& so it begins
Join Date: Sep 2005
The case for taking Manziel
One player in the 2014 NFL draft has the power to instantly transform an irrelevant franchise into a compelling one. Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel stands alone in that regard. He's the X factor in the top 10 selections, the player hard-core football people see "moving the needle" enough for a team owner to pressure his decision-makers into selecting Manziel with an early choice.
"It will be hard for some owners to not push," one general manager predicted.
"There are a couple of teams with the owner very much in play," a veteran agent said.
The Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders are two of those teams, and with Manziel, an owner might not need to push very hard, if at all, because the talent is obvious enough for some evaluators to fall in love with Manziel on their own. The case for drafting Manziel applies beyond Cleveland and Oakland, reaching teams with established and semi-established starters already in place. We'll take a harder look at those teams here. It's the most topical subject in the NFL, not just in the media but inside the league as well.
We should begin with the Houston Texans, because they have the first pick and their current quarterbacks, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Case Keenum, probably aren't long-term answers. For Houston, selecting Manziel over South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney would energize a Texans franchise that already possesses one of the game's most dominant defensive linemen. However, the feeling from nearly one month ago hasn't changed. The Texans will draft a quarterback, the pro thinking goes, but probably not Manziel and probably not with the first choice. The case for the Cleveland Browns ...the Browns could use the energy Manziel would infuse into their organization.
There's little reason to think the St. Louis Rams would use the second pick for a quarterback when they have obvious needs elsewhere and appear committed to Sam Bradford for this coming season. They'll draft a quarterback, most likely, but not with one of the two first-round picks in their possession. Taking a quarterback early would not make them better for 2014 in a hyper-competitive NFC West.
The teams picking third through fifth in the order -- the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland and Oakland -- need long-term solutions at quarterback. These are largely faceless franchises. They are not particularly marketable. Their owners are unestablished, which makes them less predictable. The Jaguars are the most stable operation of the three. League insiders put them into the "maybe" category when it comes to Manziel, with most thinking Jacksonville will go in another direction at No. 3.
The case for the Oakland Raiders The Raiders ranked last among NFL teams in attendance last season. Their stadium situation is a mess relative to the ones successful franchises enjoy. "The owner needs to sell tickets," the agent said. "Manziel would sell tickets."
The case for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ...The feeling here is that coach Lovie Smith would rather have a steady veteran presence at quarterback than a volatile youngster like Manziel.
The case for the Minnesota Vikings ...Blake Bortles or another more traditional quarterback could fit better if the Vikings decide to select one with the eighth overall choice.
The case for the Buffalo Bills ...the Bills aren't likely to draft a quarterback with the ninth overall pick.
The case for the Tennessee Titans ...a wide range of people in the league I've spoken with said they could see it as a possibility, albeit a longer shot.
The case for the Dallas Cowboys ...One particularly cynical line of thinking says Jones paid more than he needed to for Romo and was making a statement when he did so, and now he'll want to prove he was right by sticking with Romo.
The case for the New York Jets "You never know with the Jets," the agent said. "The owner, Woody Johnson, could get involved there, too."
The case for the Philadelphia Eagles Kelly recruited Manziel to Oregon (he verbally committed to the Ducks before ultimately choosing the Aggies), and he made some glowing comments about him recently. How could he not like Manziel for his offense? The fit would be perfect.
The case for the Cincinnati Bengals I suspect Manziel would be out of their comfort level and off the board well before Cincy seriously considers drafting for the position.
The case for the New England Patriots Manziel would be the ultimate project for coach Bill Belichick, who has done things his way.