The Cleveland Browns announced today that they have agreed to terms with rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel, so they are down to two more picks left to sign in the 2014 draft class. Second-round offensive lineman Joel Bitonio is locked in as a rookie starter, and a deal with the Nevada product should be finished with shortly. Justin Gilbert was the Browns top pick in the draft, but they also need to come to terms with the top-ranked shutdown corner in this year’s class. Although Gilbert lacks physicality and struggles mightily against the run, he has elite speed, ball skills, and athleticism with Patrick Peterson-type upside that makes up for his rawness.
Manziel is also seen as a raw prospect at the quarterback position, but the No. 22 overall pick is as electric and fun-to-watch as they come. We still don’t know if he’ll start over Brian Hoyer, especially with the positive reports surrounding Hoyer and the notion that young, raw QBs should sit behind a veteran stopgap in their first year.
Rookies always sign their four-year deals in the NFL, so it will only be a matter of time before Ray Farmer inks contracts with the final two pieces of his 2014 class left to sign. Even though the Browns didn’t come away with a WR to try and soften the blow of Josh Gordon’s suspension, they came away with some very strong players in this year’s class, with Manziel being the centerpiece.