The Cleveland Browns know that Draft Day was a fictional movie, right?
Forgive us for detouring into the world of the NFL Draft, but the events that unfolded last night in Radio City Music Hall so closely resembled the plot of Ivan Reitman’s recent football drama Draft Day that you could have assumed Kevin Costner actually WAS in the war room of the Cleveland Browns, manipulating fellow owners and cranking out ludicrous trades to get the franchise player he coveted all along.
The Cleveland Browns entered the NFL Draft holding the No. 4 overall pick. Not quite the coveted No. 1 pick – as was written into Reitman’s Draft Day script -- but still a high-value selection. The team traded it with the Buffalo Bills in an effort to move down the board… just like what happened to Kevin Costner in Draft Day.
The Browns weren’t finished, though. As the first round of the NFL Draft played out, Cleveland pulled off a second trade, this time moving from the No, 9 slot (which they got from Buffalo) to slide up to No. 8. Sly maneuvering, Mr. Costner. You played on the weak will of a rival owner to jump up one slot and get the player sitting on the top of your Draft board. What a night!
Wait, the Cleveland Browns weren’t done? Didn’t you see Draft Day? There’s always room for more wheeling and dealing when other teams are on the clock. As the final picks in the NFL Draft’s first round started coming off the board, up-and-coming Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel – a recruit known as "Johnny Football"– remained in the green room, waiting for his name to be called. Surely, the Cleveland Browns didn’t have enough firepower – enough Hollywood magic – to make this happy ending come true.
And yet, they did. Cleveland pulled the trigger on its third trade of the day, landed "Johnny Football," and completed what felt like a true-life version of Ivan Reitman’sDraft Day. And it was glorious to watch!
Bill Livingston, columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, wrote this morning:
Sonny Weaver Jr., the wheeler-dealer of a Browns general manager of the movie Draft Day, met his match in [Browns General Manager Ray] Farmer. The Browns seemed to hopscotch all over the draft board in the first round, but the payoff was the most enigmatic, electrifying, polarizing and exciting quarterback on the board."
You could almost envision Kevin Costner, with that grin, looking down at the roster of players he’d somehow managed to pull on Draft Day. It’s amazing when life imitates art so closely. And as this Tweet best summarized:
Kevin Costner's somewhere holding up a folded piece of paper reading "JOHNNY FOOTBALL NO MATTER WHAT"#DraftDay— Russell Hainline (@RussellHFilm) May 9, 2014