The Vikings had Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel rated almost identically on their draft boards, and it seems the team wanted to have one of the two in purple by the end of the draft’s first round.
Cleveland picked Manziel, so the Vikings traded up to go and get Bridgewater.
But according to one report, those names were very close to being swapped.
The Cleveland Browns had Teddy Bridgewater’s name written down on their draft card, according to ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi, but changed the pick with 10 seconds left on the clock at the behest of owner Jimmy Haslam.
It seems Haslam may have overruled his general manager in the interest of getting one of the draft’s most exciting players. It certainly hasn’t hurt Haslam’s box office either, as Browns season ticket sales have gone through the roof since Thursday.
Browns head coach Mike Pettine denied the report, claiming it was ” beyond laughable.”
The Browns did engineer a “expensive and thorough analytics study” according to reports, and the study reportedly pegged Bridgewater as the quarterback with the best chance to succeed in this draft class. It’s curious that the Browns ended up going against their own study if those reports are true, but the study could have just been an elaborate pre-draft smokescreen.
Another factor that could have swayed the Brown’s decision makers to Manziel may have been his willingness to even play in Cleveland. While Bridgewater has said multiple times that Minnesota was his top destination leading up to the draft, Bridgewater said on the Dan Patrick Show today that he told his agent he didn’t want to end up in Cleveland.
Could Teddy’s agent have voiced his client’s non-enthusiasm with Cleveland, causing the Browns to go elsewhere at quarterback? It’s possible, but just like the pre-draft process it can be almost impossible to tell what’s true and what’s not post-draft.
The bottom line is that no matter how they ended up getting there, Manziel is in Cleveland and Bridgewater is in Minnesota. Their paths there may have been more twisted than previously thought, but all that matters now is how the two move forward.
And since the Browns and the Vikings appeared to have narrowed their choices down to these two quarterbacks when the clock started ticking, how their two careers compare could be analyzed for years to come.