In a large piece that examines whether Johnny Manziel has what it takes to be an NFL quarterback — much of it in comparison to Teddy Bridgewater — Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman starts with this:
It was a few days after Johnny Manziel had imploded like a dying star against the Cincinnati Bengals, completing 10 passes for 80 yards and throwing two picks—one of the worst first starts for a quarterback in recent NFL history. Many things led to that moment, and Browns players knew the Manziel meltdown was approaching. Some were starting to think his on-field issues went beyond his apparent disdain for studying and practicing his craft. There was something else. Something simpler. Something bigger.
Some players believed Manziel wasn’t good enough to play in the NFL. It wasn’t solely the work ethic or the partying, but a dramatic talent deficit. In the wake of that disastrous start against the Bengals, a Browns player remembers a brief conversation he had with a teammate. “Think about where we’d be now,” the player recalled telling a teammate, “if we had drafted Teddy Bridgewater.“
Now, it’s important to remember that Manziel has only played a handful of games in the NFL and that there are plenty of people rushing to give opinions about him. But it’s also undeniable that 1) Bridgewater completely outclassed him in every phase of the game as a rookie and 2) It might be another franchise, and not to one in Minnesota, left to lament a what-if personnel move for a change.
Because Cleveland could have had Bridgewater. Mock drafts suggested the Browns were going to take him. Instead, they opted for Manziel and the Vikings got Teddy. The rest is brief history for now, with many interesting chapters yet to be written.