“I don’t always drink beer, but when I do I get really fucked up and show up late to practice.” — Johnny Cerveza
Johnny Manziel, for everything that’s good and bad, may be the most interesting man in the world
Johnny Fucking Football: an interesting moniker given to a very interesting young man. Many have heard of the name before, and if you know anything about Johnny Manziel, then you either love him or you hate him — there is no in-between.
You either root for him or you root against him.
You’re either a fan or you’re a critic.
Johnny Manziel is in the headlines. He’s the lead story. He’s an ever-growing celebrity. He’s friends with superstars such as LeBron James and Drake. He’s the first freshman in NCAA history to win the prestigious Heisman Trophy Award. Johnny comes from money, as his father Paul is the grandson of an oil heir in Texas. His family lineage is colorful and interesting to say the least, having connections to illegal activities such as cock-fighting, fraud, match-fixing and cocaine trafficking, dating all the way back to the early 1920’s.
Crazy, isn’t it? Johnny’s family history is all public record. You can check it out for yourself here, as the colorful sports blog Deadspin wrote a compelling article about the Manziel family tree back in August of 2013, shortly after Johnny’s sudden rise to fame.
Just a month prior, there was Wright Thompson’s article for ESPN on good old Johnny Football, which grew legs and created a lot of buzz in the sports world. Thompson followed Johnny and his father Paul around for a while, getting inside access on the Manziel family, documenting the dynamic of their relationships along the way.
In this piece Thompson reveals many details of the struggles that Johnny endured following his Heisman Trophy acceptance, as well as the effect that his friends, family and parents had on him during this time. I’d rather not get into detail, so definitely click on the link above and check it out for further reading. However, I’d be remiss if I failed to mention that Johnny was close to a fall from grace after his memorable freshman season. Too close.
Although Manziel’s head certainly swelled, it did not crack. This 6-foot, 207-pound quarterback has a lot of small dog fight in him. Even though he’s considered small by NFL standards, size does not present issue for Johnny elsewhere. He has a big heart with huge confidence, is a big-time competitor, and a big-time playmaker as well. It’s also fair to presume that Johnny Football may be known as Johnny Dong amongst the ladies. To say that Johnny out-kicks his coverage would be a major understatement, as it appears that Johnny has no issue approaching the model-types.
Johnny does everything big, so it came as no surprise to me to see former US president George Bush Sr, his wife Barbara and their two dogs Luke and Dookie farting around on a golf cart during Johnny’s Pro Day. Like, holding his own Pro Day wasn’t big enough. No. Not for Johnny and A&M. “Johnny Day” needed more spotlight, hence the decision to workout in full pads and army fatigues. Johnny Manziel is a showman through-and-through. Now the question remains, did his showman ways and the circus-like settings at his pro day hurt his draft stock? Well, the answer to that depends on who you ask.
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley had this to say,
…I think that’s no different than how he’s performed all year, right? Perform under pressure….
That same sediment wasn’t expressed from the Minnesota Vikings organization. First year head coach Mike Zimmer was in attendance and he felt differently, saying,
…The huddles and the different things and the music. The sideshow stuff. It was a sideshow….
It’s a mixed bag of reviews for sure, and whether or not the “sideshow” stuff was enough of a distraction to turn off certain clubs remains to be seen. What is certain about Johnny’s Pro Day is that his performance on the field was terrific.
He displayed plenty of arm strength, throwing a tight ball with good velocity. Coaches wanted to see him display clean footwork and throwing mechanics as well, which he most certainly did.
Regardless of whether or not Johnny left a good impression on the coaches who were in attendance, he certainly didn’t shy away from showing them his true self. And that’s the kind of confidence that most coaches are looking for in their hunt for a franchise Qb.
However, there is something that coaches and G.M.’s cringe at when evaluating potential draft picks: skeletons in the closet — as Johnny definitely has a few of those.But that’s why they get paid the big bucks. It’s their job to dig deep and find out whats inside the dirt. From his peculiar family, to a recent alcohol dependency issue, to his less than ideal measurements and backyard wild-style play, Johnny Manziel has more than a few red flags inside his scouting profile.
