The NFL Draft won’t start until May 8, but the Browns have already been linked to Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel countless times through various reports.
The general narrative is something along these lines: Although the Browns don’t have a head coach yet, the front office is infatuated with Manziel and plans to target him with the fourth overall pick.
But what if one of the teams selecting ahead of the Browns – the Houston Texans (No. 1 overall pick), St. Louis Rams (No. 2) or Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 3) -- wants Manziel? Or what if another team makes a trade to leapfrog the Browns because it’s targeting Manziel?
Well, if the Browns think Manziel won’t be available at No. 4, they would obviously need to trade up if they really do want him and the rumblings are more than just smoke screens.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported today, citing unnamed sources, that the Browns “are willing to trade up to land Johnny Manziel in the draft if need be.”
Browns CEO Joe Banner is known to be aggressive when it comes to trading, and the team certainly has ammunition if it wants to maneuver. The Browns have 10 draft picks, including seven in the first four rounds. In addition to the fourth overall selection, they have another first-round choice, No. 26 overall, which they netted by trading running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts in September.
Earlier this month, Texans owner Bob McNair made it known he’s open to trading the No. 1 overall pick.
“Maybe we’ll trade down and still get a quarterback that can do the job and get an outstanding defensive player,” McNair said, according to ESPN.com. “It’s an exciting time. Everything’s a moving target. Lot of different pieces.”