Johnny Manziel waited and waited.
"He was paying for being a cocky a-----e," said one AFC scout.
And he waited.
"You guys in the media made him," said an NFC scout. "He's a media creation."
The Texans went with Super Freak. Blake Bortles went to the Jaguars at No. 3 in one of the great overreaches in recent draft history. Johnny waited. The Browns made two trades early in the night and still didn't draft Manziel. More waiting. More awkward looks into the camera. More drinking of the water. Then, Cleveland called.
It's Johnny Cleveland now, and God help him. He's going to need it. Because Manziel is doomed. He just entered the Bermuda Triangle of quarterbacks, a place littered with the carcasses of pass-throwers, dreams and broken souls.
Cleveland has started 20 quarterbacks since 1999, the most in the NFL, according to ESPN. The Browns currently have Brian Hoyer, Vince Young and Tyler Thigpen on their roster—a bum, a has-been and a nobody. Manziel will likely start at some point next season, and so will begin his trek into obliteration.
I don't believe in curses, but then you look at the list of quarterbacks that have started for Cleveland, and you have to believe someone needs to perform an exorcism: Ty Detmer, Tim Couch, Doug Pederson, Spergon Wynn, Kelly Holcomb, Jeff Garcia, Luke McCown, Trent Dilfer, Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson, Ken Dorsey, Brady Quinn, Bruce Gradkowski, Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace, Colt McCoy, Brandon Weeden, Jason Campbell, Thaddeus Lewis and Hoyer. That is a truly, um, remarkable list.
Quinn, Weeden and now Manziel were all picked at No. 22.
This doesn't mean just because the Browns have a terrible quarterback history, they always will. What it does mean is that to transform the Browns at quarterback, they need a John Elway-type player (sorry Browns fans), and Manziel isn't even close to that.
So what you will see is Manziel try to break the curse only to be added to the list of names who started and failed. The team's fortunes can change, just not now, just not with this player. He isn't good enough.
"I don't know a lot of people who trust him as a player or a person," said another scout.
Manziel was clearly shaken by what happened to him. Based on his face—the look of utter shock and disbelief—Manziel expected to go much earlier.
As he waited, #BeforeManzielGetsDrafted and #SadManziel were the top trends on Twitter. It's a cruel, cold world.
In many ways, this was a case of the NFL saying: We will draft a short Drew Brees. We will go for Russell Wilson…in the third round. But we will draw the line at Manziel. No way. We're not taking him high in the first.
And he waited.
The Titans passed. They have Jake Locker, who couldn't hit a mountain with a trombone. The Giants passed despite rumors from Jordan Raanan of NJ.com that they were interested in Manziel. More lies, it turns out. And Manziel waited.
The Rams passed. They have Sam Bradford, who has no playoff appearances and a career passer rating of 79. The Rams put on one of the best smokescreens of all time, leaking they were interested in Manziel, before revealing it was all garbage.
Then came the Dallas Cowboys.
What wasn't a smokescreen was Jerry Jones' interest in Manziel. Jones loved him, but unfortunately for Manziel, this was the year when Jones let his personnel men run the football ops. And Manziel waited.
He would join a short list of first-rounders who would have a long wait. Aaron Rodgers waited, and he turned out OK. Quinn waited too, and he didn't.
This is how insanely sad the Browns can be. ESPN told the story that owner Jimmy Haslam came across a homeless man who told Haslam to draft Manziel. Haslam said he knew then that fans would love Manziel. Just the fact that Haslam publicly repeated that story is extremely Brownsian.
I just can't see Bill Belichick saying, "Yeah, I ran into this dude. On the street. And he said, 'You gotta draft Tom Brady.' And I said, 'That's it! Brady! You're right, dude on the street!'"
Here we are again: the Browns drafting a quarterback. Manziel waited.
The Browns will keep waiting for a great pass-thrower. And waiting. And waiting some more.