A funny thing happened yesterday during the first hour or so of the NFL Draft, specifically when the Tennessee Titans selected quarterback Marcus Mariota with the second overall pick. While the Titans spent much of the day surrounded by rumors of their trading out of the second spot, they ended up taking a player many teams were rumored to covet.
As soon as the selection was made, I took a look at how the Twitter world was reacting. Peppered throughout my timeline appeared to be various tweets at Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel. Among these were messages along the lines of “you can breathe now” or “congrats.”
Manziel, as you most likely remember, just exited rehab treatment deemed necessary after off-the-field issues destroyed his rookie season in Cleveland. Though he’s been at the team’s facilities for a few weeks now, his future with the Browns remained cloudy. Would the team draft a big name quarterback as a means to move on from Manziel? Or, would they pass on selecting a top QB prospect, seemingly letting Manziel know he was still a part of team strategy at the same time?
Well, based on how the first round went, you’re forced to lean towards the latter. Cleveland focused on the trenches, drafting defensive tackle Danny Shelton and offensive lineman Cameron Erving. No moves were made for Mariota, and Sam Bradford remains on the Philadelphia Eagles.
So, seeing as Mariota and Jameis Winston were not selected, and the remaining quarterbacks in the draft are all projects in their own ways, you can’t help but see this as Cleveland holding out hope for Manziel.