CLEVELAND – It is a story that captures a city desperate for a ray of sunshine among thick dark snow clouds that hover over Northeast Ohio, while the rest of the NFL makes it to the postseason.
The NFL draft sends Browns fans into a mythical wonderment of fantasy.
Just the question, who will the Browns take with the number four pick? The story of the 2014 Cleveland Browns pick is unbelievably compelling. On Facebook at 5:30 p.m. on the Tuesday before the draft, I had more than 1,000 views in less than 20 minutes.
In a world where teams make the playoffs, the draft is a three day story. In Cleveland, the draft story started sometime in October.
Nobody really knows what the Browns are going to do. If they tell you they know, they are lying.
To tell you what the Browns are going to do, would mean you are able to read into the minds of Houston, St. Louis, Jacksonville and all of the other teams that could trade into the top three. Then you still have to know what the Browns are going to do.
One thing is for sure. This time last year things seemed to be a little easier to try to figure out that the Browns might go after Barkevious Mingo.
The leaks out of Berea have since been silenced. It became true when the Browns successfully let former CEO Joe Banner and General Manager Mike Lombardi go. Nobody knew it was coming.
The “NFL insiders” have gone away. You are at your own risk when predicting what the Browns will do.
I could make a great argument for at least half a dozen players the Browns should take before the drafts most polarizing name.
But, only one name is truly high risk, high reward.
His name is Johnny Football.
If you are Browns owner Jimmy Haslam how could you not want Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. If he is the quarterback he was at A&M than his play should be worthy having the Browns pick him at number four.
Tickets will be hard to get. Number 2 Browns jerseys will be sold off the shelves, TV cameras will flood Berea to see what Johnny Football can do. From a marketing stand point, he is a dream come true.
If he is the starting quarterback in week one, everyone will have their eyes on Cleveland. If he doesn’t start, then the eyes will be focused on when he will start. If he is a hero on the football field in the graveyard for quarterbacks the sky will be the limit.
If Manziel takes the field and falls flat on his face, it won’t be so painful for a team that has been swimming in four and five win seasons.
He makes the Browns relevant, not guaranteeing a winner, but relevant. Johnny means money, win or lose.
The reality is: Manziel would need to beat out Brian Hoyer. Mike Pettine and Ray Farmer have preached they want competition in camp. If the Browns can find a way to draft him second in the draft it will take some of the pressure off.
He will put the Browns on the map at least through game one of the season. The question will be answered on Thursday night. Can Manziel melt a frozen lake of misery or will he be somewhere else swimming or sinking?