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Cleveland Browns' Jimmy Haslam and Ray Farmer love Johnny Manziel, but Greg Robinson high on their list at No. 4

Sebastian's picture
May 6, 2014 at 12:41am

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson is high on the Browns' list at No. 4, but owner Jimmy Haslam and general manager Ray Farmer also love Johnny Manziel, league sources have told cleveland.com.

Sources close to the team said the Browns are leaning toward Robinson with their No. 4 pick, but that there's also plenty of love at the top of the building for Johnny Football. One NFL personnel man told cleveland.com that Robinson is a can't-miss prospect and that he compares to Hall of Famer Walter Jones of the Seahawks.

"A player like Greg Robinson doesn't come around very often,'' said the source. "If he's there, it would be very difficult for them to pass on him.''

The sources said Haslam and Farmer are high on Manziel, but that there might not be a consensus in the organization. However, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan praised Manziel during minicamp last week, which means he might be in the same camp as his two bosses. Coach Mike Pettine said Shanahan's evaluation of the quarterbacks would carry more weight than his own.

"Everybody’s got their own opinion,'' said Shanahan. "There’s a lot of people in this building, so I don’t think there’s a consensus on anything. They asked me my opinion, I always give it and we see what happens.''

Shanahan suggested he'd be happy to work with the dynamic playmaker.

"It’s obvious how good of a player he is, how fun he is to watch,'' Shanahan said Thursday on the final day of minicamp. "I think (his style) does translate to the NFL. If you can make those plays in college, you can do it in the NFL. The one thing about the NFL, there’s a lot of tape out there. You’ve got to be able to do everything.

"Whatever you do very good, they’re going to eventually be able to shut that down and you’re going to have to do something else. He’s going to be able to make plays in this league. Eventually when they try to contain him, he’s going to have to do everything he didn’t always have to do in college.

 Shanahan isn't concerned about Manziel's 5-11 3/4 height and 207-pound frame.

"The guy can play football,'' said Shanahan. "I don’t care if you’re a big guy or a smaller guy, if you take too many hits in the league, I don’t care who you are, it’s tough to stay healthy. He’s got to take care of himself, especially with the way he plays, but I think he definitely has the size to succeed in the league.''

Manziel's Texas A&M offensive coordinator, Jake Spavital, told cleveland.com that Manziel will flourish in the right system, and will be able to run Shanahan's brand of West Coast offense.

Pettine also noted that Shanahan is flexible enough to work with any style of quarterback, as evidenced by Robert Griffin III's outstanding rookie season in Washington in 2012. Utilizing Griffin's running ability, Shanahan coached him to NFL Rookie of the Year honors and a Pro Bowl season. He threw 20 touchdowns against only five interceptions and earned a 102.4 rating.

But the Browns might decide to go the safer route and draft Robinson, who could eventually take over for Joe Thomas as left tackle. For now, Robinson would play right tackle or guard for the Browns.

The problem is, the Rams might grab at Robinson at No. 2, possibly leaving the Browns with the big decision on Manziel. The Rams are also believed to be interested in Manziel, but one insider said that all the talk about them taking him at No. 2 might be designed to get the Browns to trade up to get him.

Publicly, the Browns have stated that they wouldn't hesitate to draft Robinson, or Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews. One scout said that while Robinson is like Jones, Matthews compares to Thomas, the seven-time Pro Bowler.

"(Robinson is an) outstanding tackle,'' said Pettine at the NFL Annual Meeting last month. "He's a player that has all the measurables. The nice thing that you like about him is the toughness. He's a finisher. He's going to knock you down and he's not going to help you up. I know he's played (guard). If you look at Jonathan Ogden, he was a guard his first year in the NFL and then he ended up transitioning out to tackle.  A lot of people don't realize that. But when you're looking for the best player available and that name pops up, whether you have that player on your roster or you have Joe Thomas on the roster at left tackle, you don't want to say 'we're not going to take him because we have one.'''

Farmer echoed those sentiments, including Matthews in the evaluation. Matthews is also a strong candidate for the Rams at No. 2.