So here’s the question: Which team will look past all of that and fall in love with Manziel’s potential? It only takes one team to fall for him.
The Johnny Manziel Effect
Below are my potential landing spots for Johnny Manziel. I applied deductive reasoning, tons of research, and common logic to help form my opinions on who is likely to walk down the aisle with Johnny, who is watching him from afar, and who has their eye on someone else.
A perfect fit
The Jacksonville Jaguars (the #3 overall pick) seem to be a good fit for Manziel, for a variety of reasons. Head coach Gus Bradley has a very refreshing, a very inspiring and energetic personality. His players love playing for him, and his coaches love coaching for him, with the unique environment that he creates as their leader.
Bradley hired Jed Fisch to run his offense. Fisch is a bright, young offensive mind who installed a very fast-tempo, no-huddle, spread offense with a predominately zone blocking running attack. His concepts and philosophies are very similar to those of Chip Kelly. My notion is, if you are going to draft Johnny Manziel then you better be willing to accept everything about him and welcome him with open arms.
Johnny ran a similar system last year at A&M. He would take to Fisch’s concepts like a fish to water, in my opinion.
The Jags have a good core of talent on their current roster. They have done well in free agency, addressing weaknesses and creating depth and competition at several key positions. They are young, fast, aggressive, and in need of a franchise quarterback in order to secure their identity.
Jacksonville, like everyone else in the AFC South, have been looking up at the Indianapolis Colts for too long. They must find a quarterback, and they cannot afford to miss with this pick. Owner Shad Khan is a flamboyant personality, so you can see why Manziel would look so good in a Jaguars uniform.
Khan hired David Caldwell as his general manager. Caldwell knows a thing or two about stability at the quarterback position, having playing a part in the Matt Ryan era in Atlanta, as well as spending time with Bill Polian and the Colts during the Peyton Manning years. Both Ryan and Manning are the epitome of what a franchise quarterback is all about — being a model citizen both on and off the field.
It’ll be verrrry interesting to see what Caldwell and staff decide on at #3, especially if the Texans pass on Blake Bortles, who is a good Qb prospect himself, and just may be higher than Manziel on Jacksonville’s draft board.
I believe that Manziel is a good fit in Jacksonville. There isn’t any pressure on Gus and staff to win immediately, so they can afford to root the franchise with Manziel, knowing that there’s a good chance of seeing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Manziel could run Fisch’s offense and look comfortable doing so, as the playbook and concepts suite his strengths.
Selecting Manziel at #3 takes a bit of courage, given the red flags and question marks, but that is the name of the game — nothing is reassuring when you are drafting a quarterback in the top 10.
If the Jaguars decide to pass on Manziel with the 3rd pick, new Browns G.M. Ray Farmer will be tested by fire with his very first selection as a general manager….. no pressure Ray. The heat will be on if Manziel is on the board when they pick at #4 overall.
Ray Farmer was promoted by owner Jimmy Haslam after an offseason of cleaning house. The previous regime were reportedly running a muck, confusing everyone on who’s job it was to do what. Now that there appears to be a of chain of command in place, the Browns are standing with both feet on solid ground, as they have two chances in the first round to add difference makers to their club.
Kyle Shanahan was hired to run the offense. I believe that he would be absolutely delighted if Farmer selected Johnny Manziel. Shanahan, the players, and the organization all really like Brian Hoyer. They are all rooting for him to succeed, but I would be surprised if they decided to pass on Manziel if he were available at #4.
I believe that Kyle’s experience in Washington with RGIII, and the success that they shared together in 2012, will provide Ray Farmer with more than enough confidence needed to select Manziel at #4.
Ultimately things fell apart in Washington, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Kyle failed. Last I checked, he was the OC and play-caller in 2012, when the offense was ultra-productive. I’m quite sure that Johnny Manziel would fit like a glove in Kyle’s zone-run offense, with all of the boot-legs and roll-out’s that he calls coming off of play-action. RGIII ran it well, but the knee injury placed a curse on their 2013 season.
