Thanks to the guys who covered everything that went on yesterday here for FoS. What an amazing night for the Cleveland Browns. Many fans who wanted Sammy Watkins, or offense in general, are disappointed. Many fans were not in love with Johnny Manziel at pick #4, and probably still aren’t happy with him at #22. I will get to some evaluation stuff in a bit but wanted to share my experiences from the night on my NFL Draft Day Trip.
If you are coming to the draft I strongly recommend getting shoes that won’t hurt your feet because you will be standing for quite awhile. After the 6 hours or so on Wednesday, last night was another couple of hours standing in line. This will sound sad, but I feel like I can share with you all, that I have been working out a bit more then usual preparing for the trip. Knowing I would be walking alot in the city and standing alot in lines. Think it helped.
The city was buzzing most of the day yesterday. Trucks with satellite dishes parked all around Radio City Music Hall and people milled around with a different energy from the day before. Because the NFL reported that all tickets were random on draft night, the first could be last and the last could be first, I chose to enjoy the day instead of standing in line for even more time. Seems like that promise was a lie. When I arrived at 4:30, doors were suppose to open around 6:40, I was about 2/3 of the way back of the line. Everyone in that area was seated near me. Everyone that was behind me in line were seated in the same area: the highest level. So not so honest of the NFL but still good view and 5 Browns fans were found right behind me. Total of about 15 Browns fans within talking distance, I was among friends.
Anticipation was high amongst fans. The NFL gives out radios so we could hear either the ESPN broadcast or the NFL Network broadcast live, very nice and helpful. The fans from all teams were buzzing, few had any clue what their teams were going to do. Most had an idea who they wouldn’t want their team to draft. The Browns fans above me were pretty level headed. They wanted a QB in the first round someplace, one really wanted Manziel, and didn’t want an offensive tackle at #4. There was a general trust in Ray Farmer.
When the trade happened it was nothing but positive responses from all the Browns fans. Even before finding out what they received, the fans knew the Browns made a good deal and many assumed that meant Manziel at #9. The trade up to #8 was confusing but added to the buzz around RCMH. The video below is short but you can hear anticipation, and a short groan before I stopped the video to high five people, that the Browns were going to pull the trigger:
People were a little shocked. Personally, for those who have read all my write ups running up to the draft, I thought the Browns would look to address defense in the first round, even with every fan telling me they needed offense. I didn’t think a defender would be the pick at #4, unless it was Jadeveon Clowney, but trading back to get a corner, something Pettine really needs for his system, made sense.
After the Browns pick almost every pick came with anticipation. One Dolphins fan next to me kept saying he wanted “Johnny” instead of Ryan Tannehill. The Cowboys fans hoped it wasn’t Manziel, but were unhappy with their selection anyways. Then trade buzz started circling. The Browns and other teams were looking to move up. For me if the Browns moved up for anyone, as proven with the Gilbert pick, they must really like the player. So if they moved up and took Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater or Derek Carr I would feel good about their belief in that player.
When the trade was announced over the PA system the energy of the place went through the roof. When the video below starts you can still hear the reverb a little bit as people quieted down to let Roger Goodell make the selection. It may not totally come through on the video but everyone was cheering. Not just Browns fans, everyone. Everyone threw their hands in the air, clapped, high fived or screamed. To have a whole audience of different teams’ fans chanting one guys name was something to experience, I doubt the video gives it credence:
And with that the draft was complete for the Browns fans around me. We hoped they might trade back into the first but to no avail. Of interest was that the fans in RCMH seemed deflated a few minutes after the pick. The Manziel drama and pick was the climax and the rest was dead quite. A good cheer for the trade and pick of Bridgewater ended the night solidly.
As we left the NFL scanned our badges and gave us wrist bands for the next night. I will be a VIP seat filler but got my badge just in case. You will find me down low tonight. In a Navy Blue pin stripe suit with a Orange dress shirt, blue striped tie and a light blue pocket square.
Forgetting about the actual picks the Browns made last night, how was your experience of the draft excitement?