NFL DRAFT NEWS and NOTES – JOHNNY MANZIEL

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?

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