If you watch sports, whether you love him or hate him, you probably have heard of Johnny “Football”. He’s brash, arrogant and a bit of a punk. Outwardly, he seems to be everything you don’t want in a player. I have to admit, I kind of dislike the guy. I watched his pro day, like many, on NFL Network. I wasn’t that impressed.
Until he sat down and talked with Mike Mayock and the NFL Network crew. He is charismatic and engaging. He says the right things. Is this the same guy that taunts the opposition? Pointing to the scoreboard or rubbing his fingers together? (hinting at a big payday?) Is this the guy who yelled, “Boom!” as he threw his last pass on his pro day? An interesting yet appropriate exclamation. Johnny Manziel will be one of two things: A boom or a bust.
He’s got a couple things on his side. Raw talent. Say what you want about the ’14 Quarterback class, there is only one Johnny Manziel. If he was a couple inches taller, he would be the #1 pick in the draft. He’s agile, mobile and hostile. He makes plays with his feet and that leads to some brilliant plays down the field. He also has 4 legitimate teams in dire need of a QB. Houston, Jacksonville, Cleveland and Minnesota. You can sprinkle probably a half dozen more teams that could use a difference maker. Tampa Bay is rumored to be shopping 2nd year QB Mike Glennon. They have veteran QB Josh McCown, but McCown is going to be 35 in July. McCown had a profound impact on Jay Cutler in the Quarterback room and in his personal life. He could do the same for a young Manziel. I’m not sure Manziel would be as receptive.
The other plus is the fact that it’s no longer that prohibitive to draft a QB in the first round in the new CBA. Teams actually want to draft a player in the first round to have an extra year of control at their price. This is where the cat and mouse game starts. I personally don’t think Manziel will drop out of the top 10. I think Jacksonville would be happy to get him at #3. However, they could trade down to a team interested in either Sammy Watkins or Khalil Mack.
That still leaves Cleveland at #4, Oakland at #5 (if Watkins and Mack are gone) and Minnesota at #8. Then there is the rumor that the Rams are kicking up dust on the polarizing QB prospect. If these rumors are true, teams might trade up to 11 or 12 to jump ahead of them. This all makes for some compelling draft day TV.
Like him or hate him, one thing is for sure: There is only one QB in this years draft with his ability. There is probably only one QB that might cost a GM his job too. That QB is Johnny Manziel and likely will be drafted in the top 12.