2002 NFL Draft 1st Rd. QB Comps: Should Johnny Manziel Sit This Year?

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Jul 28, 2012; Albany, NY, USA; New York Giants quarterback David Carr (8) throws a pass during training camp at University Field at SUNY Albany. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns drafted Johnny Manziel in the first round of the NFL Draft. Since then the media frenzy around Manziel has been extreme, to say the least. Manziel will most likely always be a high attention player, for as long as he is in the NFL. Tim Tebow was such, but since being out of the league the news about him dried up quickly. The Browns have to hope that the same doesn’t happen for Manziel, or at least for the same reasons.

More importantly for Manziel and the Browns is how he develops on the field of play. Will Manziel be able to develop from the creative, spread offense college Heisman Trophy winner into a full fledged Franchise QB? How will his first off-season in the NFL system help him break down bad habits and create new ones that move him forward in his professional career.

The biggest obstacle between Manziel and the field may not be his development but incumbent starter Brian Hoyer. Hoyer hasn’t been a franchise QB in any of his 4 stops, that includes the Patriots, Cardinals, Steelers and now the Browns. Yet last year, in his limited time before getting injured, Hoyer showed the ability to make the right plays, with quick decision making, a solid arm and ability to make plays with his feet. Both Manziel and Hoyer are starting in a new offense under Kyle Shanahan, one in which their skill sets can be put to great use.

Today we are going to take a non-scientific, scientific approach to this question: Does the history of 1st round quarterbacks suggest that Manziel and the Browns would be best suited with him sitting for a year? We will start with the 1999 draft working are way up to last year’s draft.

We will look at every first round quarterback drafted since the Browns return, a season per page write up. We will note whether each QB started any games their rookie season. We will then give out grades for their rookie season, their first 3 seasons together and their entire career. Players who didn’t play during their rookie year and those who haven’t played in more then 3 full seasons will not be given a grade. Click any year below for previous posts:

1999 2000 2001

Those grades will then be averaged to get information that will help answer the question. A final writeup will complete the final analysis of all draft classes. Will QBs who started during their rookie years fare similar to those who sat for a season? Which group has the best 3 year grade? Career grade? Based on this system players like Peyton Manning also won’t ruin the curve with his superior grade. QBs will be given pure letter grades: A, B, C, D and F.

  • A = Franchise Guy during time frame reviewed.
  • B = Solid Starter
  • C = Easily Replaceable
  • D = Can Win a Game or Two But Team Looking For a Replacement
  • F = Pure Failure
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  • davewr58

    Manzell needs to sit and learn this year. He also needs a year to mature. Right now football is not #1 in his life and may never be. He’s a narcissistic, sophomoric college kid who has no idea of what is expected from a professional athlete and supposed “face of the franchise”. He needs to understand that thousands of young kids are watching his every move and are influenced by it. He needs to learn the playbook, but more so, he needs to realize that college is over and it’s time to grow up.

    • Jared Mueller

      I actually think, and wrote for FoS a few weeks ago, that Manziel is an all in guy. He goes all in on everything he does. Reports are he works his butt off during the season, practices, film study etc. Obviously TMZ tells us he plays his butt off as well.

      • davewr58

        I agree, but as a number of pros are pointing out, you can’t lead this type of lifestyle and be “all in” on football … it just doesn’t work. Plus, as a number of pros also have pointed out, JM is the “Face of the Browns” and the negative influence he will have on kids, the Browns organization and the city of Cleveland is not good. Posting pictures of himself drunk and using the “F” word (as he did yesterday) is a horrible example. Right now he is acting like a freshman in college, not an $8.25MM professional. He needs to clean up his act or he will self destruct. I hope he grows up quickly, but I have my doubts.

      • Kopernicus

        “Reports”? “Works his butt off DURING the season”? What are the sources of this?

        Obviously anyone picking up a sports page can read the almost daily account of him painting the town, flaunting money and having relations with inflatable pool toys.

        I remember no such stories about Peyton Manning, Tom Brady or most of the ‘elite’ QBs in the league today.

        I do remember stories about recent Browns draft picks though….

  • Sam Gold

    I think this article demonstrates, at least in part, how much football is a team game and no one player can make a bad team good. Carr and Harrington were both better than their rookie or final grades suggest. They were thrown in behind horrible lines and/or terrible teams and long before they ever had a chance to see the pro game slow down as they improved over the first three years (a common occurrence among successful QBs) they were mauled. Whether or not they would have succeeded if they had been on better teams is endlessly debatable but it is a rare QB with a successful career who was good on a bad team. The Brady’s and Manning’s now elevate the play of those around them but they didn’t out of the gate. They needed a good enough team around them to allow them to grow into the players they have become.

    If Johnny shows up in camp and plays as well as Griffin did in his first camp I can see them choosing to start him but I think it is the rare QB (specifically QB) who steps in as a rookie and succeeds, especially walking into Pitspuke. I think the chance for long term success is much greater letting him witness the speed and complexity of the game from the sidelines and in the film room behind a guy who learned behind one of the best and who demonstrated last year, albeit on a very small sample size, that he processed the speed and complexity of the game very well.

    We may be a good team this year. I think and hope we are a better team than last year. But regardless of our optimism the record says we have been a 4-12/5-11 team for six years and Vegas still sees us as a bad team and they are right more than they are wrong. Until we show differently let’s assume we are a bad team taking strides to get better. Johnny is projected to be the answer for a long time. Let’s not repeat what those previous teams did and throw our future franchise guy on the field to lead a bad team into Pittsburgh. Let’s see how we come together for a few games first. If someone is going to get beat up out of the gate I’d rather it be Hoyer. If Hoyer beats the odds and lights it up what a great problem for us to have this season, two good QB’s.

  • Sam Gold

    Also, thanks for putting together these quality articles during the barren wasteland that is the off season.

    • Jared Mueller

      Thanks Sam. I appreciate it. It is an interesting time during the off-season. Not a lot of news and viewership also goes down during the summer. I want to put out quality stuff without just rehashing junk. This series has been on my mind for years but hadn’t had the time in season to do it. Manziel and the summer became the perfect time. Thanks for your time.