"They’re really good players,'' Farmer said at his pre-draft press conference last week. "We were sitting in the suite at the combine when Greg Robinson ran, and Jimmy (Haslam) turned and was like, ‘how big was he?’ so you go back and you start reviewing the numbers and the size and the movement and then his play, and he's a very, very interesting prospect as to what he can possibly bring to a franchise. Same thing with Jake Matthews. His history and pedigree speak for themselves. I want to drive competition on the roster. So Joe Thomas is a very good football player. He’s been to numerous Pro Bowls, he’s been a successful player for a reason. But having players on this roster that Joe looks over and says, ‘oh, boy, that’s a real guy right there,’ that’s something good for our franchise and good for our football team. I think there’s no way I would tell you that those guys aren’t interesting players for us as well.''

If the Browns decide to trade down out of the No. 4 pick, they might target Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert, who led the Big 12 with seven interceptions in 2013 and returned two for touchdowns. But if the Browns covet Gilbert, one of the top two cornerbacks in the draft along with Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard, they can't move too far back to get him. The Lions reportedly have their eye on him at No. 10.



-Mary Kay Cabot-

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BassDropper's picture

Johnny will be a Brown. Haslam wants Johnny in town to be the face of the franchise. Who was the last player to be this hyped in the city of Cleveland..not named Lebron. I want Johnny. If the Browns pass on Manziel I will throw my remote through my tv and drive to Cleveland and burn down the stadium (should I use italics for that last statement???). He has a good arm, great downfield vision, a leader, and can obviously use his feet. Most importantly, he has the "it" factor. He has star written all over him imo. He does have bust potential, I will give the Manziel-haters that..but I don't think he will be a bust. 

If Cleveland drafts Johnny, the Browns will instantly become a must watch. It will kind of have the same effect as when Lebron went to Miami, and all of a sudden everyone became a Heat fan. 


+1 HS
luckynutz's picture

Whats funny is im the exact opposite...if the browns draft manziel, im going to burn down the city and teams complex in Berea. And its nothing against manziel...hes exciting and has a fiery passion. Its more about the history of Cleveland's luck with taking high first rounders at QB. Cleveland is more than just a qb away from competing. There are other holes that need to be addressed, and those holes can expose even the best qb prospect. Mainly a lack of playmakers outside Gordon and cameron. And a leaky right side of the offensive line.

Thats why im more excited by the prospects of watkins, Robinson or Matthews. Any of which would address two glaring areas of need and give a qb a fighting chance of succeeding. Im also not sold on the idea that hoyer cant get it done. He may not have the wow factor of manziel. But he does have the ability to lead, is a hometown kid with a personal connection to this team and spent a couple years around another no name qb who made it big in tom brady. Im much more a fan of building a complete offense around hoyer and seeing what he can do than mortgaging the future on someone whos never played a down of pro football. Whats it hurt to do it different things time around?

+2 HS
osu07asu10's picture

I want the brownies to draft Manziel because there will be absolutely zero middle ground with him.

JFF will either lead the brownies to a SB by year 3....OR....

He will prove to be the ether that the raging dumpster fire that is the cleveland browns craves so bad.

Whichever it is, it is going to be spectacular and I want a front row seat for it. Go Brownies!!

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

Go1Bucks's picture

Bass, your an ass!  Keep Johnny two bit to yourself.  We are tired of your lovetrolling for him.  Yeah, yeah, I know I should   ignore you but idiocy has to be pointed out sometimes - plus its late and Im drinking.

Go Bucks!

+1 HS
faux_maestro's picture

I'm sorry, but does anyone remember the last 2 AIR-RAID quarterbacks in Cleveland?

Tim Couch

Brandon Weeden 

Good luck Browns fans.

Your mom told me she wants a Dicken Cidar.

+1 HS
BassDropper's picture

What do Couch and Weeden have to do with Manziel. Manziel is his own person and a completely different player than those two. Look at all of the college offenses. Most teams are moving forward to the air-raid style. Most are doing it in more of a spread type (tex a&m) compared to the traditional Ok State/Texas Tech style. I personally think we could see Braxton throwing 30'-40 passes a game this year since Braxton wants to focus more on passing.

