It comes as no surprise that Johnny Manziel’s name would come up somewhat among teams outside the playoffs; but no one ever thought he would still be the hottest commodity while the NFL playoffs are taking place. While true that some may find it hard to understand why Johnny’s name keeps coming up, side by side with the likes of the Quarterbacks playing in their respective Conference Championships, others see the value in not wasting time. Teams that aren’t fighting for the Lombardi trophy need something to talk about, too.
It has been projected that at least five out of the top ten teams in 2014’s upcoming draft will take a look at a Quarterback for their organization’s future. A few NFL draft experts and insiders, like Mel Kiper Jr., have Johnny ‘Football’ Manziel being selected with the number one pick in the draft. A few others project him to be a top five pick. At any rate, he is a hot commodity that is being talked about despite the NFL playoffs being played.
The Houston Texans hold the number one pick in the draft. Ever-so-conveniently, Manziel is a Texas native. The Texans have thrown out a lot of what the NFL calls “smoke screens.” The game involves commenting and hinting on multiple directions they may go, but not giving a clear answer of what intentions they have.
Bob McNair, the Texans’ owner, has been quoted as saying that they may trade down in the draft. A week or so later, Bob McNair then praised defensive standout Jedeveon Clowney as being a “once-in-a-lifetime” player. Houston may be hinting around and completely avoiding the Quarterback question, whether as misdirection or indecision. The other teams picking in the top five have not been as shy. The Cleveland Browns have had multiple sources report that their front office is extremely high on Manziel, and would welcome the idea to build their franchise around the former Heisman winner.
As the game of “chicken” that is the NFL Draft approaches, reports may change hundreds of times about who teams may select when the time comes. When Manziel’s name is able to grab headlines over the likes of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, it may say something about the near future and how NFL executives view him. All questions about intentions and plans will be answered by coaching staffs come draft day. In the meantime, though, when many scouts sit down to speak to Manziel one-on-one and study his game tape, it is the quarterback who will have questions to answer. Will he stay in the pocket? Is he coachable? Will he cause off-the-field distractions? Can he lead a franchise? These are just a few.
When investing a top pick into a quarterback, teams are doing more than just picking up a talented player. The quarterback is the face of the franchise; the image presented to the NFL fans. The man under center will be the most scrutinized when the team is headed in the wrong direction. It is a big decision. The Texan native will be hard pressed to prove himself to all the critics and NFL teams that interview him. With his collection of accolades, however, as a reference if he needs them.
He was the first freshman quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy, the Manning Award, and the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award. He was the first freshman quarterback to throw for over 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards. There are the two bowl games he won as a starter, as well. There was the Cotton Bowl against the University of Oklahoma where he rushed for a record 229 yards and combined for four touchdowns. In addition, this year Manziel rallied the troops in a come back win over Duke in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, combining for a total of five touchdowns.
There may be many questions and concerns about Johnny football, but it is proven that he is a gamer. Johnny proved it over the year, and became the clutch Quarterback all NFL teams interested wanted to see in the last college football game he will ever play. Manziel may not have the biggest frame or the best mechanics coming out of the draft, but the way he plays the game, and the gamer mentality he could bring every Sunday, has certain NFL Executives drooling over his potential. With a history like that, he has become one of the hottest commodities in the sports world as of right now. The Manziel watch has officially started, even before the playoffs have finished.
by Justin Huffman