There were cameras waiting for his arrival on Friday afternoon.
So the Browns appeared to be stacked on defense and greatly improved on offense. Finally, there was something to be excited about in Cleveland ever since "The Decision." Hope was renewed for Cleveland sports fans.
However, news broke that the Browns' best receiver, Josh Gordon, failed another drug test and is facing a season-long ban. Farmer knew about it for two weeks. So the question is: Why did he pass on Watkins or Evans with that knowledge? The top receiver from last year will not be around for Manziel's first year. The Browns drafted Terrance West, an explosive running back from the little-known Towson Tigers in the third round. He runs like Darren Sproles with a larger frame. With newly acquired Ben Tate, the Browns backfield looks solid.
Manziel only has one good talent to throw to in tight end Jordan Cameron. The Browns made some great moves in the first three rounds of the draft, but the significant absence of talent for Johnny Manziel (Johnny Football, Johnny Dawg Pound) to throw to only adds more questions to Farmer's next moves as we move towards football season. Johnny is explosive with his feet, but without adding talent to throw to, he is more prone to run, and the amount of running that he did in college will not work in the pros. He is left vulnerable for injury with the way he runs.
Hopefully Farmer figures out some new targets for Johnny to throw to, but Manziel brings excitement to Cleveland. Their defense is now one of the best in the NFL, and they have perhaps one of the most talented athletes in Manziel to lead the offense. Cleveland fans better hope that Johnny's will to win continues despite having a lackluster array of wide outs to pass to, because if Johnny gets frustrated, Cleveland is in trouble.
One thing is sure though, Manziel will come into Browns stadium with a chip on his shoulder. There are a lot of doubters out there on his NFL readiness which showed in his slide down into the twenties in the draft. He wants to win. Cleveland needs him to win. Fans are excited, I'm excited, and if all else fails, the Cleveland motto of "There's always next year" will carry on.
I have not owned a Browns jersey since the last No. 2 quarterback played for Cleveland. Let's hope Johnny keeps Manzielling and does not fall off the face of the NFL like Tim Couch.
I believe in you, Johnny. Cleveland believes in you. This city hasn't seen this level of excitement since the LeBron era. But LeBron was caught wearing a Manziel jersey on Friday. Could LeBron be coming home too?
There are always questions when it comes to Cleveland sports, but one thing is for sure right now. We are ready for Johnny to jump into the Dawg Pound.
Manzielling in Cleveland. Hopefully, we finally found a franchise quarterback after 15 years of failure.
Welcome to your new home, Johnny. September can't come soon enough.
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