Owner Jimmy Haslam has a fantastic opportunity to get the city of Cleveland back on his side, and back in the dog pound. Ray Farmer could make a potential legacy for himself by leapfrogging Jacksonville, and partnering up with St Louis at #2 in a trade.
By assuring themselves Johnny Manziel, they essentially assure themselves revenue, popularity with the fans, and probably a winning season in 2014. Or, is drafting Manziel just too risky a move for a first time general manager to forever be linked to?
As far as the Browns staff skipping out on Manziel’s pro day, I don’t think its much to write about. I find it interesting that Kyle’s father Mike deliberately skipped out on Jay Cutler’s pro day back in 2006, while with the Broncos. The Browns staff will hold a private workout for Manziel and do their best to play it coy.
Sorry, not interested
In my opinion, the Texans have it narrowed down to (3) options here:
- Jadeveon Clowney
- Blake Bortles
- Trade out, if possible.
The Texans have a pretty good nucleus on the defensive side of the football, everyone knows that. They have themselves a super-star player in J.J. Watt. They are holding out hope that 2012 first round pick (#26 overall), linebacker Whitney Mercilus turns into the edge rusher that they envisioned he would eventually become.
When healthy, Brian Cushing is one of the better Mike linebackers in football, and cornerback Jonathan Joseph is a skilled cover corner who is coming off of a poor 2013 season.
I’m not sure how much influence new head coach Bill O’Brien will have on this draft, but I’d have to imagine that he would like to root his system with a quarterback at #1. However, it’s ultimately GM Rick Smith’s call. Smith didn’t have a hand in the 2006 draft when they drafted Mario Williams, so that shouldn’t have any bearing on the direction of this pick.
Owner Bob McNair is a proud South Carolina alumnus, and he has already expressed his fondness of Jadeveon Clowney, stating to the media in January:
“He’s one of these players who’s a once in every 10 years kind of physical specimen that comes along, Mario Williams was that way. I think Clowney is actually a better athlete than Mario.”
Mercilus can get to the quarterback, that they do know. Can he be a full-time starter capable of living up to his lofty draft status?
Fellow linebacker and starter opposite Mercilus, Brooks Reed, is good player, but he isn’t an impact player, and may not factor into their future plans.
The defense is in rebuild mode right now, as Romeo Crennel was brought in to build it back up. Clowney and Mercilus, when combined with that polar bear wearing the #99 jersey, should certainly improve a Texans pass rush that produced a mere 32 sacks in 2013.
Recent draft rumors from the annual owners meeting have hinted that Houston was discussing the possibility of trading out of the first pick. This isn’t a big surprise, but is this rumor legit, or is it just a smoke screen? I believe that Bill O’Brien has Blake Bortles ranked as his #1 Qb prospect, but I don’t think that he’s jumping up and down on the table for him.
Although I believe that owner Bob McNair, GM Rick Smith and coach Bill O’Brien are all intrigued by Johnny Manziel as a talent, I just don’t see them having a serious discussion about taking him at #1.
It would be difficult for them to find a partner in a trade — especially one that could give them a fair deal in return — so I believe that the card they hand to Roger Goodell at the podium on Thursday, May 8th will have Jadeveon Clowney’s name on it.
The Texans have been looking up at the Colts as the perennial division winner for last last decade plus. For most of that time, it was Peyton Manning who was kicking their ass — now it’s Andrew Luck. Luck is big, fast and strong, and you gotta have some big, strong dogs to sick him…Clowney is a prized pit bull.
St Louis Rams:
With the #2 overall pick, the St Louis Rams are in familiar territory. The last time they owned the #2 overall pick, they jumped for joy over the deal that they struck with the Redskins in 2012.
The Redskins mortgaged their future in order to acquire Robert Griffin III. The Rams moved back from #2 to #6, then they acquired more picks in a deal with the Cowboys and moved down from #6 to #14, where they selected defensive tackle Michael Brockers.
