Bengals News

AFC North Positional Rankings: Quarterback

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Jun 16, 2015; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) during minicamp at the Cleveland Browns practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

4. Cleveland Browns

Starter: Johnny Manziel

Backup: Josh McCown

The Cleveland Browns’ quarterback conundrum has been a focal point of the team’s issues in the 21st century. Since 2000, Cleveland has drafted seven quarterbacks, none of whom have started all 16 games in a single season. Tim Couch was the last Brown to start all 16 games, back in 2001 when he led Cleveland to a 7-9 record.

And the last Browns quarterback to start all 16 games in a season was Brian Sipe, who last accomplished the feat in the 1980 and 1981 seasons. It’s safe to say that the Browns have had the worst quarterback luck out of any team in the NFL. But with Johnny Manziel, Cleveland has a new hope.

Johnny Manziel is far from an elite quarterback, but he has the skill set to be a successful football player. Manziel is dangerous as a passer and a runner, as evidenced in his dominant college career at Texas A&M, where he won the Heisman Trophy in 2012.

Jun 16, 2015; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) during minicamp at the Cleveland Browns practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Manziel, however, is still unproven at the NFL level and has as much potential to fail as he has to succeed. In Manziel’s three NFL starts, the Browns were outscored 23-73; his worst outing was a 0-30 shutout against the Cincinnati Bengals in which he threw two interceptions and finished the game with a passer rating of 27.3.

And although Manziel scored a rushing touchdown against the Buffalo Bills (his lone bright play), he also fumbled the ball in the same game and only averages 3.2 yards per carry in his five NFL games. In terms of passing, Johnny Football has been much worse. He has yet to throw a touchdown pass in 35 attempts, has barely completed over 50 percent of his passes and has a dismal passer rating of 42.0.

Manziel has potential, but he’ll have to prove it come this season to be remembered as more than a standout college quarterback who never panned out in the pros. (Tim Tebow, anyone?)

And Manziel’s position as a starter isn’t even guaranteed. Although Cleveland would be smart to start Manziel regardless of what happens during training camp, it seems as though the team will force Manziel to compete and hope that he beats out journeyman backup Josh McCown for the starting job. Maybe this competition will help Manziel develop as a quarterback, but for now, he’s still the worst starting quarterback in the AFC North.

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