Farmer: Browns won't hesitate to draft first-round QB


Browns general manager Ray Farmer hasn't given up on Johnny Manziel, but he's heard enough sweet talk from his first-round passer.

"I would tell you that the words don't mean anything. I'm not a big word guy. It's all about action," Farmer told reporters Tuesday. "That's really where we're at, and that's for everybody. I think that's what all of our players and coaches and staff and everybody associated with this organization want to see. That's what our fans want to see. It's about action."

Manziel capped seven super-shaky quarters on the field with Saturday's team-imposed fine for missing treatment.

Owner Jimmy Haslam noted after Sunday's loss to Baltimore that the Browns still have to "figure out" their quarterback situation, which coach Mike Pettine later called "muddy."

Asked if the team would hesitate to draft another first-round passer, Farmer said Monday, point blank: "I would not."

The GM, though, still believes Manziel can make good on the tidal wave of hype that trails him constantly.

"I do think he can develop into a solid starter in this league, yes," said Farmer. "I think that the sample size available is like you said, small. I'd say to that end, we all gotta be patient. I think there's an opportunity for the guy to make changes. It's up to him if he's going to make those changes, but I think the talent is in his body to accomplish that."

Asked if a "solid starter" was enough in the NFL, Farmer argued that only a handful of teams are gifted with more.

"I don't know how many elite starters exist. In my mind I'd say there's no more than maybe four or five in the league at any one point in time," Farmer said. "If that's the case, then the vast majority of the league plays with guys that are not elite starters. That classification in my mind is a very small class, when you use the word 'elite.'"

Top-tier passers are rare in the NFL and even more so in Cleveland, where the notion of franchise savior continues to remain the stuff of fantasy by the shores of Lake Erie.

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