While not everybody within the local media is convinced, many national pundits see the Cleveland Browns grabbing a quarterback in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Brian Hoyer has not yet proven himself to be a true starter in the NFL, and he is also coming off of a torn ACL. The Browns have impact players on offense. They need somebody to run the show.
Is that somebody Johnny Football?
Reminder: The Browns possess picks No. 4 and No. 26 overall.
Cleveland Browns NFL mock drafts: Walter Football
First pick: WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson: The Browns snatching Andrew Hawkins from the Cincinnati Bengals does not at all mean that Watkins won’t be an option for Cleveland at No. 4 overall. Hawkins is a slot receiver, and the Browns still need a solid second option at the position behind Josh Gordon. Watkins is the top offensive play-maker prospect in the draft, and the Browns are reportedly impressed with the player’s overall body of work.
There are, however, some insiders who believe Watkins could be selected before Cleveland is first called to the podium.
Second pick: QB Derek Carr, Fresno State: Cleveland’s interest in Carr, if any actually exists, may be irrelevant on May 8. The draft stock of the Fresno State quarterback is on the rise, so much so that he could be taken by a team that is currently in the top-ten of the draft order.
Cleveland Browns NFL mock drafts: Will Brinson
First pick: QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M: Brinson sees Manziel as do many others; as a player that would “rejuvenate” a franchise that has mostly known losing since 1999. There will be, up until he plays in a meaningful game, concerns about whether or not Johnny Football will be able to win on Sundays. I remain convinced that the Browns can’t and won’t pass on Manziel if he is there for them here.
Second pick: WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State: Cooks landing in Cleveland had been a popular opinion in mock drafts up until March 18, when the Browns learned that they would, for sure, be signing Hawkins. The Oregon State WR is a rookie version of Hawkins. He will no longer be an option for Cleveland, at least not in the first round.
Cleveland Browns NFL mock drafts: Dane Brugler
First pick: QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville: Brugler is very good at what he does, and it’s quite possible that he knows something that those who specifically cover the Browns don’t know. The perception following the NFL Combine has been that Cleveland has little interest in drafting Bridgewater at all, and that was before his “average” pro day. I would, if the draft occurred today, be shocked to see the Browns go down this route.
Second pick: LB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State: The draft stock of Shazier changes per mock draft that you read. Some don’t have him as a first round pick. Some have him being selected before Cleveland utilizes the No. 26 pick. I see the Browns as having other needs to fill than linebacker in the first round, but that could change if the team doesn’t choose a quarterback earlier in the first round.
Cleveland Browns NFL mock drafts: Don Banks
First pick: Manziel: Banks wrote the following about Johnny Football: “If I’m choosing between Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater, I’m taking the guy who has won in big-game settings and seems to relish all that comes with the glamor position of quarterback.” Manziel is the injection of life the Browns have needed since the end of the 2007 NFL regular season, and that is a big reason why Banks and others are predicting that he ends up in Cleveland brown and orange.
Second pick: Cooks : Cooks is lightning-quick, but the Browns need to choose a lengthy WR here after grabbing Hawkins in free agency.
Cleveland Browns NFL mock drafts: Rob Rang
First pick: QB Blake Bortles, UCF: There are analysts who believe that Bortles will be selected before the Browns can grab him. It is thought that he has a higher upside than does either Manziel or Bridgewater, and those high on him see Bortles as a more-mobile version of Ben Roethlisberger. I do not believe he will be on the board four picks deep, but that may not be the case if the Houston Texans take defensive end Jadeveon Clowney with the first overall selection.
Second pick: G Xavier Su’a-Filo: The Browns do need to bolster their offensive line via the draft. They can do so outside of the first round. Cleveland has to grab a play-maker, offense or defense, here.