It remains to be seen if they made the right moves or not, but there is no denying that they have added more depth and talent to the roster as a result of this trade.
With two first round picks this year, the Rams are in good position to draft for need, without feeling the pressure of selecting with a ‘best player available’ mentality at the #2 spot.
The Rams are littered with talent all across the roster. Some people just aren’t on the Sam Bradford train, and rightfully so — however I do genuinely believe that the Rams still are. I’d bet that they have their guard up given Bradford’s medical history, but not up far enough to pull the trigger on a quarterback with the second pick.
The Rams signed left tackle Jake Long to a 4-year deal in the 2013 offseason. Long suffered tears to his ACL and PCL in week 16 last year, so if the Rams want to find out if Bradford is their future quarterback or not, then they need to address this loss.
They kind of failed to, but kind of did address it when Roger Saffold resigned with the team in May. Saffold started in Long’s place at left tackle in the week 17 finale, plus he was the Rams starting left tackle prior to the Long signing.
I would argue that offensive tackle is the deepest position in this years draft. It’s the most talented tackle grouping that I’ve seen enter the draft in quite some time. I feel that Jeff Fisher and GM Les Snead would have no problem drafting a tackle, in fact, it is probably their preference. Because of the depth there, they could entertain a possible trade-out, but only if they could remain in the top 6.
If they stay, I say they draft Jake Mathews with a smile.
Most have them targeting Auburn’s Greg Robinson, which would be fine, but Mathews is the more polished, more versatile player of the two. They obviously have ties to Mathews, as his father Bruce was a Houston Oiler while Jeff Fisher was with the organization. It’s a safe pick.
If the Texans pass on Clowney with the first pick, the Rams would have to seriously contemplate whether or not Clowney is too good to pass on. Maybe then, teams below the Rams call up asking what it would take to strike a deal?
The Rams are in the drivers seat, that’s for sure. They could go in any number of directions and walk away pleased. I just don’t see Manziel as being one of those.
In case you haven’t heard, new Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer basically called Johnny Manziel a lying punk, piece of shit celebrity quarterback that lacks refinement and dedication to his craft…Not really, but it sounds funnier when you read it this way.
All jokes aside, I believe that Coach Zimmer was speaking from the heart, in regard to his thoughts on Manziel. Zimmer basically expressed concern over Johnny’s past, as well as his present, wondering if Johnny is too concerned with being in the celebrity limelight — which is something that I stand in agreement with.
Some will speculate on whether or not he was genuine with his comments, indicating a smoke-screen alert — but I’m not buying it. Zimmer is truly old-school and he coaches with a “bring your lunch pale to work,” eat-drink-sleep-and-breathe football mentality.
Not that Johnny isn’t that type of player, it just sounds like the Vikings believe that he isn’t that type of player — Mike Zimmer specifically.
I believe that the Vikings are in the market for a quarterback with the #8 pick, I just believe they have their eyes on a few other prospects not named Johnny Manziel. I’m sure OC Norv Turner would be smitten if Blake Bortles was still on the board, but he could be equally excited to see Derek Carr there also.
Lying in the weeds
It would be too obvious to point out the fact that the Raiders are in need of a franchise quarterback. I, for one, find the trade for Matt Schaub highly interesting. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I believe that there is still a good quarterback that lies inside of the shell that existed in Houston last year.
Here’re Matt’s 7-year splits as the starting Qb of the Houston Texans: 90.9 Qb rating, 258 pass yards per game, 65% completion percentage, 124 td/78 int
Yeah, these are just numbers, but we use this same method of arguing when we compare the likes of Peyton Manning to Tom Brady, so they must hold weight in Schaub’s case.
Here are the career pass completion percentage leaders in NFL History; Schaub ranks 9th All-Time! He’s in pretty good company, I’d say.
Matt didn’t play well last year, thats the truth; but that doesn’t automatically equate to “He’s done.” People assumed that Kurt Warner’s career was over after he miserably failed as a NY Giant, right? I’m not comparing Matt to Kurt here, just using Kurt’s career path as a frame of reference.
