Cleveland Plain Dealer Claims Browns Should Have Drafted Derek Carr


Derek Carr’s play as the best rookie quarterback through seven games of the 2014 NFL season has fanbases thinking “What if” when it comes to whether or not their team should have taken the Fresno State quarterback instead of the three names taken in the first round at the position in; Blake Bortles (Jacksonville Jaguars), Johnny Manziel (Cleveland Browns), and Teddy Bridgewater (Minnesota Vikings). Despite being unable to get his first career win, most consider Carr to be the most polished of the rookie quarterbacks and because of that some are wondering if their franchise made the right decision to pass up on the Fresno State prospect who put up eye popping numbers as a senior in the Mountain West.

No team is second guessing themselves more than the Cleveland Browns, who took risky prospect Johnny Manziel despite scouts concerns around how he would translate to the NFL as an undersized dual threat passer and his off the field distractions from his well documented antics at Texas A&M as well as during the lead up to the draft. Carr, a married man who has dedicated himself to being a professional football player, has succeeded as a starter from Week One while Manziel’s partying became a national storyline during training camp before he lost the starting job to Brian Hoyer before the start of the 2014 season in Cleveland.

Through eight weeks of their rookie season it appears one is headed on the path to superstar status in Carr while the other in Manziel is still waiting to get his shot at proving to Cleveland that he can be the quarterback of the future. Something that the Cleveland Plain Dealer examined when they looked at the Raiders top picks compared to the Browns, deeming that the Cleveland front office may come to regret not taking Carr when he was on the board in the first round as the Raiders second round pick progresses into what many feel is a franchise quarterback. A place Manziel cannot say he is at yet as there are plenty of unknowns surrounding Johnny Football at this stage of his career, making Carr seem like he would have been the better choice.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

"Johnny ManzielThe Browns chose the most hyped player in the draft at No. 22 overall. What do they have in Manziel? We don’t know yet as he’s played less than a handful of regular-season snaps in serving as Brian Hoyer’s apprentice.Pettine seemed hesitant to start a rookie quarterback and Manziel appeared unready as the calendar turned from August to September. Every move the kid makes is hyper-analyzed and easing into the league may be the best thing for Manziel long term.Hoyer hasn’t played as well in recent weeks after All Pro center Alex Mack broke his leg and the potent running game sputtered. But barring a Hoyer injury or a string of losses, Manziel likely will remain the backup. The big question is whether the Browns decide to commit to Hoyer, a free agent at season’s end.Manziel will get his chance eventually. The football world can’t wait to see what he makes of it.Derek CarrThe Raiders waited until the second round to take the Fresno product No. 36 overall. Carr didn’t have ESPN chronicling his every training-camp pass, but he’s emerged as the best rookie quarterback in the season’s first half despite not winning a game.He’s poised, strong-armed and processes the game quickly. Carr plays behind a mediocre offensive line and he lacks playmakers at the skill positions. He completed 34 of 54 passes for 328 yards and a garbage-time touchdown against the Browns. Overall, he’s registered nine TDs against just five interceptions with a 61.0 completion percentage.Will the Raiders surround him with talent before the league’s pass rushers start hammering him? Carr was sacked three times by the Browns’ Paul Kruger after suffering just four sacks in the first six weeks. Kruger thought the rookie was “spooked” by game’s end.Former league MVP Rich Gannon told the Raiders finally have their quarterback of the future and based on Sunday’s performance it’s hard to argue. The decision to take Manziel ahead of Carr might haunt the Browns, but again we’re only halfway through their rookie seasons."

How the career progression of both Carr and Manziel develops into the next few years going forward is anybody’s guess, but it is easy to see why the move from Cleveland to draft him could be second guessed. After all, Manziel’s size as well as his transition to the NFL was heavily discussed before the draft while most of the concerns around Carr surrounded a lack of competition in the Mountain West in addition to his older brother’s failed career with the Houston Texans. Blessed with the best arm strength in the 2014 Draft and a mature attitude Carr is building experience as a starter as well as expectations of a future franchise quarterback while Manziel is wondering if he will get his chance with the Browns. Maybe Carr wouldn’t have beaten Hoyer for the starting job just like Manziel, but Browns fans have to be wondering who they would rather have as a quarterback prospect halfway through 2014 when looking back at the draft.

You can read the full column comparing Browns/Raiders draft picks (Including comparisons to Khalil Mack/Justin Gilbert and Gabe Jackson/Joel Bitinio) at