Yes. I believe that the Cleveland Browns will probably draft Johnny Manziel number one in the 2014 NFL draft, and the Browns will hire a creative offensive-minded coach who will attempt to install a college style offense. And no, none of this is a particularly good idea.
I've been reading stuff from Peter King (NFL.com) and Scott Sargent (Waiting for Next Year), which to me has the ring of truth to it. They think that Haslam and Banner like the pistol-read-option style of offense and want a running qb. Rob Chudzinski and Turner were against blowing up the current offense and starting over with a college style offense, which is one reason that Chud was let go, and Turner will certainly follow.
It looks like Jimmy Haslam will be a hand-on owner and he wants to control the first round draft selection as well as a compatible coach. Last year the Browns thought about hiring the innovative controversial Chip Kelly out of college to coach the team, but the Eagles made a better offer. The Eagles went from 4-12 to 10-6 in one year, and Nick Foles emerged as a star quarterback. This stung Banner, who came from the Eagles organization, as well as Haslam.
Johnny Manziel is already being photoshopped into a Browns uniform.
Lombardi was the one connected with Chudzinski. Hence Lombardi stock is down with Haslam right now. That is one reason I don't believe the rumors about Josh McDaniels coming to Cleveland. Lombardi would like that because it would make him look good if McDaniels could help Brian Hoyer become the starting quarterback (Hoyer and McDaniels worked together at New England). But that is not what Banner wants, nor Haslam, and Haslam writes the checks. So I tend to disbelieve the rumors about McDaniels, Whisenhunt or any of the defensive coordinators. All those rumors probably come from Lombardi, who is definitely not calling the shots.
Sometimes you can get the feeling that Lombardi is kind of left out.
Haslam and Banner are dying for someone to tell them that the pistol-read-option will work in the NFL, and that all they need is the right quarterback (Manziel). They need someone experienced at designing plays for, say, Seattle or San Francisco. That's why even Adam Gase, the 35 year old Offensive Coordinator for the high flying Denver Broncos, is not a clear fit to what Haslam and Banner want. Gase has done a great job working with Peyton Manning who of course is a pocket passer and not an option guy.
The uncertainty in the Head Coach would be greatly reduced if the Browns could be certain that Johhny Manziel would be quarterbacking the team next year, rather than Hoyer or Campbell. Hoyer and Campbell have the support of Lombardi, but not Banner and Haslam. That's why I tend to believe the reports that the Stooges will explore the possibility of trading up for Manziel, since the other quarterback studs in the draft (Bortles, Carr, Bridgewater) are pocket passers and not great runners. The Houston Texans will seek a deal like the Redskins gave for the opportunity to draft Robert Griffin III (namely three number one picks, including the second overall pick this year). The Browns could do it, since they have two number one picks this year.
Manziel will certainly be able to perform in the NFL, though I have my doubts whether he is really a top 5 guy. He has the record, and the speed but he is only 205 pounds and is considered a good but not great passer at this point. Similarly, the other guys have talent, but maybe not elite talent. Any of them could make it, but I look at them as late-first-round, early-second-round guys and not necessarily the next John Elway. And I think there are guys like Zack Mettenburg, A. J. McCarron, or Jimmy Garoppolo that might be worth a flyer later on in the draft.
For the record, I don't expect the new quarterback to exceed 2013's passing totals, with over 4000 yards passing and 20 INTs. 2014 will be much worse if there is a rookie quarterback trying to sling the ball all over the ballyard. I don't view any of the prospects as truly worthy of being picked in the top 10 of the first round. Normally, such guys have size, speed, arm strength and a college record to back it up.
This is especially true if the Browns continue to trim the overall payroll. My guess is that until the rebate scandal at Pilot Flying J is fully resolved (like, is Haslam going to get indicted or not?), the Browns will continue to underspend the salary cap. At the same time, free agents will avoid the Browns and their losing reputation.
Of course, if the Browns fail to improve their pass blocking and running game, whoever they install at quarterback will likely be crushed like a grape. Browns quarterbacks were knocked out of the game four times last year.
But bad teams are always willing to believe that a new quarterback and a new coach will solve all their problems.