First, the disclaimer: If Johnny Manziel does not make it big in the NFL that will be the biggest surprise I will ever have experienced as a long time sports fan. I am not that interested in the measurables (and Johnny’s are very good) when we are discussing NFL quarterbacks. How does that QB play against elite teams – that is my first question. Manziel’s performance against that great Alabama defense, loaded with future NFL players, in a memorable 2012 game – that was all I needed. Best performance by a college QB I have ever seen. If I am the Texans at the top of the draft – Manziel. Cleveland gets this player with the 22nd pick – What? Like I have heard others say, Browns’ fans order up your playoff tickets.
I am heart broken by this Josh Gordon thing – and dismayed. Do not punish this player unduly for smoking weed. Yes, he broke the rules but, then again, maybe the rules are broken. Please Mr. Goddell do not take him away from the NFL for a whole season. You must let us see Manziel and Gordon playing together in 2014.
And, please Mr. Gordon, play by the rules. You have become an 8 million a year player – and you are worth it. Leading the league in yardage as a receiver in 2013 and doing it in only 14 games. Stop breaking those hearts (and mine) in Cleveland.
The Browns are not a bad team that had, yet again, another losing season. They are a very good football team that is not playing up to their potential. Those other teams in the NFL are like wolves waiting for the ‘prey’ to show a weakness – you better bring your A game. Cleveland has to play 2 games a year against the likes of Steelers, Ravens and Bengals, as in, Roethelisberger, Flacco and Dalton. I have seen those QBs play and they are, to say the least, very, very good.
Number one pick for the Browns 2014 – Justin Gilbert. I might speculate on his potential. Rather, I note the pairing of Gilbert and Haden in the same defensive back field. You have to love that ‘prospectus’ if you are a Cleveland fan. Loaded with potential? Got that right.
Joel Bitonio in the 2nd: Drafted, 35th overall. I’ll trust the Brown’s management on this one. Probable day one starter; expected to be a high value player for years to come – like it, a lot.
Christian Kirksey, LB, 3rd round: This pick jumped off the page for me because of the quality of players still on the board. You are picking this player before Will Sutton and Louis Nix? And, he is only 230 lbs.? My instincts tell me that this must be a very special player. He looks very good on tape. I hope for the Browns’ fans sake that management is right on this one.
Terrance West, RB, 3rd round: Looks to have an ideal body type for the NFL – muscled throughout his physique. Terrific lateral moves at the line of scrimmage. I thought there was a ton of much better college backs available at this pick – but not necessarily better NFL prospects. Ben Tate is a very nice signing for the Browns in this offseason – solid, proven contributor at the pro level (What is with all the fumbles Ben?). West fits this mold of the downhill runner. Two powerful backs behind a mobile, dynamic QB in Manziel. Looks like a good plan to me.
Pierre Desir: Highly rated player left till the 4th round. After the Gilbert pick, you wonder if this player had too high a value to pass up on or are there other plans in the making – still a ton of talented players left on the board. Leads you to think that Cleveland is satisfied that it has filled most of the ‘holes’ in their roster at this point.
Unless I am very wrong about Johnny Manziel – waiting for my crystal ball that’s coming in the mail – Cleveland is quickly becoming an elite team. Because of the imminent suspension of Gordon and the rookie status of Manziel, I see the Browns as a team that is very strong in the 2nd half of 2014 but may have to wait until 2015 before they really start to gel. If I am a Cleveland fan, I’m hoping that my team can stay competitive in the 1st half of the season -- maybe a few breaks come your way.
The Browns in the playoffs in 2014 – that is still a real possibility.