Duel Threat QBs have had the most success in the recent draft classes opposed pocket passers. I have no doubt that Johnny is next.


Duel Threat 

Cam Newton- 11,299 passing yards/64 TDs 42 INTs/2,032 rushing yards 28 TDs

Colin Kaepernick- 5,049 yards/31 TDs 11 INTs/937 rushing yards 9 TDs


Jake Locker- 3,974 yards/22 TDs 15 INTs

Blaine Gabbert- 4,357 yards/22 TDs 24 INTs

Christian Ponder-6,436 yards/38 TDs 34 INTs

Andy Dalton-7,067 yards/47 TDs 29 INTs


Duel Threat

Russell Wilson-6,475 yards/52 TDs 19 INTs/1,028 rushing yards 5 TDs

Andrew Luck-8,196 yards/46 TDs 27 INTs/632 rushing yards 9 TDs

Robert Griffen III- 6,403 yards/36 TDs 17 INTs/1,304 rushing yards 7 TDs


Ryan Tannehill- 7,207 yards/36 TDs 30 INTs

Brandon Weeden-5,116 yards/23 TDs 26 INTs



-1 HS
House804's picture

Bass- I hear you man.  I like Robinson and Watkins and I would be OK with both of these guys as well. But, OL and WR are two of the deepest positions in the draft.  They almost have to take Manziel.  I'm on board with the "it" factor.  Also, this is CLEVELAND.  What do they have to lose??? The fans are not going anywhere. Their QB is coming off major knee surgery, who's to say he is going to make it 16 games?  And then what?  Vince Young?  I'm sick of the "he's too small", you either can play or you can't, and he is what, 20?  You don't think he can bulk up?

They don't call him Johnny freaking Football for nothing.

We talkin' bout practice?!  Not the game I love...the game I die for.  Practice?!

-1 HS
Colerain 2004 G.O.A.T.'s picture

Colt McCoy? I think is more comparable to Johnny Foosball.

I speak the truth but I guess that's a foreign language to yall.~~Lil Wayne

-1 HS
BassDropper's picture



-2 HS
Johnny-Shane_Utah-Falco's picture

Manziel body not made for NFL.


-4 HS
danbrown7665's picture

clearly doesn't know how to use the hashtag

"limitations, like fears are often just illusions"
-Michael Jordan, the greatest athlete of all time

-1 HS
Johnny-Shane_Utah-Falco's picture

Regardless of who we draft, us Browns fans know the tables are about to turn in this old stately rivalry. We're a comin for you, Bungles...ohhhhh yeah, we're a comin! Get ready boys.

#Browns AFC North Champs in 2017

-4 HS
Athens BuckCat's picture

Personally I would love to see the Browns draft Manziel. If he fails then what's one more failed QB in Cleveland at this point? But boy, if he's successful the Browns will be instantly hyped and make waves in the league. They can take JFF and still put together a heck of a draft regardless based on the rest of their picks

-1 HS
osubuck57's picture

Hope Browns don't draft a QB in the first round. I'd be happy with OT, WR, and or CB in first round.


Furious George 27's picture

I am not a fan of Manziel, I don't believe his game of throwing the ball up for grabs will translate to the NFL. And to compare someone to another QB before they have played a down in the NFL does not make any sense. The NFL is full of QB busts that were compared to other successful QBs before they were drafted. If you are relying on your QB to make all your plays then the pieces around him are not very good. RG3 had a great rookie year before he blew out his leg, not sure its worth the pick for an undersized QB who will take a lot of hits if they run the similar offense that they ran in Washington.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

+1 HS
elitesmithie's picture

I would love Watkins at 4 and Bridgewater at 26

+2 HS
Danify's picture

Only way I would like for the Browns to take Manziel @ 4 is if they take another QB within the later rounds. I'm talking Murray, McCarron, Fales, Wenning, or Thomas as an safety valve.

sivaDavis's picture

Is it possible the Browns look for a new owner in the first couple rounds? Or would they wait until Day 3?

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

-1 HS