2014 NFL Draft: Where Could Johnny Manziel End Up?
Is it the slightest bit of irony that A.J. McCarron and Johnny Manziel were roommates at the PeytonManningPassingAcademy? Both players are so different in their styles and yet so equally hard to pinpoint in terms of their draft stock. Looking ahead, what are some teams that might pull the trigger on the Texas A&M star?
This not only makes sense from a scheme point of view, but also a revenue one as well. Always a team fighting to maintain their foothold in the Texas football fan base, the Houston Texans could bring in a lot of interest and money by taking Manziel. On top of that Gary Kubiak has worked well with mobile quarterbacks in the past as he’s done this season with Case Keenum. The solid offensive line play would feel familiar to Manziel, and throwing to Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins might make his transition that much quicker.
Head coach Rob Chudzinski has a long, successful history with quarterbacks. He turned Derek Anderson into a Pro Bowlers. He launched the career of Cam Newton and has worked some of his best magic for the Cleveland Browns, first with Brian Hoyer and recently with veteran journeyman Jason Campbell. One might imagine what he could do if he got a young quarterback with dual threat capability like Johnny Manziel. Though not as physically big as Newton, Chudzinski could use his mobility to great effect as well as his underrated ability to throw the football.
The Jake Locker experiment keeps running into road blocks and the fans have grown tired of it. After such a promising start to 2013, two unfortunate injuries ended the season for Locker, putting his future and that of his coaches in doubt for next season. The Tennessee Titans may look to make a fresh start. Much will depend on who their next head coach is, but Manziel is well known in Tennessee and might get over with the fans. However, considering he is a lot like Locker in terms of style there is reason to think that won’t happen.
Chip Kelly loves to create competition, especially at the quarterback position. Why else would he have drafted Matt Barkley back in April when he already had Michael Vick and Nick Foles? During his days at Oregon, Kelly loved dual threat quarterbacks who could run but also throw the football when needed. There are a lot of things he could do with the innovative and competitive Manziel. The question becomes will Foles have the starting job locked up by then?
One thing to note about what make Johnny Manziel so special heading into the 2014 NFL draft is his uncanny knack for improvisation. His best moments are often saved for when a play breaks down. Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians knows all about that style. His former pupil, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has mastered the art since he entered the league in 2004. Manziel isn’t quite the physical specimen as Big Ben, but the characteristics are very similar. If anyone would know how to use his best skills, it’s Arians.