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BEREA, Ohio – It took three trades, but the Cleveland Browns finally grabbed Johnny Football.

Johnny Manziel slid down the draft board, out of the Top 10, out of the Top 20, until the Browns' first-year general manager Ray Farmer couldn't wait any longer.

The Browns sent pick No. 26 and a third-rounder to Philadelphia to take Manziel at No. 22. Manziel was the second quarterback selected Thursday night, 19 picks after the Jaguars took Blake Bortles at No. 3 in the draft's first surprise move.

That Manziel eventually wound up with the Browns wasn't a huge surprise – after all, wasn't it predicted by seemingly millions of mock drafts? – but how it happened surely was.

MANZIEL: QB slides to Browns

ANALYSIS: Fallout from the first round

Manziel spent an excruciating two and a half hours in the green room at Radio City Music hall before Drake's song "Draft Day" played and before Manziel could give his signature money hand sign.

With that third trade of the night, Browns fans, always optimistic but oh-so tortured, could start cheering the latest in a long line quarterbacks, hopeful that Manziel would finally be the one that would stick.

"Obviously, the team really wants to win, and wants to win now. I've been a winner everywhere that I've been. Whatever the situation may be, I'm going to work extremely hard to put myself in the best position to continue that trend of being a winner," Manziel said. "I hoped one team liked me, and it ended up being the Browns."

It was the move by the Jaguars to pick Bortles set in motion Cleveland's dizzying array of trades in Farmer's first draft as general manager.

VIDEO: Manziel recaps wild draft day

Johnny Manziel feels fortunate to be drafted by the Cleveland Browns despite some projections he'd be taken with an earlier pick.

First, Farmer accepted an offer from the Buffalo Bills to move down from No. 4 – an offer that came from Bills' general manager Doug Whaley as soon as Bortles went off the board and the Bills realized they could get wide receiver Sammy Watkins, a player Whaley said was "very, very, very high" on their board.

That first trade meant the Browns once again passed on the chance to use a Top 5 pick on a quarterback. The Browns have had six Top 5 picks since 1999 and only once selected a quarterback – Tim Couch in 1999, the year the franchise returned to Cleveland.

The Browns only briefly held onto pick No. 9, the pick they received from the Bills, before Farmer called in for his second trade: Moving up one spot to No. 8 to take Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert. That move cost just the swap from No. 9 to 8 and a fifth-round pick, and shows the influence of first-year head coach Mike Pettine, a longtime NFL defensive coordinator who previously coached Darrelle Revis with the Jets.

"Joe Haden. Justin Gilbert. Donte Whitner. I'm getting excited. I probably shouldn't go there," Farmer said. "We're excited about having corners we think can go out, play press, get after people and give us a chance to turn the ball over. We've improved our defense."

AWKWARD: Gilbert addresses Manziel

WATCH: Manziel makes grand entrance

Though the Gilbert pick might have led to some high fives in Farmer's war room, the Manziel pick was the one that has ignited a fan base so desperate for a winning quarterback. The Browns hosted a VIP party in the field house – a wine-and-cheese, suit-and-cocktail-dress affair – and the room exploded in cheers as soon as Roger Goodell read Manziel's name.

With apologies to All Pro tackle Joe Thomas, Haden and certainly quarterback Brian Hoyer, a Cleveland native who currently holds the top spot on the depth chart, Manziel might already be the Browns' most popular player without having gone through his first practice.

The Browns are already bracing themselves for intense interest that will come with Manziel, from media and from fans. Manziel was the biggest celebrity in the draft, with famous friends like the rapper Drake and LeBron James (yes, Cleveland's former favorite son) and former President George H.W. Bush.

WINNERS/LOSERS: What are Browns, Manziel?

BELL: Clowney ready to make QBs cry

But it's also part of what drew head coach Mike Pettine to Manziel. Pettine left the technical evaluation to his offensive staff, and dug into Manziel's persona, and what adding him to the roster might mean to his locker room.

What Pettine found in his meetings with Manziel here in Berea and in College Station, and what he learned by talking to those who knew Manziel at Texas A&M made Pettine put Manziel atop his quarterback rankings.

"What I evaluated with all the quarterbacks that we visited was the 'it' factor, the personality. I thought his is at an extreme level. It's to the point where it's really created 'Johnny Football,'" Pettine said. "The fact that he is all those things to an amazing degree – he's ultra-competitive, he's ultra-passionate; that he's a guy that he just finds a way."

Manziel will join a quarterback group that includes Hoyer, Alex Tanney, Vince Young and Tyler Thigpen. The Browns sent Hoyer a message late Thursday as soon as they decided to pick Manziel.

"His answer was about as you'd expect," Pettine said.

And that was for Manziel to bring his best shot once he joins his new teammates for offseason workouts this month.

"I'm going to work extremely hard to get what I want, and that's to win and be successful," Manziel said. "I feel like the forces and everything that's combining in Cleveland, we can be successful."

VIDEO: Day 1 recap

USA TODAY Sports' Jarrett Bell recaps the major stories in the start of an exciting draft, including why two position groups drew plenty of attention.

Farmer has to consider his first first-round a success – getting the top defensive back he coveted, the draft's most electrifying quarterback as well as additional first- and fourth-round pick in next year's draft. Cleveland also traded away a third- and fifth-round pick in the 2014 draft to get Gilbert and Manziel.

The Bills right now believe giving up the two future draft picks was worth it for Watkins – the player widely considered to be the top receiver in the draft.

"Very high cost," Whaley said. "We thought it was a calculated risk and a risk we were willing to take. The high costs not making the playoffs is something we weighed in and we thought this guy was going to get us to the playoffs."

Watkins, the Biletnikoff Award semifinalist, is an explosive, physical receiver with 101 catches for 1,464 yards and 12 touchdowns capping his final season at Clemson with a 16-catch performance in the Tigers' dramatic victory against Ohio State in the Orange Bowl. Whaley praised Watkins for playing bigger than a 6-foot receiver should.

The Bills are hoping that pairing Watkins with veteran receiver Stevie Johnson and versatile running back C.J. Spiller will help speed the development for quarterback E.J. Manuel, last year's first-round pick.

"We certainly are excited about what just happened. We went in to this draft saying we were going to be bold and we made a bold move," Whaley said.

Contributing: Jim Corbett in New York

PHOTOS: First-round picks in the NFL draft

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