It was the bottom of the second inning of the Chico State baseball playoff game when the news hit. The pit hit my stomach. My beloved Browns had dodged the Johnny bullet two hours ago, it couldn’t be.
And with the 22nd pick of the first round of the NFL Draft Michael David Baca’s Cleveland Browns select…….”don’t do it, don’t do it,” I thought.
So, now that the deed has been done it’s time for me to buy into the hype and hop on board. While fans and critics either praise or pan the Manziel pick I am excited about how the Browns got to that pick and what it means for the future.
Going into the draft the Browns had the number four overall selection. When the Browns pick came, there were three distinct needs. A quarterback, an offensive lineman and a corner. While I personally wanted them to take the electrifying Sammy Watkins, I think it wouldn’t have addressed need, it would have been a luxury with Josh Gordon already on the roster.
So, the Browns did something smart. They traded the pick to Buffalo for the Bills number 9 overall selection. PLUS, they will get the Bills 1st round selection and 4th round selection next year. Wow !!!! Upon further review this was a mind-blowing trade. The Browns trade from a spot they didn’t want and load up on next year’s draft. I would be stunned if Buffalo finishes above .500, which means Cleveland could be getting a top-10 pick next year for just simply moving down to get a player that better fits their need.
When their time came the Browns got a bit nervous and parted with a 4th round selection this year to move up one spot and select Oklahoma State corner Justin Gilbert. By all accounts this was a top -three corner in the draft and a guy who can help in coverage and as a kick returner. He runs a 4.3 40 and when you team him with Joe Haden on the other side of the ball the Browns are wicked good at corner right now.
The Browns still had another first round pick. it was the pick they acquired in trading running back Trent Richardson to Indianapolis. I will be the first to admit I hated that trade. I was wrong. Dead wrong. Completely horrifically wrong. Richardson flamed out for the Colts. He appears to be a short yardage guy who can’t break tackles. So, as the Browns sat and waited for the 26th selection to come their way, Johnny Football kept falling, and falling and falling and falling. So, when the 22nd selection was staring Philadelphia in the face the Browns pounced. They offered their 26th selection and a 3rd rounder this year for the 22nd pick. Philly took the offer. Once they did, we all knew what would happen next. When you think about it, the Browns just basically traded Trent Richardson and 3rd rounder for Johnny Manziel.
Despite declarations that the Browns liked Bridgewater and Derek Carr more than Manziel, the temptation to take a game-changer was too great. New Browns GM Ray Farmer went for it and chose Manziel. I have spent this long draft process lamenting the fact that Cleveland “might” pick him. I didn’t want him. I liked Bortles. I like Carr. But now that Manziel is a Brown, those of us in the Dawg Pound need to embrace this new reality while knowing the football will not be boring on the shores of Lake Erie. The Browns have some excitement coming to town. This guy is not boring and the Browns will be relevant again.
I can see Manziel running for his life, dodging tacklers and then seeing Josh Gordon break free and hitting him in stride sending the Dawg Pound into a frenzy. I can see it. I can feel it.
As happy as Browns fans feel about the pick, I am HONESTLY more excited about the draft picks acquired. The Browns still are stacked for this draft. They will have the third pick (35th overall) in the 2nd round. The Browns could get another stud receiver with that selection. They could go offensive line. There are a lot of needs for this team and the Browns can address them. The Browns will have a 3rd, a (2)-4th rounders, a 5th, a 6th and a 7th. And then next year the Browns have TWO 1st rounders, including Buffalo’s which could be a top-10 pick. The Browns also will have 2nd, a 3rd (2) 4th’s AGAIN, along with a 5th, 6th and 7th. If you are counting at home, the Browns have 9 picks this year and 10 next year. This is smart. This is so un-Browns like.
I may not have wanted him, but now that I have him. I will quote Johnny Football. “Dawg Pound, here we come.” And, for Johnny Manziel, you are now ON THE CLOCK !