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Monthly Archives: April 2014
After hearing from three very trusted NFL talent evaluators recently, I’ve come away with some info I didn’t have before, some info that changed my mind a little and some info that verified what I already knew. So today let’s give you the Intel that was shared with me on Blake Bortles.
From the various talent evaluators that I talked to they all pretty much said the same thing about Bortles, he’s not ready to play right now, but he may have the most upside and potential of any quarterback in this class.
Scouts and coaches love his size at 6’5-232 and his durability. They aren’t worried about him getting hit and knocked out of the game as much as they are with Manziel and Bridgewater and for Browns fans that would make him a good fit for the rugged and physical AFC North.
He also played in a pro-style offense or an NFL system at Central Florida, taking plenty of snaps from under center. He has some intangibles that team’s love like leadership, an underdog player who has worked hard to ascend over the years, he can extend a play with his underrated athleticism, but yet he will stand tall in the pocket and deliver the ball while taking a hit. He communicates well at the line of scrimmage and has good football intelligence. His arm strength and accuracy are good enough to play in the NFL, but not great.
What the evaluators I talked to don’t like about his game right now is a lack of pin point accuracy on deep balls and throwing behind receivers at times. His ball placement will have to be better to be successful at the NFL level. Some passes that he got away with, or completed in college, would be broken up by NFL defensive backs. Also while his arm strength is good enough to play in the NFL, it’s not considered a major plus for him right now. Some of that has to do with his lower body fundamentals as he tends to be more of an upper body thrower. He must work on his feet and legs to better his arm strength to get more zip on the ball. But with the right coach and not being rushed to play, my sources tell me those things can improve and if they do, again, he could be the best QB in this class.
Bortles is your prototypical drop back quarterback with some athleticism that could make him very dangerous in time at the NFL level. If you draft him you need to know that in order for him to evolve into the quarterback you want him to be, that you think he can be, he needs to sit at least a half a year to a year, before he’ll be ready to play on an every Sunday basis. If you have that patience and good coaching, Blake Bortles could pay off for you in a big way.
The Houston Texans would be a perfect fit for Bortles. He’s the type of quarterback that Bill O’Brien loves and dreams about and has worked with over his years in the NFL and in college, but can you afford to take him at number #1 overall? Probably not. But don’t be surprised if the Texans end up with Bortles somehow some way before the draft is over.
After hearing from three very trusted NFL talent evaluators recently, I’ve come away with some info I didn’t have before, some info that changed my mind a little and some info that verified what I already knew about some players. So today I give you the Intel that was shared with me on JOHNNY MANZIEL.
One source told me last year he wasn’t buying into the hype on “Johnny Football” but now he is after seeing him do it for two straight seasons and studying him more. He loved how he led his teammates and how those teammates wanted to play for him. He was successful in the toughest conference in the country for two years. Because of all of that he is buying into “Manziel Mania”. However, there are some stipulations.
My source told me he thinks Manziel can definitely be a starting quarterback in the NFL but he’s not for all 32 teams. It has to be for the right team, with the right coaches, in the right division and either indoors, or in a warm weather climate. That’s a bunch of “if’s”, but, if the right situation presented itself, he thinks Manziel could succeed. A team would have to shape its offense around him the way that teams like Seattle and New Orleans have done with their QB’s.
Jacksonville could be one of those teams. Why? The Jags pick at #3. They need a QB. The weather is good and the division is not considered one of the most physical in the NFL. Another fit could be Tampa Bay at #7. Are they sold on Mike Glennon? The weather and division they play in are conducive for Manziel. The wild card could be St. Louis! Yes the Rams already have Sam Bradford, but might Jeff Fisher and his staff be willing to go in a different direction? Could the Rams, who pick 2nd and 13th in the first round, shock the football world and go with Manziel at #2 or #13 and then look to deal Bradford for more draft picks. Remember the Rams play at least 8 games each year in a dome. Just something to think about as we try and figure out what team would be the right fit for the only freshman to win the Heisman trophy.
Why won’t take teams take a chance on Manziel high? What are the major concerns? The biggest one is with Manziel’s durability. Yes he never missed a game due to injury at Texas AM, but he did get beat up from taking too many hits. Multiply the force of those collegiate hits time ten with NFL players and GM’s wonder if his body can withstand the punishment and can he change the way he plays the game to avoid those hits? His size is also a concern at less than 6 feet tall. How will that affect him as he learns to stay in the pocket to try and make plays? Will his size also affect his ability to make cleaner reads from the pocket, so he can make plays from inside the pocket? His arm strength is good, but it’s not a howitzer and could be affected by windy, rainy, snowy and cold weather.
The one talent evaluator that I talked with feels that Manziel and the Browns are not a good fit because of the physical defenses and confusing defenses he would face in the AFC North, along with the November and December weather conditions in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Baltimore. Could he help the Browns get to 8-8 or maybe 9-7? Yes! But beyond that, probably not.
Again it goes back to finding the right fit for Manziel so he can succeed. But which team is that right fit for “Johnny Football” and is that team willing to go all in on a high risk, high reward player?
“It is shocking that anyone could hold the kind of offensive and feeble minded views that are being attributed allegedly to the Clippers owner, Donald Sterling. The diverse staff members of the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise are unified in encouraging Commissioner Silver and the NBA to respond with swift and appropriate action consistent with a strong zero tolerance approach to this type of reprehensible behavior.”
As the Browns begin workouts for the upcoming 2014 season, they now know who, when and where they are playing. They also think they know who their quarterback is for this year as Brian Hoyer is recovering from an ACL tear and looks to be on schedule to be the team’s starting signal caller on Sunday, September 7th in Pittsburgh.