GM Reggie McKenzie has made the veteran signing his theme for the Oakland Raiders 2014 free agency period. By acquiring veterans like Justin Tuck, LaMarr Woodley, Antonio Smith, Carlos Rodgers, retaining Charles Woodson and Darren McFadden, and adding Matt Schaub, MJD and Donald Penn, the Raiders have a locker-room filled with much needed veteran leadership — something that you cannot place enough value on.
Although, it would make a ton of sense to draft a ready-made ticket seller in Johnny Manziel, if he were available, I’m not convinced that Reggie McKenzie and his staff are sold on Manziel. I believe that there is a level of interest on their part, I just wonder if McKenzie and his scouting department view Derek Carr and Blake Bortles as the better pro Qb prospects.
Now, the billion dollar question is on table: If they select a quarterback with the 5th overall pick, would they select Johnny Manziel no matter what?
It’s a fair question to ask.
The NFL desperately wants a team in Los Angeles. Roger Goodell obviously cannot force a city to relocate, but Raiders owner Mark Davis can. Taking over for his daddy isn’t an easy task, as he inherited a roster void of stars. Oakland fans are loyal to the end, but in the end only one thing matters in this game — and that is money.
LA is a huge market, and Mark is a business man.
In 2014, the Raiders will be playing out the final year of their lease at the Coliseum. They need a face for their franchise; a quarterback that can sell tickets and merchandising. They need someone to give their fans hope.
Johnny Manziel comes pre-packaged.
Winning, of course, helps matters — so it will be interesting to see the direction the Raiders go in if indeed Johnny is on the board when they draft at #5 overall. My mind tells me that, from a business standpoint, drafting Manziel makes a ton of sense. My gut tells me that all of these veteran acquisitions, specifically the trade for Matt Schaub, are indicators that Reggie McKenzie and staff are planning to win now while they groom a young signal caller for the future.
If the people inside of the organization believe that the Raiders can win now, why waste the 5th pick on a Qb that will ride pine, especially if you can draft a left tackle, a wide receiver or a pass-rusher that can help you immediately? The Raiders have many weaknesses to address, although quarterback is one of those, it’s also not their most pressing need.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Over the last several of years, the Buccaneers and Raiders have shared one thing in common … and that is, losing. Both are franchises that have been stuck in the mud since John Gruden’s departure from each of their organizations several of years ago. Success now seems to be around the corner for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the hiring of Lovie Smith.
Things appeared on the up-and-up for Tampa Bay in Greg Schiano’s 2012 rookie campaign, but they took a turn for the worst in 2013. As it turned out, Schiano was a ball-busting control freak, and he lost most of the vets in the locker room by season’s end as a result.
The Glazer family decided to clean house, firing GM Mark Domenik, as well as the coaching staff. Unlike the Raiders, however, the Bucs fan base haven’t provided the franchise with enough support over the last three or four years, as the Bucs have led the league in TV blackouts during that time frame.
With the hiring of Lovie Smith, the Glazers get an experienced winner. The Bucs have been aggressive in free agency, spending money freely, but spending it wisely on young talent. Talent is no longer the problem, so now it’s time for these Bucs players to shit or get off the pot.
I’m a big believer in Josh McCown. I personally love the signing. It makes a ton of sense, and he is a great fit for Jed Tedford’s offense with the pieces that are already in place. However, McCown will be turning 35 in July, and there appears to be little faith in Mike Glennon for their future plans.
The Bucs could very well take a ‘best player available’ approach with the 7th pick. They could trade down, or move up. Do they need a quarterback? I guess so, if their minds are made up on Glennon, that is.
Again, how many of these teams value Derek Carr over Johnny Manziel? I believe that many of the Qb-needy teams with selections in the top-ten do.
That’s just my opinion.
Reportedly, Tedford worked with Derek’s older brother, David, while David was at Fresno St. But I cannot find that connection, as Tedford was with Oregon, then Cal, at that time. I, personally, think that Tedford will like what he sees in Glennon, if the Bucs give him a chance to prove himself.
