“With the 22nd pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select Johnny Manziel from Texas A&M University.”
With that line, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell capped off an adventurous night for the Cleveland Browns. A night that included multiple draft pick trades and multiple draft pick selections for the Browns just in the first round alone.
That’s a feat we’ve seen in NFL drafts before, but it was much more recently highlighted in a Hollywood feature film, Draft Day, where Kevin Costner portrayed a fictional General Manager for the same Cleveland Browns team who, after going back and forth, also received multiple draft pick trades and draft pick selections in the first round.
In both the real-life and fictional Draft Days you could make your head spin trying to figure out how many picks were traded where, when and how far up and down. Lets just say both Cleveland Browns made huge splashes.
First year GM Ray Farmer initially had a fourth pick and his choice of several impressive players, but to the awe of many that pick was dished away to Buffalo for their number nine pick (and two next year). Farmer couldn’t stop there, and with a further first impression, he decided to move back up one spot and make their first pick giving Minnesota a later pick. But it was the Browns third move of the draft, and second pick, that sent a shockwave across the league. After having a second pick at 26 from an in-season trade of Runningback Trent Richardson, Browns moved up from there and selected Johnny Manziel.
Their first pick Cornerback Justin Gilbert didn’t provide the sizzle that fans wanted, but Manziel was easily the most talked about Quarterback in this year’s draft, probably the most talked about player altogether. A lot of people didn’t know what to make of the Heisman Trophy winner, particularly after he went undrafted throughout most of the first round. In the winter there was talk of a number one selection, but it cooled down to where many thought he’d be taken in the early teens at the latest. With the third pick, the Jaguars chose another quarterback. And to the dismay of some, and the shock of many, Manziel was passed on by close to 20 other teams, including the Browns.
Manziel polarized many analyst and fans for the past couple years. An obvious talent and playmaker, he was peppered with off the field incidents from fights, law enforcement infractions and a NCAA investigation which saw him suspended for several games. Nonetheless no other player made an on-field impact like Manziel this year, and obviously not last year considering his Heisman victory. And now a (dare I say) Tebow-esque fascination will ride it out all the way to Cleveland.
Not for nothin’ but the movie Draft Day had Brownies all over beaming in the spotlight, but this 2014 NFL Draft day actually puts them in a spotlight. Many are saying Cleveland had the best first round. Others are keenly watching if Johnny Manziel will live up to making every team who passed him up regret it. Lets hope draft day dramatics lead to on the field success.
In Draft Day, Kevin Costner’s character was told by his owner to “make a splash”, all the while trying to get the players he and his coach wanted. That movie had a happy ending. Cleveland Browns real GM Ray Farmer, made a splash and made him and his coach happy with his first round selections. Perhaps they’ll have a happy ending too.