The third installment of Todd McShay’s mock draft was published on Thursday morning and the Cleveland Browns find themselves once again linked to an old friend in Texas A&M Quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Manziel, who was described as the Browns’ darling prior to the elmination of Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi from the front office, had recently been bumped to the top of the pile, linked to the Houston Texans at the No. 1 spot. It appears that, for at least today, there’s a new hot name listed at No. 1 in Central Florida’s Blake Bortles, allowing Manziel to be available at No. 4 with the Browns’ first first-round selection.
Per ESPN.com’s McShay:
The mantra for the Browns is the same as for the Jaguars: take the best available QB. They’ll be pulling hard for Clowney and Robinson to be among the top three picks so they have some choices here, but in this scenario the only guy among our first round-worthy QBs is Manziel. I don’t know if he’s an ideal fit or if he’d be the Browns’ first choice, but I’m not worried about his size or arm strength as it relates to playing in cold weather. If I had to rank the top three QBs in terms of arm strength, I’d go Bridgewater, Manziel and Bortles, without much difference among the three. And Manziel’s 9 7/8-inch hands are plenty big enough to grip the ball in cold weather.
For what it’s worth, McShay has South Carolina’s Jadaveon Clowney as his No. 1 overall player and Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater as his top-ranked quarterback, each going second and third, respectively.
With Clemson’s Sammy Watkins and Texas A&M’s Mike Evans being selected fifth and 10th, respectively, the Browns are linked to Brandin Crooks, the 5-foot-9-inch wide recevier out of Oregon State at No. 26 overall. Crooks ran the fastest 40 time among receivers at the combine and his acceleration up the field right after the catch is elite. He would seemingly become the team’s No. 2 receiver opposite of Josh Gordon.
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