2014 NFL Draft: 5 Teams That Could Draft Johnny Manziel
There might not be a more polarizing player in the 2014 NFL Draft than Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. While Johnny Football has taken over the college football world over the past two years, some remain down on Manziel’s ability and/or Prima donna persona.
From his size or arm strength to hanging out with Drake and LeBron James, there seem to be a laundry list of reasons for NFL GM’s to take a pass come the first round of this May’s draft. ESPN talking heads Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski are two big names that have been loud in their uneasiness about Manziel at the next level, while few can safely say what kind of player he’s going to be in the NFL, regardless of their stance.
With that being said, there is absolutely no denying Manziel’s athletic and play-making ability. Former NFL head coach and current ESPN analyst Jon Gruden openly admitted Manziel has some obstacles, but also declared that height is not going to be a problem for Manziel at the next level.
If that’s the case, Manziel should be seen as a first round prospect. And even with numerous teams at the top of the draft in round one possibly wanting to wait, the possibility of Johnny Football taking over day one of the 2014 NFL Draft still exists.
All that’s left until the picks actually come raining down is trying to figure out where Manziel could go. Using a bit of logic and current buzz, here are Manziel’s five most likely suitors:
Houston holds the number one pick and needs a quarterback, so naturally they should top the list. Experts suggest Blake Bortles or Teddy Bridgwater are safer picks under center, while we also can’t rule out the Texans simply grabbing the best talent available, which appears to be defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
Houston has gotten by on mediocrity from the quarterback position long enough. If they’re finally willing to aim high, they’ll take a gander at Manziel.
Blaine Gabbert was a swing and a miss and Chad Henne is simply a bridge to Jacksonville’s next franchise passer. That could be Manziel, as he provides elite talent and would seemingly ignite an increasingly disinterested fan base. More importantly, he’d open up a stagnant and predictable Jaguars offense. Sitting at number three overall, the Jags will also have to consider home grown talent Blake Bortles.
Manziel could (and probably should) be gone by the time the Raiders are on the clock, but would there be a better fit in pro football? Manziel looks like a modern day Broadway Joe and short of going to the Big Apple itself, Manziel’s Twitter-induced personality and gunslinger mentality on the field give off a very Raiders feel.
GM Reggie McKenzie and his front office pals might be on their last leg in Oakland, so making an “all or nothing” splash on Manziel could be a sign of desperation or the gutsy move that keeps them employed for the next decade.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay just signed journeyman passer Josh McCown to start over second-year quarterback Mike Glennon. Translation: new head coach Lovie Smith doesn’t like Glennon and he’ll be looking for his next quarterback. We don’t really know what Smith thinks about Manziel, but with few gaping holes on his roster, Smith could have the luxury to take a chance. At the very least, it’d free him up to dispose of the erratic Glennon.
The Browns would normally be at the very top of this list, but with recent whispers about their love for Fresno State passer Derek Carr, the buzz about Manziel going to Cleveland is starting to die down. Still, the Browns have two picks in the first round and at least initially in the draft process appeared to be very interested in drafting him.
If the love for Carr is somehow a smokescreen, Manziel could still be in play here. After all, we can’t rule anything out when we’re talking about the Browns, and they do in fact need a quarterback. Manziel could still be that guy.
Deciding on where Manziel goes in this year’s draft is going to come down to two things: where you value him and where you think NFL teams value him. If Manziel is your top quarterback, he has to be a very legit option to go #1 overall. If he’s a flash in the pan, perhaps he slides out of the first round, altogether.
Regardless of where he might rank, Manziel at least offers some real upside and the possibility of being a franchise savior. That’s something all of the above five teams will have to think about when drafting on May 8th.
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