Jacksonville Jaguars: Johnny Manziel Wouldn't Be Worst First-Round Pick

By Kevin Major
Johnny Manziel
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars are in a prime position to land one of the best players in the 2014 NFL Draft. With the third overall pick, the Jaguars are projected to select either Khalil Mack or Sammy Watkins. Mack, a versatile defensive player, could play either end or outside linebacker for Jacksonville. Watkins, touted as the number one wide receiver in the draft, would add a big-play threat to a Jaguars offense that ranked dead last in points scored last season. At pick number three, it is highly likely that one of these two players will be available.

However, the Jaguars could very well go off-script and select a player outside of the Mack-Watkins combo. One possibility is drafting Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. Manziel is the wildcard of this year’s draft. He has been rumored to go anywhere from number one overall to late in the first round. He is also considered by scouts to be a boom-or-bust player, meaning he will either be a star in the league or end up as a career backup. Still, with a need for a new face of the organization and some sort of spark to get fans in the stands, the Jaguars may be willing to take a risk on Johnny Football.

Quarterback Chad Henne signed a two-year contract extension with Jacksonville this offseason. Despite this new deal, Henne has failed to prove he can be the long-term solution at quarterback for the Jaguars. If Jacksonville drafts Manziel, he would have the opportunity to compete for the starting job from day one.

Manziel certainly put up the stats of a top-three pick. In his final season for the Aggies, Manziel threw for 4,114 yards and 37 touchdowns. While some scouts believe Manziel’s numbers were the product of Texas A&M’s fast-pace, spread offense, Manziel has demonstrated the requisite arm strength and accuracy to be able to succeed in a pro-style offense.

Furthermore, Manziel has the ability to make impact plays with his legs. He rushed for 30 touchdowns and over 2,000 yards in his two college seasons. In the NFL, Manziel will likely have significantly fewer designed run plays called for him. Still, his ability to extend plays with his legs can benefit him in the passing game, allowing his receivers more time to break free from coverage.

Whatever team lands Johnny Football will be the talk of the draft. For a Jacksonville team that has failed to generate any sort of buzz over the past few years, this is not a bad thing. In the end, the Jaguars may even end up with a franchise quarterback.

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