Tampa has held private workouts with Blake Bortles and Derek Carr, and have one scheduled with Manziel. Lovie and staff were in attendance for Manziel’s pro day and walked away very impressed, speaking highly of his performance. Ultimately, I believe the Bucs go elsewhere at #7, as they have other needs to address on the roster.
With the departure of Mike Williams (via trade), the Bucs now have an obvious glaring need at wide receiver. Texas A&M’s Mike Evans could still be there at #7, which would give the Bucs offense a physically imposing offensive identity when you pair Evans up with Vincent Jackson.
I’m not sure which scenario is more difficult for some to imagine: Johnny Manziel falling to #22 in the 1st round, or the Eagles drafting him if he’s there. After all, Chip Kelly’s first season as a pro went seamlessly well, and his fast-tempo offense and extraordinary practice methods exceeded all expectations. Media members wrote endless articles, and sports-talk radio guys held many debates on what type of quarterback was required to run a ‘Chip Kelly offense’ — with the overwhelming majority stressing the athletic Qb as Kelly’s preferred type.
After a heated Qb competition, Michael Vick was named the starter for the regular season. However, injury occurred and Nick Foles took the job from Vick, and he and Chip never looked back.
Nick’s name gained major relevance throughout the football world after his 7 td, 0 int performance at the Coliseum in Oakland. He placed his name in the history books with this performance, and his 27 td/2 int stat line at season’s end marked the single best touchdown-to-interception ratio for a quarterback in the regular season in NFL history.
The Eagles offense set team franchise marks in 2013, and running back LeSean McCoy set career and franchise highs in rushing.
DeSean Jackson had his best year as a pro, as did Riley Cooper.
When you examine the success of the 2013 Eagles offense, then you factor in the additions of Darren Sproles and Jeremy Maclin, it’s hard to imagine that the 2014 Eagles offense won’t continue to be a productive offensive machine.
The loss of DeSean Jackson will be felt, there’s no doubt about it. Jackson’s best quality was his presence, as he himself eliminated the possibility of a safety in the box. Jackson’s speed and playmaking ability cannot be measured, not even stats can quantify his value — but the offense will continue to be productive despite his absence.
Chip Kelly is a different cat. He doesn’t preach tempo and speed just because it’s a philosophy that he believes in — tempo and speed describes Chip best, it’s who he is. His thought process is fast, his way of speaking is fast. He believes in untraditional methods of mending your mind, body and soul and producing dedicated and focused football players from it.
I believe that Nick Foles understands what Chip expects from him, and is capable of running his offense efficiently. Nick’s talent is evident. The problem is, Nick does everything slow from an operational standpoint.
I’m a resident of Philadelphia, so I kept my focus on Chip and Nicks’ chemistry, and what I discovered is undeniable — they are the story of the Tortoise and the Hare…Nick is the tortoise, and Chip is the hare. Several of times I witnessed Chip waving his arm in a circling motion, trying to get Nick’s attention from the sideline, shouting to him …”LET’S GO, LET’S GO!”
There just seems to be a lack of natural chemistry between them. It seems forced from my point of view, there’s just no synergy.
This is not to say that they cannot develop what’s lacking in due time, but time is not on their side. Nick is entering the 3rd year of a 4-year rookie contract. Due to NFL rules, the Eagles cannot begin negotiating with Nick and his agent until the 2014 season begins. Ideally, they would love to get a new deal done ASAP, but Nick and his agent will wish to maximize every dollar, I’m sure.
I watched Nick battle the incumbent Michael Vick in the preseason. Nick played well enough to win the job, but he didn’t. It’s not as if he were two different quarterbacks from the preseason to the Oakland game.
Nick is talented. He has the intangibles that you look for. I just do not believe that Chip is married to him. With Jackson’s outside speed void of the lineup, Foles will now be forced to throw the ball into tighter windows, which is something he didn’t show much of last year.
