As Cleveland Browns fans anxiously await the NFL Draft which begins May 8 in prime-time on ESPN and the NFL Network, Jon Gruden, color analyst for Monday Night Football offered his assessment of potential No. 1 picks and this year's quarterback class in a teleconference:
To me the first pick of the draft, the sure-fire Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, I don't know that that player is in this draft. You're dealing with more underclassmen than I can ever remember. If you're talking (Jadeveon) Clowney, (Johnny) Manziel, Sammy Watkins, even some of the underclassmen linemen, Greg Robinson. So it's a crapshoot. This is not a complete body of work to evaluate. You have to use your imagination, be able to see down the road a bit. There is no sure-fire, can't-miss No. 1 in anybody's world, but there are some great prospects.
The second part of your question, if there was one quarterback ready to come in and contribute right away, I think to me it's dependent on the organization and the team that you have. If you got a really bad team, I don't care who you bring in there, you're probably not going to be successful. I like a lot of quarterbacks. I've been accused of that. But I do think it's up to the organization to take the player at the position of quarterback and stay with them, train them, stay with them some more, help this young man develop and become a great player. It might not happen right away.
Three of the top guys are juniors. I don't think they're physically ready. I don't think they're far along mentally. I think they might be a work in progress for six months or a year. But I do like (Derek) Carr. I like the fifth-year seniors. I think Carr is going to come in and be further along than a lot of these (quarterbacks) because of his vast background, two different systems. I think he's got an excellent arm. I think he's been challenged from a protection standpoint. I like Aaron Murray from Georgia. I like (A.J.) McCarron. The fifth-year seniors will be the guys that are obviously most ready.
On Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M quarterback:
Well, he's developed from the standpoint of being on the field making quick decisions in the pocket, at the line of scrimmage, 95 to 98 snaps a game. He has no experience coming out of the huddle really, handling the pass protections, doing some of the things that you've seen some of the conventional pro quarterbacks do. It's going to be a huge adjustment for him. It might not happen for him by opening day.
But I'm convinced that he will learn it. He will excel at whatever you ask him to do. But, remember, he did redshirt at Texas A&M. Maybe he needs a redshirt year in pro football. I'm not going to say that's going to happen or that's a certainty. But it will be an adjustment for Manziel making the adjustment as a young player at this position at the next level. But I'm sure he can do it.