The Cleveland Browns have three opportunities in the 2014 NFL Draft to take a franchise quarterback, as they have the fourth overall pick, the 26th overall pick, and the 35th pick. It’s anyone’s guess as to when new GM Ray Farmer pulls a quarterback, but there’s no doubt that it’s their biggest position of need and they need a QB badly. If they can find a franchise guy, then they could be strong playoff contenders due to the talent elsewhere on their roster. The Browns have difficult, pivotal decisions in this year’s draft, and hopefully one of them doesn’t include trading for Kirk Cousins.
Anyway, there’s been plenty of smoke linking the Browns to various quarterbacks in this year’s draft class, and it feels like most of the smoke has circled around Derek Carr, who is my second-ranked QB prospect (Teddy Bridgewater has always remained at the top). But new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan recently took the time to send some strong praise in Johnny Manziel’s direction, and his comments remind me of the positive statements Farmer made regarding blue-chip WR prospect Sammy Watkins.
According to Shanahan, Manziel’s game will translate to the NFL, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot, “It’s obvious how good of a player he is, how fun he is to watch. I think it does translate to the NFL. If you can make those plays in college, you can do it in the NFL. The one thing about the NFL, there’s a lot of tape out there. You’ve got to be able to do everything.”
Manziel is squarely in play for the Browns with any of those three aforementioned picks, and it will be interesting to see where he goes in this year’s draft. He could go as high as No. 1 overall to the nearby Houston Texans, or the former Texas A&M Aggies superstar could fall out of the first round. He’s a big gamble, but he could pay off huge dividends for the team that chooses him.