Browns Draft Day a Little Like ‘Draft Day’

Real Browns fans and players are as hopeful for the draft
as their 'Draft Day' counterparts.
Is it just me or does this NFL draft day feel a little like Draft Day for Browns fans?

Forgo the GM who fired his father (who promptly passed away), just found out his girlfriend/co-worker is pregnant, and whose job is on the line if he doesn’t make a big splash in the draft, and we’re looking at a lot of the same plot points.

On the board for Ray Farmer, general manager of the Browns and real-life counterpart to Draft Day’s Sonny Weaver (a Ray of Sonnyshine?), is a hot shot quarterback and star wide receiver. Every fan in Cleveland wants a hot shot quarterback - somewhere between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, and hopefully named Bernie. The front office, if you believe local and national media, has their eyes on a wide receiver with a little trouble in his past.

Sonny faced the same battle. He was enamored with the skills of defensive back Vontae Mack, who others felt was more trouble than he was worth. And after a questionable trade to get the No. 1 pick, the Cleveland faithful - including Browns owner Anthony Molina - expects Sonny to nab the alleged best player, hot shot quarterback Bo Callahan.

So for many of the same reasons, today real life is mimicking art. Debate rages as to whether the Browns should nab hot shot QB Johnny Manziel (who may be overrated) or reliable wide receiver Sammy Watkins.

But it’s more than that, too. The Browns may already have a reliable quarterback in Brian Hoyer. In the film, the fictional Browns also had a potentially reliable quarterback in Brian Drew. Drew was injured halfway through the season, which crushed the Browns hopes. Same goes for the real Browns’ Hoyer.

Then there’s Ray Jennings, the fictional running back whose father played for the Browns. A longshot choice for the on-screen Browns. The real team has its own longshot, too. He’s not legacy, but the name Mack is popular in Cleveland, so could Khalil Mack be on the Browns’ board? (And we won't even get into the similarities between this make and the celluloid version.)

Throw in a crafty, sometimes showy owner (Jimmy Haslam) and a new coach (Mike Pettine), and you start to see why today feels oddly similar to the silver screen.

Maybe that’s for good reason. The film Draft Day was written by Clevelander Rajiv Joseph, a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright who has told more than one reporter writing about the Browns was daunting because he was such a fan (he originally wrote the script with the Buffalo Bills as the team with draft issues).

And obviously the film was shot here - but last summer, before Hoyer’s emergence from the third string as a possible team leader. Before the unraveling of a promising season and sweeping regime change.

Is it possible Joseph was prescient about these Browns and this Draft Day? Could he see into the future of our team - his team - to know what 2014 would hold? I say anything's possible. We’ll know for sure later tonight, if Hoyer still leads the team as the starting quarterback. And if unexpected selections (Mack) are made at the last minute.

At the very least, expect more than a couple commentators to compare these Browns with their silver screen counterparts. And that the hope the film gives to fans rings true along the shores of Lake Erie as well.


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