Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel is flirting with the Browns and other quarterback-needy teams atop the NFL Draft just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Manziel told John McClain of the Houston Chronicle and Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram his dream is to be drafted No. 1 overall by the Houston Texans on May 8, but he’ll be determined to lead the Browns to glory if they end up selecting him instead. He even showed off his knowledge of the expansion-era Browns and the misery they have endured at the quarterback position.
“If something happens, and it's the Cleveland Browns, I'm going to pour my heart out for the Dawg Pound and try to win a Super Bowl for Cleveland,” said Manziel, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2012 as a redshirt freshman. “I don't care if they've had 20 starting quarterbacks since 1999. I'm going to be the 21st and the guy that brought them the Super Bowl.”
The Browns have the fourth overall pick. The Texans own the top spot, followed by the St. Louis Rams at No. 2 and the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 3.
The Texans and Jaguars are certainly in the market for a quarterback, so new Browns General Manager Ray Farmer might need to trade up if he wants Manziel. The Browns have ammunition to maneuver with 10 picks, including two in the first round. They netted the 26th overall selection by trading running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts in September.
Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Central Florida’s Blake Bortles and Fresno State’s Derek Carr are the other top-rated quarterbacks in this year’s draft class.
Manziel, of course, wants to separate himself from the rest.
“I want [the Texans] to say absolutely, without a doubt, with 100 percent certainty, that I'm who they want,” said Manziel, a native of Kerrville, Texas. “I want everybody from the janitor at Reliant Stadium to the front office executive assistant all the way up to [owner] Bob McNair to say, ‘This kid is 100 percent, can't miss. This is who we want being the face of our program. We want the Texas kid staying in Texas and leading the Texans.’”
Manziel realizes he’ll have plenty to prove at the NFL Scouting Combine, which will run Feb. 19-25 in Indianapolis. He has been at the center of controversies involving underage drinking, the NCAA investigating whether he accepted money for autographs and social media. Now he wants to convince decision-makers throughout the league that he’s has matured despite making what he describes as “goofball decisions.”
He wants them to know he’s trying to shed his “Johnny Football” persona.
“Johnny Football is the stuff you see on TMZ,” Manziel said. “There's part of that folktale that goes along with it and tries to twist me into somebody I'm not all the time. I feel like now there's kind of like this frozen food package – a prewrapped, precooked package of who I am.
“Johnny Manziel is the guy that -- whether it's Houston, Jacksonville, Cleveland or Oakland [which has the fifth overall pick] – you'll have to drag off that field before I stop playing for those guys. Those are my teammates. Those are my brothers from now on. I'm going to fight until there's no time left on the clock. That's Johnny Manziel.
“Football and family will always be the most important things in my life. The main thing for me is to play the game with a certain type of passion and a certain type of respect that football deserves. It's a humbling game. It can come and go at the drop of a hat.”
Manziel told the reporters from Texas that he expects to measure 6-foot and weigh about 210 pounds at the combine. And what he might lack in size he certainly makes up for in confidence.
“People can call me crazy, and it's not cockiness, [but] I'm going to put myself in [position] to win the Super Bowl every single year,” he said. “A 5-10 guy [Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson] just won the Super Bowl in his second year in the NFL. That's unreal. I want to be the first rookie to win the Super Bowl.”
And Manziel is entertaining the thought of pursuing that feat with the Browns.