Johnny Manziel is unquestionably one of the most polarizing draft prospects in recent memory, prompting experts to rate him as anything from a first-round, surefire starter, to a mid-round project. Two franchises that could use an infusion of talent at the quarterback position — the Jaguars and the Browns — were recently used as backdrops for discussing Manziel’s attributes, both positive and negative.
Paris Moulden of the Florida Times-Union makes a three-pronged argument in favor of the Jags drafting Manziel, citing Jacksonville’s need for star power, Manziel’s ability, and the need for team to take a risk. While the first two reasons might be valid, I would question whether a general manager like Dave Caldwell, who has been methodical in his attempted rebuild of the Jags, would be willing to use the No. 3 pick on such an uncertain prospect.
Another team with an known interest in Manziel is the Browns, who own the No. 4 pick and a vacancy at quarterback. Ray Frager of CSNBaltimore.com parses the comments of NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell in arguing that Manziel may not make sense in Cleveland:
“You see a quarterback who creates his own problems with what appears to be a lack of understanding and discipline, and then once in a while he makes an unbelievable unstructured play. There’s a sense that he makes it up as he goes, a shoot-from-the-hip element that is so much fun and entertaining to watch. … Entertaining is great for fans and highlight shows, but it’s not a quarterback attribute. A QB cannot live on the edge, play randomly and be consistently successful against NFL defenses.”
Frager notes that it will take awhile for Manziel to develop, and that Browns fans aren’t willing to wait on another developmental quarterback. However, it remains to be seen whether any of the QBs in the 2014 class are immediate game-changers, and the Browns do have Brian Hoyer set as a place-holder at the position. Manizel would be an interesting addition to a Browns team that has several excellent pieces in place, and is still desperately yearning for a quarterback.