posted on January 22, 2014 07:00
It was reported this past weekend by some oh-so-reliable sources that the Cleveland Browns were interested in moving up from the fourth overall selection to make Johnny Manziel the 21st quarterback in their 19-year history.
I know you mathematicians out there already did the math, but yes, that’s more than a quarterback per year of existence. Continuity is overrated, apparently.
The report goes onto imply Browns’ management is hoping to make a big splash, especially with the draft currency they have amassed in the first four rounds of this year’s draft. The Browns have two picks in each of rounds one, three, and four.
So should the Rams fax over the paperwork and make the RGIII trade: part deux official or should they pull the trigger themselves and select Johnny Football if he’s staring them in the face come draft day?
PROS FOR JOHNNY FOOTBALL
- Johnny Football is an institution. His brand entering the league is big enough to make Cam Newton and Tim Tebow almost think about blushing. Almost. If the goal is to fill the dome, this is as sure a trick as any to bring that to fruition.
- If you watched the latter offering of Championship Sunday, you would realize escapability seems to be an important trait successful quarterbacks in the NFC West employ. Johnny Football has that. In fact, in college, he made it seem like he had eyes in the back of his head. That kind of elite pocket awareness would be something the locals have never witnessed.
- Selecting Johnny Football would be like giving stale bread a new shelf life. Whether fair or unfair, the fans are beginning to turn on quarterback Sam Bradford, blaming him almost singlehandedly for the Rams lack of a winning season in his first four. Taking the Texas A&M quarterback with the second overall pick would give some fresh legs to a franchise in need of a pick-me-up.
- The Rams would be almost guaranteed to be featured on Hard Knocks. Whether you’re an avid reader of mine or not, there’s one thing you should know. I love Hard Knocks. This is a big pro for me, even if it doesn’t tip the scale for many others.
CONS FOR JOHNNY FOOTBALL
- Taking Manziel would end the Bradford era for all intents and purposes. Is that such a good idea? Once Zac Stacy became a fixture in the Rams lineup in game 5, Bradford threw for 7 touchdowns and just 1 interception before having his season ended prematurely. In those three games, he had quarterback ratings of 105.3 (vs Jacksonville Jaguars), 134.6 (at Houston Texans), and 93.1 (at Carolina Panthers). Of particular interest, the Panthers stingy defense allowed opposing passers an average quarterback rating of 81.4 on the season. Bradford was above the curve against a very highly touted defense and trending upward until fate derailed his season.
- Do you really want to be the San Diego Chargers? In 2004, the Chargers already had Drew Brees on contract, but due to a shaky start to his career and significant injuries, they opted to select (via trade) Philip Rivers in the draft. Brees had a Pro Bowl year in 2004 and then walked as a free agent. Brees would go on to break passing records with the New Orleans Saints and win a Super Bowl. Cautionary tale? Sure, but do you really want to find out?
- The circus will be in town full time. Above, I stated under the “pros” the expanded brand and coverage Manziel would draw in. For the youngest team in the league the last two years (and perhaps again next year), this added attention paid to a rookie might not be the best idea in this locker room. That maybe conjecture, but this whole column really is conjecture, isn’t it? Why question it now?
- If you take Manziel, you don’t take the bounty that comes with the trade. This is perhaps the biggest argument against the deal. The Rams have completed back-to-back seasons with 7 wins. They have not had a winning record in 10 seasons and they have not made the playoffs in the last eight. Just as they did two years ago, the Rams dealt the pick to fill the roster with quality talent and honestly, they have been more successful than not in that aspect. At this point in time they are far from a perfect team, so if the opportunity presents itself again, how can you not take the deal to enhance the roster?
There are definitely two sides to the coin.
With a few months left to make this decision, what will the front office decide: Johnny or no Johnny?