Friday, May 9, 2014

Johnny Manziel Creates Draft Day's Biggest Drama, Giants Land Beckham

It has been the most talked about NFL draft in some time and on an eventful first night that saw a few surprises, former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel stole the spotlight.

Talked up by many to be the "best" quarterback in the draft inspite of his size, 5'11", and his very thin frame, everyone was going gaga for Manziel. Just about every team was linked with a scenario to get the rookie QB, and those scenarios all fell by the wayside as each pick slipped past into the night.

The fact Manziel dropped like a stone in this draft, as many thought he could, is not much of a surprise. The Texans took Jadeveon Clowney with the first pick of the draft; Clowney is easily the most talented player in this draft. The Jaguars stunned a few when the selected Blake Bortles at number three. I like this pick, Bortles is Central Florida kid, who gives Jacksonville a face and a quarterback with a good pedigree. Later the Browns stunned everyone when they traded the number 4 pick to Buffalo for the 8th pick, which they used on cornerback Justin Gilbert. That moment was the true stunner, because everyone thought Manziel was a lock early for Cleveland. He just had to wait a while longer.

As the teams flew by everyone expected the Cowboys would make a move at Manziel; a move that even to this minute I don't totally understand. Jerry Jones likes shinny new toys, and Manziel certainly fit that bill.
 But just the idea of Manziel in Big D made very little sense otherwise. Why would the Cowboys, who are always in a win now mentality, in essence create an absolute circus with Manziel in town with Tony Romo as the incumbent?

It not only would have put a lot of pressure on Romo and coach Jason Garret, but would have split the locker room, a poison pill no team wants to take. Plus trading Romo, who is not the reason for the Cowboys' failures, would be a mistake Dallas would have regretted for years.

The Cowboys smartly and safely took offensive lineman Zack Martin with the 16th pick. Trust me it's the best for both worlds.

Finally once the Eagles came up at pick 22, the Browns traded back up to get their quarterback. Ironically this comes off the heels of Mike Pettine saying he didn't like starting rookie quarterabacks -- well -- he'll have to start one now. Also, isn't it eerily ironic that the Browns also selected Brandon Weeden and Brady Quinn with the 22nd pick in the first round in years past? Three's a charm?

Now the Manziel circus goes to the biggest nightmare the NFL could dream up: the Cleveland Browns. This is the franchise that fired its rookie coach, Rob Chudzinski after one season; this is the franchise that fired it's entire front office after a year as well. This is the franchise with an owner who seems in over his head. This is the Browns. The real life Cleveland Browns, not the one with Kevin Costner in a Hollywood movie. And Johnny Manziel with his dollar sign antics and Twitter rants is about to become apart of it.

All Browns fans can hope for is that Manziel comes riding in on a white horse and plays up to the hype in order to fix this mess. Then again ... (I know) ...  it's the Browns.

Sure Manziel is talented. He can run all over the field and create plays. But that was in college, this will be a whole new ballgame. He will now have to play his style of football against the Steelers, Ravens and Bengals, three of the NFL's top defensive teams. The only running Manziel will be doing is running away from these guys so he doesn't get plastered to the turf. Just check out the Browns first three games of the season: @ Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Baltimore. Talk about an ugly start to a season and career. It will not be fun for Manziel in year one -- hopefully the Browns can be patient this time around.

Meanwhile on the New York side of things, the Giants beat out the Jets, sorta, for hyped rookie receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham who lit it up at the combine is coming off a big season at LSU where he hauled in 59 catches for 1152 yards and eight touchdowns. If he is as good as advertised, he will make a perfect complement to Victor Cruz in a Giants offense that is starved at wide receiver. It was a no-brainer pick, and a very good one for Big Blue.

As for the Jets, they selected Louisville saftey Calvin Pryor with the 18th pick. A major surprise considering there were a number of wide receivers available at this point in the draft, and the Jets had a great need for a playmaking wide out. Instead, they did what Rex Ryan always does and that is selecting defense.

While the pick won't excite a lot Jets fans, Pryor is a big, physical safety that stands at 6'2". He is known as a hard hitter, something Jets haven't really possessed at the position in the Rex Ryan era. So it is really wait and see here, much like every other project in the Jets secondary.  It might turn into a good pick, but maybe one the Jets kinda reached a bit too soon for in the first round.

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