Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
If swinging for the fences is cool, consider Buffalo, Cleveland and New England to be Miles Davis.
It’s tough to win in sports at the highest level without taking some risks. Executives in Cleveland, New England and Buffalo agree.
The Bills swapped picks with the Browns and gave up first- and fourth-rounders in 2015 to get Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins, whom just about everyone considers to be a true difference-maker. Buffalo QB EJ Manuel still has a lot to prove, and the team isn’t exactly knocking on the Super Bowl’s door, but it’s hard to fault the Bills for aggressively pursuing the draft’s top playmaker.
Similarly, Cleveland and New England went with upside over the sure thing. The Browns moved up to No. 22 to grab Johnny Manziel. He is small (5’11”, 207 pounds) and an active runner—two traits that have helped keep exactly zero NFL quarterbacks healthy in the past. And answer this question: Is his passing in the pocket strong enough if you ask him to scrap his running ways?
Regardless, if Johnny Football manages to answer these questions, his upside is tremendous.
Finally, New England drafted Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley, who has had significant operations on both knees. The Patriots were willing to take the risk, however. They know that, when healthy last season, he was the best defensive player in college football. If the Florida product avoids injury, New England landed a top-10 talent with the 29th pick.