Browns start making plans for next draft

Published 2:10 am Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Instead of conducting the “War Room” as is the case with all NFL teams, the Browns have a contract to use Matt Foley’s van and park it down by Lake Erie. Inside will be Foley orchestrating the draft with his top two aides, Tyrone Biggums and Happy Gilmore’s caddy Otto.

Hey, it worked this year for Browns’ owner Jimmy Haslam, so why not expand the team and have a monster draft?

According to Haslam, he is virtually unknown in his home state of Tennessee, but as the owner of the Browns everyone recognizes him when he walks down the street.


Haslam said he came across a homeless man who looked up at him and said, “Draft Manziel.”

Haslam said that cinched the selection.

Are you sure that wasn’t one of your former employees who was fired in the Pilot Flying J scandal seeking revenge?

Manziel was praised by the “experts” and many pundits say he will bring a “new and exciting era” to Cleveland.

There are other adjectives that could be used to what Manziel will be bringing to the NFL’s version of the Chicago Cubs. For example, how long will it take a defensive lineman or linebacker to take a shot at him if he gives his signature “give me the money” finger gesture?

According to Browns’ new head coach Mike Pettine — I think he is the team’s 13th head coach in five years — he doesn’t like starting rookies and that Brian Hoyer is the incumbent.

Sure he is, until Dave Chappelle’s Tyrone Biggums character finishes a peanut butter and crack sandwich and tells Haslam that Manziel should be the starter.

Hoyer and Manziel are two very different styles of quarterbacks, so does that mean the Browns will need two different offenses to fit each one’s style? I was going to say, “And what about recently signed Vince Young?” but he has already been released and will probably end up in the van down by the river with the others.

The Browns’ players like Hoyer. A Cleveland native and long-time Browns’ fan, Hoyer was the obvious starter last season before his season-ending knee injury.

Regardless who the quarterback will be, his receiving corps is being depleted and general manager Ray Farmer didn’t draft a wide receiver.

I said long before the draft the Browns needed a Sammy Watkins or someone because you couldn’t trust Josh Gordon. As great of a season as he had last year, the Browns seem to have forgotten they were trying to trade him early in the year when he got in trouble once again and was suspended the first two games.

The Browns found out before the draft that Gordon did, in fact, revert to his old ways and may be facing a season-long suspension for a positive drug test.

Cleveland went into the draft armed with 11 picks including the No. 4 and No. 26 spots in the first round but came away with just six picks. They were quality picks, but none were a wide receiver. Instead, the Browns opted to signed these free agents:

*Willie Snead, Ball State, 5-011, 195

*Chandler Jones, San Jose State, 5-9, 183, 4.34-second 40

*Gerald Ford, Valdosta State, 6-3, 223, 4.6-second 40

*Taylor Gabriel, Abilene Christian, 5-8, 167, 4.4-second 40, 40-inch vertical leap

*Jonathan Krause Vanderbilt, 5-11, 187, 4.37-second 40, 37-5 vertical

Farmer said, “I would say that frustration is a natural part of it. I don’t fault anyone for being disappointed. To that end, it’s our job to make those decisions less painful. And in time, it’s no difference than if a player was going out during the off-season and broke an ankle or tore an ACL playing pickup hoops or doing something different.

“We have to build a football team regardless of who is missing. I think that’s the charge that we have. That’s my job, that’s coach Pettine’s job, to prepare this football team to win games regardless of who’s missing.”

Back up a second. It’s no different than if a player was going out during the off-season and broke an ankle or tore an ACL. How about a broken arm?

The Browns signed free agent wide receiver Nate Burleson who was released by Detroit, in part because he suffered a broken arm when he wrecked his car while trying to save a pizza from slipping off the front seat.

Guess who broke his arm again in mini-camp last week? I guess he went back to get hot wings as a side for the pizza.

It’s hard to grade any draft right away. It will take time. Manziel haters, he’s a Cleveland Brown now. If he plays, root for your team. But Pettine has said he wants to be a run-oriented team, so why Manziel and not an A.J. McCarron-type quarterback?

The draft created as many questions as it answered. Is Manziel the guy? Should the Browns have taken a wide receiver? Is Farmer’s approach right or wrong?

Maybe Matt Foley said it best, “La di freaking da.”


Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.