Teams will play the Eagles offense differently in 2014. Defenses will be better prepared. They will put a safety in the box, game planing to stop the run, forcing the action on Nick to beat them with his arm and decision making.
The bottom line is, the pressure now lies on the shoulders of Nick Foles. His 27 td’s and 2 int stat line cannot be duplicated. He enters the 2014 season as the clear starter, with no real threat behind him. Sanchez and Barkley aren’t in the Eagles future plans, therefore there isn’t a ‘plan B’ if Foles shows signs of regression next year.
If there was one team, one coach, that defined what a perfect fit looks like for one Johnny Manziel, that team would be the Philadelphia Eagles — and that coach is Chip Kelly.
Kelly recruited Manziel, had him verbally commit to the Ducks in Eugene, only to see Johnny stay in Texas. Good thing Chip also recruited a kid from Hawaii named Marcus Mariota, which allowed Chip to forget about the crush he had on good old Johnny.
Chip recruited both Johnny and Marcus in the same year because he knows just how up and down young quarterbacks can be. Chip has a lot of control in the Eagles draft room. He has final say, and is in position to reignite old feelings.
Chip of all people knows just how uniquely special Johnny’s talents are. He understands that players with Johnny’s talents do not come by very often. Rarely, if ever, does an offensive minded coach get the opportunity to draft a quarterback who is a perfect match for his offense. Not many coaches can accept and appreciate Johnny’s style of play like Chip can.
If Johnny falls past the top 8 teams in round one, where arguably 6 of them are lacking a franchise Qb prospect, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Eagles strike a deal to move up to secure Manziel.
There is still a real possibility that Manziel just falls to them at #22. Either way, I just don’t see a player who projects to be available to them at #22 that presents more value to the Eagles roster than Manziel would.
The Eagles have their weaknesses. They need to improve their pass rush, they need a cornerback, they need a safety, and of course, they need to replace DeSean Jackson’s speed in the lineup. Unless Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin, or Odell Beckham Jr somehow falls to them at #22, I don’t see a player of greater value being available if Manziel is on the board when they select.
This is one of the deepest and most talented draft classes in recent memory, with wide receiver being as deep or deeper than ever. Securing Manziel presents immense value to the Eagles roster, even if Foles shows continued improvement in 2014. Teams are always looking for a quarterback. If the Eagles select Manziel, they would have two talented Qb’s on the roster competing to be the apple of Chips’ eye, with the loser representing excellent trade value.
St Louis Rams (#13-pick):
The St Louis Rams have a lot of buying power.I believe that they stay pat at #2 overall, but even if they move down, it won’t be very far. They will land an impact player with their first pick.
With the #13 pick, I believe that head coach Jeff Fisher and GM Les Snead will field all phone calls for the pick. It would make a ton of sense in the long term for them to proceed with this approach in mind.
Although the fully loaded rookie contracts have shrank considerably in dollar size, the Rams still need to move down if they plan on retaining some of their core players when their contracts are up — players like quarterback Sam Bradford and defensive end Robert Quinn for example.
Bradford is under contract through 2015, but will count for nearly $17 million against the cap under his current deal. I imagine that Les Snead would prefer to shred the current contract and resign him to a more cap friendly deal. Regardless, both players will cost them a pretty penny to retain.
The Rams can afford to move down from #13 and still acquire a talented player at a more affordable price, since the depth and quality of talent in this years draft crop is so rich. This is an ideal landing spot for the Philadelphia Eagles if Johnny Manziel is still the board in my opinion. I believe a trade partner can be had in St Louis. Maybe the Rams like Johnny Manziel and feel his value is too good to pass on at #13. Who knows?
Bradford only has two full 16 game seasons on his resume, with injury railroading him in two seasons as well. The Rams believe in him, but they certainly aren’t counting on him. They have never brought in competition at quarterback during Bradford’s tenure either.
Is now the time?
Only Snead and Fisher know the answer to that.
The Rams have a talented roster, yet they are staring up at everyone else in the division. They are competing against young, athletic Qb’s in Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson four times a year. I can’t imagine that the thought of giving these guys a taste of their own medicine doesn’t sound appealing, with Johnny Manziel in a Rams uniform.
