This was it, right? There seemed to be no reason for the Browns to move up from the ninth pick to No. 8, swapping with the Vikings, to take anyone but quarterback Johnny Manziel.
But, then they made the first move of the draft that truly left people speechless. They took Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert instead.
The Browns must have felt they needed to move up because the Vikings wanted Gilbert at No. 8. They gave up a fifth-round pick, which isn't a huge price, but it still seemed unnecessary. Gilbert wasn't projected as a top 10 pick by most prognosticators, but the Browns wanted their guy. He pairs with Joe Haden for an excellent cornerback duo.
Here's the only problem: The Browns can stop the pass, but can they pass it themselves? The Browns, who have been stuck in quarterback purgatory since re-entering the NFL, had the chance to take Manziel, the 2012 Heisman winner who would have made them one of the more interesting teams of this NFL season. Instead, Brian Hoyer remained the top quarterback on the roster after Cleveland took Gilbert.
The Vikings didn't want Manziel either. With the ninth pick, and Matt Cassel as their starter on the depth chart, Minnesota took UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr.
Like Jacksonville passing Manziel to take Blake Bortles with the third overall pick, the Browns have put themselves in position to be second guessed for a long time if Manziel turns out to be a star. That would just be another sad chapter in the Browns' quarterback history.
UPDATE: But wait! Cleveland ended up with Manziel after all, after his crazy fall to the 22nd pick of the draft. The Browns traded up yet again, apparently thwarting the Vikings' plan to move up to draft Manziel, and took the Texas A&M star. Now the only new sad chapter to the story will be if Manziel joins the long, long line of quarterbacks who have busted out in Cleveland since 1999.
- - - - - - -
- American Football
- Sports & Recreation