Will Manziel become Johnny Cleveland?

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 1, 2014 at 4:35 pm •  Published: May 1, 2014
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BEREA, Ohio (AP) — As he discussed the possibility of quarterback Johnny Manziel being picked by Cleveland in the upcoming draft, Browns linebacker Quentin Groves made a small sign of the cross.

A prayer that he's coming? A plea that he stays away?

Groves' intentions with his gesture weren't clear.

Like just about everything around Johnny Football, there's no definite answer.

The most polarizing player to enter the NFL in a while, Manziel, is being closely linked to the Browns, who own the No. 4 overall pick in next week's draft and have been seeking a franchise quarterback for more than a decade.

Cleveland's inability to land a QB either in the draft or via free agency or blind luck may be the single biggest reason the Browns have only made the playoffs once since 1999 and seem to change coaches every year.

There are those who believe Manziel can save the Browns. Others feel the Texas A&M quarterback's dazzling skills — and size — won't translate to the pro game.

He's dynamic.

He's too small.

He's a game-changer.

He's self-absorbed.

He's a hard worker.

He's a head case.

He's charismatic.

Everyone has an opinion on Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner who has been projected as being picked anywhere from the top 5 to the bottom of the first round.

"If Johnny Manziel came through, if he beats out the other quarterbacks that are here, it's all good," Browns Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden said. "I like Johnny Manziel. I like him a whole lot."

Haden's not alone. Sports radio talk shows here are crammed with callers screaming for the Browns to choose Manziel, one of several QBs in this year's class expected to go in the early rounds.

Cleveland hasn't used a pick higher than No. 22 on a quarterback since taking Tim Couch first overall 15 years ago.

The Browns have done their homework on Manziel. The team recently worked him out privately in College Station, Texas, and brought him to Cleveland to visit their training facility and headquarters.

As they consider taking him, Browns general manager Ray Farmer and owner Jimmy Haslam wanted to get to better know Manziel, who served a suspension last season for violating an NCAA rule involving signing autographs, as a person.

They've seen him on film. Nothing beats the real thing.

"I don't think I have any reservations with who Johnny is," Farmer said. "He's a good young man. I think the interesting part about Johnny is that, much like a lot of us, you don't get a handbook for how to operate in certain instances.

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