In what is a very Cleveland-heavy Monday Morning Quarterback from Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, the long-time reporter reveals that Johnny Manziel’s workout with the Browns, just 19 days before the NFL Draft, was an absolute mess.
The Browns must have really loved the Manziel tape—because his workout with Cleveland brass 19 days before the draft was a mess. On Good Friday night, Browns coach Mike Pettine, GM Ray Farmer, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains went to dinner with Manziel and Burkhardt at a country club outside of College Station, near the Texas A&M campus. “We worked out 10 quarterbacks and ate with all with all of them,” Pettine said Saturday night. “That’s the only meal we didn’t pay for.” The workout was set for 8 a.m. Saturday morning, so the Clevelanders and Manziel could make it home comfortably for Easter. One problem: no receivers. So a high school buddy, Shanahan and Burkhardt—in jeans and sneakers—were the pass-catchers. After the workout, which included some clanks off Burkhardt’s hands, the agent said to Manziel: “I’ve seen you better.”
“I’d be better,” Manziel said with a laugh, “if you could catch.”
“One thing I liked about our meeting,” said Pettine. “We talked about being prepared to handle the pressure and the demands of being an NFL quarterback, and he told us, ‘I’m equipped to handle it. I think I’ve handled it already.’ I think he’s right.”
One day after being selected, Manziel came to Cleveland and received his very copy of the Browns’ playbook. Having a playbook will be different for Manziel, as Texas A&M didn’t give out playbooks—just weekly game plans. Alas, Manziel has reportedly been studying it as he prepares to compete with Brian Hoyer this summer.
Other notes from King’s column:
- The Browns were seconds away from turning in the card with Sammy Watkins’ name on it at No. 4. Ray Farmer stated that Justin Gilbert has just as big of a chance as being Patrick Peterson as Watkins does Randy Moss and that the team has no regrets on making the deal with Buffalo.
- King stated that Farmer’s draft, if the players turn out to be who they feel they’re getting, is “executive of the year” material. Check out this quote from Farmer on not getting a wide recevier: “I’ll be candid here. The real position to get a receiver would have been at 35, and we thought of it. There were receivers there we liked a lot. But we loved [Nevada tackle] Joel Bitonio at 35. He was clearly the highest-rated player for us then. Not another guy of his caliber, or even close, there. We stayed true to our board. Then we hoped one of the receivers we liked would have fallen to 71, but they were gone then. That’s the heartbreaking part of the draft. You like so many guys, and they get picked, and you say, ‘There goes another one.’ It hurts, but you can’t have everyone you want.”
- Manziel is already eying up the teams that passed on him as they appear on the Browns’ schedule. The only question will be if he’s going to be the one under center when they come to town.
(Photo: Adam Hunger/ USA Today)