By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
How would the arrival of Johnny Manziel affect Brian Hoyer? That’s the question of the week as the Browns wrapped up their private workout of Manziel.
Hey Tony: Jimmy Haslam understands that although he owns a sports franchise, he is in the entertainment business. With your mock draft 9.0 bringing Johnny Football to Cleveland, the Browns can make the leap from years of irrelevance to pure excitement. Long suffering fans will be reminded how much fun Sundays in the fall can be. The only difficulty is with the transition from Brian Hoyer to Johnny Manziel. Hoyer has shown clear evidence of knowing how to win and has the confidence of the players. How would you see that scenario playing out? Does Hoyer become a quality backup again, or does he represent real trade value when Mr. Excitement takes over?
-- Mark, Branford, CT
Hey Mark: A Hoyer vs. Manziel competition would be a fascinating dynamic. Both have chips on their shoulders – Hoyer striving to prove himself again and regain his starting job, and Manziel determined to prove that he’s not just a college phenom. Hoyer would win a competition, in my opinion, because of his experience and familiarity with his team and the league. Manziel would be wise to soak up everything Hoyer does, much like Hoyer did with Tom Brady for three years with New England. The team is ready to win, so ultimately the quarterback who plays has to win.
Hey Tony: As usual at this time of year there is a lot of speculation and rumors floating around what NFL teams are considering doing prior to draft day. One of the latest speculated rumors is that Indianapolis is considering shopping their 2nd round pick (#59) in an attempt to garner additional picks. Additionally, it has been reported that they believe this draft has players of value in the lower round selections. Indianapolis has only 5 picks in this year’s upcoming draft. My question is what must a team give up in selections in order to obtain this 59th pick? Would giving up our 5th (#145), 6th (#180), and 7th (#218) round picks meet this value? If Indianapolis is truly shopping this 2nd round pick would the Browns consider trying to obtain it from them? This would give the Browns two selections in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rounds a total of (8) selections in the 2014 draft, plus those players already signed through free agency.
-- Joe, Palm Desert, CA
Hey Joe: According to the commonly used draft value chart, the No. 59 pick in the draft is worth 300 points. Trading fifth-, sixth- and seventh-round picks wouldn’t come close to the value of the Colts’ second-round pick. More likely would be the Browns higher third- and fourth-round picks. I don’t see why the Colts would do that.
Hey Tony: The more I hear Mike Pettine talk, the more I feel the Browns will go with Khalil Mack or Greg Robinson. He wants to win with defense and power football. He wants the pressure off the QB. I think that a QB at #4 puts the pressure and emphasis on that position. I think we'll see the Browns pick a QB later and concentrate on defense and the running game. The Browns can win this year with that formula. Tony, when you picked Manziel, was it done to switch it up or do you really like that pick? I think Robinson at #4 is a no-brainer if on the board!
-- Rick, Shreveport, LA
Hey Rick: I believe the Browns need to select a quarterback to groom as their eventual starter. There are only two that I would consider at No. 4 – Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel. In my most recent mock draft, I had Bortles going to Jacksonville at No. 3. Previously, I had Manziel going at No. 3. If both were available at No. 4, I don’t know at this time which I would take. I would not take an offensive lineman.
Hey Tony: With all the talk about teams picking up the 5th option on their 2011 1st round rookies. Is there any word on if the Browns plan or have picked up the 5th year option on Phil Taylor? Thank you.
-- Jason, Liberty Township, OH
Hey Jason: Teams have until May 3 to pick up the fifth-year option on players taken in the first round in the 2011 draft. Taylor was the 21st player taken in the draft. So, by rule, the team’s fifth-year option would equal the average salary of the top 25 players at his position – with the top three excluded. The team hasn’t indicated its plans, but it makes sense to pick up Taylor’s fifth-year option rather than allow him to leave as a free agent after 2014.
Hey Tony: Long-time reader and fan here with a quarterback question. Because this position is so important, and there is so much pressure to get it right, I was curious to know why the Browns wouldn't draft more of them? Traditionally (can't speak on Farmer's behalf yet) we yield very little from rounds 4-7 (Notable exceptions: Jordan Cameron, Ahtyba Rubin) and so why not throw a few proverbial darts with the Aaron Murrays or A.J. McCarrons of the world? I would advocate this on top of selecting a QB with one of our first 3 picks. You often mention Seattle as having used this technique (see Charlie Whitehurst) and so why not up our odds and throw as many darts as possible? Worst case we've wasted a low round pick trying to improve the most important position on the field. Thanks for your time and Browns wisdom.
-- Lindsay, Calgary, Alberta
Hey Lindsay: It’s possible the Browns would select two quarterbacks in this draft. Teams have done that before. I don’t think a team has ever taken three quarterbacks in a draft, however.
Hey Tony: Are you concerned about Ray Farmer with this year’s draft as though he may not have had a prominent role with last year’s abysmal draft under Banner/Lombardi, he was still likely assisting in either scouting or giving his opinion. How involved was he in the actual draft process under the previous regime?
-- Kevin, Chicago, IL
Hey Kevin: Farmer has said he “had a voice” in last year’s draft, but the impact of his opinions is hard to pinpoint. The 2013 draft was abysmal, to be sure. So we can only hope that Farmer’s role was not prominent, which is likely.
Hey Tony: A lot has happened with our beloved Browns since your March 3rd article where you wrote the following; "Free agency is fools-gold for the hapless teams trying to take shortcuts to contention. Any team that signs more than three free agents in a given season is doomed. It is kidding itself and its fans to think all three will play up to their bloated contracts. If they’re lucky, one will." After reflecting on who the Browns have signed via free agency, has your opinion changed slightly or do you think we are doomed? Youth is great, but I think a lot can be said about adding experience to our team, which I think Ray Farmer has done. He has also filled some holes that should help us in the draft. Thanks for your great coverage, I read your articles every day and the comments from your readers, who have some interesting takes on our Browns, usually!
-- Scott, Sharon Twp., OH
Hey Scott: Everyone wants to believe the (so far) nine players signed by the Browns in free agency will transform the team from losers to winners. I will stand by the premise of my March 3 article. I would say if three of the nine players play up to their contracts, the Browns would be lucky. I would expect the three players to make the biggest impact would be Donte Whitner, Karlos Dansby and Ben Tate.
Hey Tony: I get lulled to sleep listening to everyone's assessment of our quarterback situation but no one is talking about the ones we have now -- kind of a shame. Hoyer, everyone's unproven commodity, is a good one, but what about our present backup, Alex Tanney? The guy is good -- best quick release, best accuracy, been around long enough to read defenses. We are really selling what we got short. They both might be better than what we draft.
-- Gus, Akron, OH
Hey Gus: Let’s see Tanney perform in a training camp and exhibition season before getting carried away. This is the first time in three years he will have participated in an NFL offseason program from the very start.
Hey Tony: Do you think Jacksonville's GM signed Alex Mack to such a matchable contract as a favor to Marvin Demoff? I just don't see their motivation in negotiating Mack's contract for the Browns.
-- Tony, Washington, DC
Hey Tony: I still don’t understand Jacksonville’s motivation. The Jaguars had to realize their offer sheet was eminently matchable. I know that some GMs or personnel executives foster relationships with agents by doing things as you suggest. I’m not sure if this was the case in the Mack offer sheet. A real favor to Demoff would have been to guarantee the entire five years of the Mack contract. That probably would have dissuaded the Browns from matching the offer.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Use the hashtage #HeyTony on Twitter or email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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