Cleveland Browns: Are They Trying to Mold Their Team After the Seattle Seahawks?

Joseph ZapataContributor IIIMay 22, 2014

Johnny Manziel (on the left) and Brian Hoyer (on the right) practicing at OTAs.
Johnny Manziel (on the left) and Brian Hoyer (on the right) practicing at OTAs.Associated Press

The Cleveland Browns almost broke the Internet when they traded up to draft Johnny Manziel with the 22nd pick.  Cleveland rejoiced, but Browns fans crashed back to reality.  Right before Day 2 of the NFL draft, it was reported by ESPN that Josh Gordon, the Browns' No. 1 receiver, might be suspended for the entire 2014-15 season. 

The franchise continued to upset its fans by not drafting a single receiver through all seven rounds.   Looking at the Cleveland Browns' roster, it's quite possible they could be modeling their team after the Seattle Seahawks.  Both teams have small, scrambling quarterbacks, decent running backs, no big-name receivers and a strong defense.  

They signed free agent Ben Tate and drafted Towson running back Terrance West.  Last season with the Houston Texans, Tate ran for 773 yards, averaging 4.3 yards per carry.  They also brought in veteran receivers Miles Austin and Earl Bennett.  Miles Austin struggled last year due to injuries, but from 2009 to 2012 he was very productive, averaging over seven touchdowns per season.   

According to ESPN, the Browns also signed their stud cornerback Joe Haden to a five-year contract extension worth $68 million. Haden becomes the highest-paid cornerback, surpassing the Seattle Seahawks' own Richard Sherman.

However, there are some differences.  Ben Tate is a decent running back, but he's certainly not Marshawn Lynch.   And the Browns defense was solid last year, ranking 9th (according to CBS Sports), but that’s not close to the Seattle Seahawks' No. 1 defense.  

Most importantly, we have no idea how Johnny Manziel will transfer to the NFL.  Johnny Football has had problems with accuracy and mechanics, attributes Russell Wilson possessed in college. 

It's even fair to say that no team in the NFL would have drafted Manziel in the first round if it was not for the success of Russell Wilson.  When Wilson played for Wisconsin, his only weakness was his height.  But after he led the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl, those doubts vanished.  His early success opened the door for other quarterbacks under six feet to be drafted in the early rounds.   

Whether they finish 16-0 or 0-16, all cameras will be pointed at Johnny Manziel and the Cleveland Browns.