2014 NFL Draft: 5 Teams That Could Be Targeting Johnny Manziel
5 Potential Suitors for the Texas A&M QB
It was inevitable.
Johnny Manziel has officially made the decision to declare for the 2014 NFL Draft, bringing his sensational college career at Texas A&M to a close. The next step in the process: finding out where the polarizing prospect will land on draft day.
While some draft analysts see Manziel as an early-first-round talent, others aren’t as high on the Aggies quarterback. Some have even gone as far as saying he’ll fall to the second round, while I believe he’ll land somewhere in the 10-15 range. Luckily for Manziel, the decision by Marcus Mariota to stay in school elevated his stock slightly in a draft full of quarterback-needy teams.
It’s not just Mariota’s decision that helped Manziel, though. The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner brings plenty to the field from the quarterback position. On top of an outstanding arm and a good feel for the position, he’s a tremendous athlete who is among the best in the nation at improvising and making plays with his feet.
There are still some concerns about his durability and ability to make all of the throws necessary to be an NFL quarterbacks. He’s been injured throughout the 2013 campaign, and still struggles at times to make big throws down the field. If he can make better decisions and learn to protect his body when he scrambles, though, there’s no reason to believe he can’t be a dynamic difference-maker at the next level.
Now back to the original question… Here’s a look at five teams that could seriously consider selecting Manziel when the 2014 NFL Draft finally rolls around.
Just about anything would be better than what they have at quarterback right now. Boasting the talent of Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman, the Vikings are in desperate need of a new starter under center. Considering their late-season wins pushed them a few spots down the first round, they might have to go for a passer like Manziel. Still, he’d bring a dynamic quality at quarterback they haven’t had in quite some time.
The Titans clearly aren’t happy with what they’ve seen from Jake Locker, and are ready to move on with a new starter under center. That’s where a player like Manziel comes in. He’s in the same mold as Locker, possessing similar athleticism, an above-average arm and even more improvisational skills. Unless he comes off the board before the Titans are on the clock, they’ll seriously consider the Aggies’ electrifying passer.
It’s become clear that Brandon Weeden was a bust, and the Browns have no reason to be comfortable with the other quarterbacks on their roster. Jason Campbell is nothing more than a stop-gap, and there’s no guarantee Brian Hoyer will be ready to go by the start of the 2013 campaign. Manziel would bring a different dimension to the Cleveland offense while giving them a reliable quarterback to throw to rising stars Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron.
While many teams are sold on Teddy Bridgewater, there’s a possibility the Texans might look elsewhere with the No. 1 overall pick. They clearly aren’t happy with Matt Schaub, and Case Keenum has a lot to learn before he’s ready to take the reins for good. Unless they opt to stick with Keenum long term, the Texans will find themselves a new quarterback. Manziel would be a local favorite in Houston, and has the talent to make an explosive Texans offense that much better.
As we saw throughout the 2013 campaign, the Raiders aren’t too comfortable with either Matt McGloin or Terrelle Pryor as their starting quarterback. Both of the youngsters struggled mightily in starting roles, and appear to be limited in terms of long-term value. That’s why the Raiders need to seriously consider finding themselves a new gunslinger. Manziel is a proven playmaker who would bring a whole new dimension to the Oakland offense.