While Joe Banner and Michael Lombardi were still employed by the Cleveland Browns, reports all over the place claimed that Johnny Manziel was the guy that the Browns wanted. Regardless of the truth to those reports, Manziel does not appear to be Cleveland’s guy anymore.
In an appearance on ‘The Dan Patrick Show” NFL.com draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said that, out of all the quarterbacks in this draft, the Browns most covet Fresno State prospect Derek Carr. Regardless of the previous rumors surrounding Manziel, Carr is the guy that new Browns head coach Mike Pettine and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan prefer at this point in time.
“The one thing about the combine is, you get there, you’re around all your contacts, a lot of different NFL people,” Jeremiah told “The Dan Patrick Show” on Wednesday. “And it had been so out there that the Browns loved Manziel under the previous regime, and I talked to enough people that firmly believe that that was a total smokescreen.”
Said Jeremiah: “Their guy is (Fresno State quarterback) Derek Carr and they’re going to take a different player with the fourth pick and they want to take Derek Carr with their second one (at No. 26). … I heard that from several different places.”
For the Browns, it would a smart move to take a quarterback later in the draft rather than in the top 10, where the Browns hold the fourth overall pick. While quarterbacks such as Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, and Blake Bortles all are believed to have high ceilings at the NFL level, none of them are unanimously viewed as a surefire franchise quarterback.
Singling in on Carr means the Browns have the flexibility to trade down from the fourth pick in the draft. If hyper-athletic defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is still on the board after the first three picks, Cleveland could move down in the first round and trade with a team like the Atlanta Falcons, Tennessee Titans, or Dallas Cowboys who could use a star like Clowney.
While Carr doesn’t exactly fit the mold of Robert Griffin III, the last quarterback Kyle Shanahan worked with, Carr still has above-average speed, as evidenced by his 4.69 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine this past weekend.
Carr, the younger brother of former top overall pick David Carr, was described by NFL.com analyst Nolan Nawrocki as an “athletic, tough, instinctive, strong-armed, highly competitive quarterback who will impress in workouts, interviews and on the board”. While expecting Carr to be on the board at the 26th overall pick would be a stretch, he would certainly be a good fit for the Cleveland Browns.
Regardless of which quarterback the Browns decide to select in the 2014 NFL draft, this team has gone far too long without a franchise quarterback. That needs to change sooner rather than later.
Down and Distance Contributor Joe Ray – @jpray_SK
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