NEW YORK – The Cleveland Browns made the ground shake Thursday night.
They didn’t simply address their most critical need entering the NFL Draft, which was quarterback.
They did something far bigger.
They landed arguably the most iconic figure to emerge from college football in history. They landed a player whose brand will arrive at their facility before he does. They landed someone whose game is defined by exciting, improvisational, dynamic playmaking.
They landed Johnny Manziel. The name pretty much says it all.
His arrival already was causing tremors here, with numerous Dawg Pound faithful in attendance chanting, “Johnny! Johnny! Johnny!” when it was announced the Browns had traded with the Philadelphia Eagles to move from No. 26 to No. 22, to select the Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M.
The Browns are now the focal point of the entire NFL, not just Cleveland.
Johnny Football’s every move, which had been tracked while he was in college and between the end of his collegiate career and Thursday night, will be under an even more intense spotlight.
Forget the fact that he wasn’t the first quarterback taken; that was Blake Bortles of Central Florida. Forget the fact that he fell much lower in the first round than many analysts expected.
What mattered was that the Browns, who traded twice on the way to making cornerback Justin Gilbert the first of their two choices in the first round, were determined enough to get Manziel by pulling off a third trade to do so.
They have someone they can sell and that the fans will buy.
They have someone who makes an enormous splash.
When was the last time that happened with the Browns in the draft?
>>This Road to the Draft Feature is driven by Liberty Ford.
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