I can’t get a good read on the Rams, but it just seems that they want to give Sam Bradford another chance to prove himself worthy of being their franchise Qb — which leads me to believe that their phones will be busy on Thursday night, the 8th of May, especially if Manziel falls past the Qb hungry teams that are selecting in the top 10.
I know: The Cowboys … Really?!!?
Well, although it appears to be an unlikely scenario, given Tony Romo’s dense 6-year contract — one that keeps him a Cowboy through 2019 — we all know that ANYTHING is possible in Jerry’s World.
Jerry first expressed interest in Johnny Manziel during the NFL Scouting Combine back in February, as he and his Cowboy coaching staff were just one of several of teams that spoke privately with Manziel.
Jerry wasn’t shy about telling the media just how big of a fan he is of Johnny Manziel. With one statement, Jerry tells the media:
“We have Tony Romo, and Tony Romo is our ticket.”
Yet he also had this to say regarding Johnny’s draft stock:
“We’ll never see him. We couldn’t get there if we traded 3 drafts to get him.”
It’s all very telling. Check out the full article here if you like. Like I said, anything is possible in Jerry’s World. Jerry obviously feels strongly that Johnny will be long gone by the time the Cowboys are on the clock at #16.
If Jerry knew all of the answers, then surely he would have more rings and trophies in his office. But Jerry doesn’t know everything. So do I believe that he would pull the trigger on Manziel if he fell into the Cowboys lap with the 16th pick? Absolutely.
Tony is coming off of back surgery, and although I believe the injury he sustained is minor, back injuries are difficult to trust. Tony could be forever harnessed by this injury. Back surgery is generally more unsuccessful than it is successful. Who knows?
Sure, there is a ton of money still owed to Tony, I just don’t believe that this would hinder Jerry from pulling the trigger on a player that he’s excited over, especially when that player is a Qb that shares Jerry’s Texas grass roots…and especially when that Qb falls into his lap at #16.
The problem with that is, I don’t believe that Johnny will fall to #16.
I think that Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman would sooner take turns blowing each other before they allowed Johnny Manziel to just walk into Arlington.
Could you imagine that? Not the Chip and Howie blowing each other part, the Manziel with a star on his helmet part.
I think that Chip and Howie already have imagined it, and are prepared to leapfrog the Cowboys if need be. If I’m wrong, and Johnny were to slide in the draft and land in Jerry’s World, then the Eagles would not only have to deal with DeSean Jackson twice a year, but also JFF.
Chip Kelly has insinuated that his system, and his culture is more important in the grand scheme of things than any one player is or could be, so maybe moving up isn’t in the cards — even if it means that the talented Johnny Manziel lands within the division.
This is all merely a guessing game, an educated guessing game at that, but none-the-less a guessing game.
The Final Word
Johnny Manziel is as polarizing an athlete that I have ever scouted. His persona is larger than life. He’s a celebrity, though he claims he never wanted to be one. He sleeps with beautiful women and parties with Drake. Manziel has stumbled into the limelight and has made some mistakes along the way, showing a human side that we can all relate to.
Johnny’s exciting style of play is pure entertainment. His unique combination of athleticism and instincts are rare, and he is just now scratching the surface as a passer. I, personally, am a believer in Johnny Manziel’s talent. I believe that with hard work and dedication to his craft, he will achieve success at the next level — despite his less than ideal height and build. Some think he’s too short, that he won’t be able to see over the line — a hog-wash theory that’s been disproven time and time again.
Some feel his small frame won’t hold up in the big boy league, as injury will occur when his reckless scrambling crosses the paths of larger men. Others like myself feel that Manziel could be the modern day Steve Young — a tough, smart, instinctive, accurate passer who has a unique ability to overcome the odds and lead men to victory. No one knows who’s right, and who’s wrong in this feud, but no matter what side of the fence you’re on, there is one thing that’s undeniable regarding Johnny Football …
He is the most interesting man in the world!