But what if Hoyer has a setback and isn’t ready? Even if he is ready, is Hoyer the quarterback for the future? If not, who is? These are all questions that owner Jimmy Haslam, general manager Ray Farmer, head coach Mike Pettine and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan are asking themselves, and each other.
As the May 8th NFL Draft draws closer and closer, the Browns brass better have multiple plans to address their quarterback situation for the here and now, as well as for next year and beyond. With that in mind here are some options the Browns will consider as they try to find that franchise quarterback, or at least, a quarterback who they feel can lead this team for the next few years.
Option 1: Roll the dice and draft who you think the best quarterback is with the 4th overall pick in the draft. Your candidates would be Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Derek Carr or Teddy Bridgewater.
Roll the dice in a different way and pass on the QB at pick #4 and take the best player available, and then come back at #26 and take the best quarterback that is still left on your board.
Go with the best player available strategy again at pick #4 and then see how far some of these quarterbacks fall in the first round, and if the one you like continues to slide but you don’t think he’ll be there at #26, then make a trade to move up in the first round and get that guy. You have plenty of draft picks to use as trade chips.
Option 4: Really roll the dice and pass on taking a quarterback at all in round one, and then, with your 2nd round pick at #35, you finally select a QB from the guys that are left, and who is ranked highest on your board.
Wait until the later rounds and draft a quarterback that you think is a sleeper because of your personal information, private workouts and interviews.
Take the best player available at #4 and then wait and see what the Buccaneers do at pick #7. I had one source tell me the Bucs might have some interest in Johnny Manziel if he would fall to them at #7. If he does, and they select him, then you could inquire about whether or not Tampa might be willing to trade last year’s 3rd round pick, quarterback Mike Glennon who started 13 games for the Buccaneers last season, going (4-9) while throwing for over 2,600 yards with 19 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.
If you don’t really believe in any of the quarterbacks in this year’s class to be your franchise QB of the future, another trade possibility to look into would be with the Washington Redskins for Kirk Cousins. One source told me Washington realizes they’re probably going to lose him down the road to free agency and might be willing to deal him for a 2nd or 3rd round pick so they at least get something in return for him as opposed to him just walking away in free agency after 2015. Plus the Skins don’t have a first round pick this year due to the RG3 trade, so they are looking to add picks. Browns could offer a 3rd or a 4th for him, but not a 2nd.
Another potential trade target is Ryan Mallett of the New England Patriots. Mallett has learned under, and has been Tom Brady’s back up for three years. However the 6’6 – 245 pound signal caller has thrown just 4 NFL passes during the regular season. Bill Belichick made the decision to draft him in the 3rd round in 2011, but with Mallett set to become a free agent after this 2014 season, Belichick has to make another decision. Is Mallett the Pats quarterback of the future, or do they trade him and at least get a draft pick for him before he leaves through free agency at the end of this year? Mike Lombardi loved him and would have been working the phones with his buddy Belichick, but Lombardi is gone and now it’s Ray Farmer’s call. How much, if at all, does Farmer like Mallet, and what would the Browns be willing to give up in the draft to trade for him?
The Browns go with Brian Hoyer as their starter for 2014. Add veteran QB Rex Grossman as his back up in free agency and then use two of their ten draft picks at some point on quarterbacks they like and see if one or the other can develop into a starting quarterback.
Wait until after the 2014 season and go after a free agent quarterback during the 2015 off season. Potential candidates are Colin Kaepernick, Alex Smith, Andy Dalton, Ryan Mallet, T.J. Yates and you own Brian Hoyer. Maybe Hoyer proves this year that his performance last year wasn’t “fool’s gold” and you resign him as your starter.
If I was able to come up with ten legitimate quarterback options for the Browns as they approach this draft, I’m sure JH3 and the boys have at least ten more that I haven’t even thought of as they continue to search for the one thing that has eluded this organization since their return to the NFL in 1999, a franchise quarterback.
After hearing Browns G.M. Ray Farmer’s press conference from 4-28-14 add these two names as options for the Browns at quarterback – Vince Young and Tyler Thigpen will get tryouts with the Browns during minicamp this week.
1- Jadeveon Clowney DE South Carolina
2- Jake Mathews OT Texas AM
3- Sammy Watkins WR Clemson
4- Greg Robinson OT Auburn
5- Mike Evans WR Texas AM
6- Khalil Mack LB Buffalo
7- Darqueze Dennard CB Michigan State
8- Justin Gilbert CB Oklahoma State
9- Taylor Lewan OT Michigan
10- Blake Bortles QB Central Florida
11- Eric Ebron TE North Carolina
12- Anthony Barr LB UCLA
13- Aaron Donald DT Pitt
14- Zack Martin OG Notre Dame
15- Johnny Manziel QB Texas AM
16- C.J. Mosley LB Alabama
17- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix FS Alabama
18- Teddy Bridgewater QB Louisville
19- Odell Beckham Jr. WR LSU
20- Calvin Pryor FS Louisville
21- Timmy Jernigan DT Florida State
22- Jason Verrett CB TCU
23- Louis Nix III DT Notre Dame
24- Brandon Cooks WR Oregon State
25- Marqise Lee WR USC
26- Ryan Shazier LB Ohio State
27- Cyrus Kouandjio OT Alabama
28- Stephon Tuitt DE Notre Dame
29- Morgan Moses OT Virginia
30- Deone Bucannon SS Washington State
31- Xavier Su’a-Filo OG UCLA
32- Allen Robinson WR Penn State