After needing just two seasons to reshape the Falcons into the league’s most explosive offense, it’s easy to forget that in 2014, Kyle Shanahan was the Browns’ offensive coordinator.
As it turns out, that was also Johnny Manziel’s rookie season. And when it was over, Cleveland finished a respectable 7-9 but the offense ranked 29th in the league, according to Football Outsiders’ metrics. Manziel played in just five games that year, and nine more in 2015, but off-field issues led the Browns to release him last spring and he remains out of football. But Shanahan, who left Cleveland after one season — reportedly due to friction on the coaching staff — revealed this week that Manziel wasn’t among his top-rated quarterbacks heading into the 2014 NFL Draft.
“They had me look at every quarterback and evaluate every quarterback,” Shanahan said from Houston on Thursday, via Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot. “That’s everywhere. They ask you to evaluate everyone and you give grades and you tell people who you want and you wait to see what happens.”
So who were Shanahan’s top two favorites?
Jimmy Garoppolo of the Patriots and Derek Carr of the Raiders, both second-round picks. The Browns traded up to No. 22 to grab Manziel. Former general manager Ray Farmer took responsibility for selecting Manziel though owner Jimmy Haslam may have also had something to do with the decision.
Whatever the reason, Shanahan was overruled.
“I think people heard me, but the results weren’t there,” Shanahan said. “I think there were a lot of people who liked Garoppolo. There were other quarterbacks we liked, too. We put a board together. We rank every one. Then, the people who make the decisions, you have to wait and see what happens. As a coach, it’s like that at a lot of places. You have to deal with what happens.”
Meanwhile, Carr is one of the NFL’s best young quarterbacks, and the Patriots could trade Garoppolo in the coming weeks. Two other nuggets:
Shanahan, who will be the 49ers’ next coach, thinks Garoppolo is ready to be an NFL starter.
“It’s been a great deal for him I’m sure in the situation he is, being behind Tom [Brady], seeing how they do it,” Shanahan said. “I’m sure when he does get his opportunity whether it’s earlier this year in the two games he played or possibly next year, who knows what will happen — I’m sure he’ll be ready.”