The Cleveland Browns haven't had had a good starting QB since Bernie Kosar and Brian Sipe. They had the #4 pick in the draft and made a wise trade with the Bills. Then they traded with Darth Spielman moving from #9 to #8 to jump ahead of the Vikings to select Gilbert. The Vikings had Barr as their top graded player and gained a pick and still got their player (sound familar?)
I wasn't surprised when they didn't select a quarterback at #8 based on all the pre-draft information. I seriously doubt that Darth Spielman will ever go public with what happened in the Viking's war room that night. The part we do know is that the Vikings were working feverishly to trade back into the first round, specifically draft slot #22. There were two other suitors for that draft slot as reported. The Browns traded their #26 pick and third round pick at #83 to move into the #22 spot which was to rich for the Vikings to overcome.
This is where it gets interesting. Manziel sent a text to the Brown's QB coach Dowell Loggains and told him to have the Browns draft him as he wanted to be in Cleveland. Loggains forwarded the text to Brown's coach Pettine and owner Jimmy Haslam.
Loggains said he forwarded the text to Pettine and to owner Jimmy Haslam, who clearly was impressed that a Heisman Trophy winner with a Hollywood aura was so excited about playing in Cleveland, Ohio.
Loggains said Haslam's reponse was: "Pull the trigger. We're trading up to get this guy." Good for Haslam. Yet, according to Loggains, it took the owner overruling others on the staff for Manziel to be a Brown. The others might not be too happy with Loggains for going public with this. This could deepen the staff divide on Manziel.
It is sounding like GM Farmer and offensive coach Kyle Shanahan weren't completely sold on Manziel. It was reported that the Browns had Bridgewater's name on the card they were set to turn into Goodell. The media has reported that The Brown's offered a 4th round pick for Kirk Cousins to the Redskins on draft day which would make sense since Shanahan was his coach before coming to Cleveland but the Redskins were holding out for a second round pick (they are still holding out for that second round pick.). The owner coming out and telling the media that Johnny is the Brown's backup before getting a look at him in camp is interesting.
We know Bridgewater wanted to be a Viking and Bortles has a press release saying the Vikings were a good fit for him too. Fit is a very big deal for a football team as we all have learned from the Ponder experiment. I liked the larger than the game Manziel brings to the table. Many teams dropped him down on their value chart due to his off-the-field antics. Manziel will bring the media to town like no other player in this draft. If a team wants all that free press, it does come with a price tag. Did the Vikings dodge a bullet here? Maybe so but the play was in the hands of the Browns as they controlled the choice.
Johnny Cleveland, as he is now called is set to take over the sports world in Cleveland and many predict he will be bigger than LaBron. Will he be a student of the game? Can he stay out of trouble with the outside influences that come with the fame and fortune? Will he become another crossed out name on the back of a fan's jersey?
As Viking fans I think we need to be thankful that our current owner lets the staff do their job. It would be very awkward for a coach to have wanted Teddy Bridgewater and ended up with Johnny Cleveland. Johnny Minnesota would not have worked unless the coaching staff was on-board with the selection. Would Zimmer and Turner have been able to work with that giant ego?
I'm very impressed with Teddy Bridgewater. He is a very mature young man and seems to know what he wants. He treated his mother to a new car before indulging his own whims. I was seduced by the electric Manziel and the excitement he brought but at the end of the day, Bridgewater is looking like the wise pick, even though the Vikings didn't get a shot to draft a QB at the #22 slot. I do think Bridgewater is the better fit scheme-wise for the Vikings with the coaches we have on staff.
Sometimes I find myself wondering what it would have been like if the Vikings had drafted Manziel. Would the media be able to extract information out of Darth Spielman? Would Ziggy be in the media discussing the pick? Did any reporter get a quote from Ziggy? Would the media hound Zimmer and how would he react to the coverage? Someday, Vikings fans may need to send Jimmy Haslam a thank you card, for now I will just stop by a Flying J next time I need a tank of gas.
It could have gone either way, it really could have! It has been interesting with the cultural interaction with the fans from the Card Chronicle, Bridgewater has a strong contingent group of fans that have followed him to the Vikings.