Will the St. Louis Rams take Johnny Manziel and part ways with Sam Bradford? That is the rumor swirling around Rams general manager Les Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher. If Charley Casserly of the NFL Network is right, then Manziel better hope so. Casserly contends the Rams are Manziel’s only chance of going in the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night.
Casserly referred to the Rams as the “wild card” when it comes to Manziel and his chances of being drafted in the first round. If this is the case, that would likely mean Bradford, just four years removed from the No. 1 overall draft choice for the Rams, is on the move. The rumor mill is already in overdrive with Bradford reportedly going to the Minnesota Vikings should the Rams draft Manziel.
The Rams hold a lot of cards in the 2014 NFL draft and could be orchestrating all the drama that surrounds Manziel come Thursday. St. Louis currently owns two of the top 13 picks, with the No. 2 overall choice coming via the Washington Redskins from the Robert Griffin III trade and their own pick at 13. So Snead could have two opportunities to land Manziel within the first couple hours of Roger Goodell’s television show Thursday night.
Do the Rams take Manziel? – Where there is smoke there is fire, and the closer it gets to Thursday night, the smokier the scene is in St. Louis. Besides Casserly’s comments, the rumors of Bradford moving to Minnesota certainly raise suspicions about Manziel’s landing spot. Casserly mentioned off field concerns as the reason most teams are pushing the Texas A&M quarterback down on their draft boards. However, if the Rams have given up on the idea of Bradford staying healthy, then the Manziel scenario begins to make more sense. Owner Stan Kroenke has long been rumored to moving this franchise to Los Angeles. What better person to make the face of the franchise in Hollywood than Manziel? The guy is a natural in Los Angeles and if he turns out to be a pro bowl caliber quarterback he would have a chance to be the biggest professional football star the city of Los Angeles has ever seen.
Even if Kroenke is not angling to move his team, consider the Rams are one of the very few NFL teams that play second fiddle in their own city to another pro sports team. The baseball Cardinals own St. Louis. Manziel, at least, gives them a chance to change the landscape in St. Louis.
Who do the Rams take if not Manziel? – If this is the case, then there are two likely scenarios that develop and they both involve Bradford. The first possiblity would be taking Auburn left tackle Greg Robinson, the best offensive lineman in the draft and someone who keeps Bradford healthy. Robinson is one of the best left tackle prospects the NFL has seen in recent years and if the Rams are going all in on Bradford, it would make sense they protect him as much as they can.
The other scenario would be taking Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins and giving Bradford an elite weapon to work with. With the exception of quarterbacks, Watkins was the best skill player in the college football last season. He has great hands, has Jerry Rice type speed, and has a nose for the end zone. The Rams could not go wrong with Robinson or Watkins.
So how does the drama unfold? Do the Rams draft Manziel or build around Bradford? These are the questions that get general managers hired and fired. There is a lot of momentum in the rumor mill pertaining to a potential Rams pick of Manziel. If the Rams do not pick Johnny Football come Thursday night they have duped a whole lot of people.
Commentary By Mick Varner
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the St. Louis Rams