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Gordon's Tipsheet: Manziel Draft Stock Dipping

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by RamBill, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. RamBill

    RamBill Well-Known Member

    Jul 31, 2010
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    Tipsheet: Manziel draft stock dipping
    • By Jeff Gordon


    NFL Draft stocks soar and plummet long after college players quit playing games.

    Team executives, coaches and scouts start talking themselves into or out of drafting certain players. So far this year, the scuttlebutt has Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel taking a big hit.

    That is not ideal for the Rams, a team seeking to maximize the value of the second overall pick. Jeff Fisher, Les Snead and Co. want all the top prospects to trend up so that multiple teams bid on the No. 2 slot.

    The best possible scenario had Manziel going to his home state Texans with the first overall pick. But that seems increasingly unlikely to occur.

    Here are some of the early takes on “Johnny Football” and some of the high draft pick candidates:

    Kevin Seifert, ESPN.com: “Russell Wilson's success is the worst thing that could have happened to the 2014 draft debate. Suddenly, no one thinks twice about projecting an exciting but undersized quarterback prospect as the No. 1 overall pick. Here is the problem: Johnny Manziel is no Russell Wilson, who proved off the charts in every way except height in 2012 -- and still lasted until the Seattle Seahawks drafted him in the third round. There seems little doubt that someone will make Manziel a first-round draft choice this spring, but the Houston Texans would be wrong to do it at No. 1 overall. The best parts of his college game will be less effective in the NFL, and there are at least four players in this draft -- including two quarterbacks -- who would make more sense at No. 1 . . . If the Texans want a fresh start at quarterback to begin the Bill O'Brien Era, which makes perfect sense, they would be better off with Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater. If they are concerned about Bridgewater's stature or 'upside,' O'Brien's background as a quarterback guru would justify the selection of Central Florida's Blake Bortles, who probably needs some development time. Should O'Brien desire a lower-round quarterback to develop, Auburn left tackle Greg Robinson is worthy of the No. 1 overall pick. And if the Texans are willing to take a risk in exchange for perhaps the biggest reward of the 2014 draft, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney would look awfully imposing on the same defense with All-Pro defensive lineman J.J. Watt.”

    Peter King, SI.com: “Last week, former quarterbacks and current tape students Ron Jaworski and Phil Simms both came out as skeptics of Johnny Manziel. I liked it. If you’re an analyst and don’t voice your real opinion, what good are you? And there is much work to be done by the teams in the top eight that need a quarterback (Houston, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Oakland, Minnesota and maybe Tampa Bay). Last week, Manziel’s quarterback coach, George Whitfield, said they are focusing on Manziel’s throwing and decision-making from the pocket as they prepare for his pro-day workout on March 27. Manziel was such a wild stallion as a quarterback at Texas A&M, often leaving the pocket early instead of staying home. But it is folly to say he hasn’t played well at times in the pocket; some of his best plays—though maybe not always with good footwork—came with traffic around him, and Manziel finding the receiver he needed to find . . . My guess, two-plus months out from the draft: Jacksonville, at number three, or Oakland, at five, make the most sense. If I’m Jags offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch, who is one of the most imaginative young coaches in the game, I’d love to get my hands on Manziel.”

    Brent Sobleski, USA Today: “LSU essentially dared Manziel to beat them from the pocket as a passer. If Manziel’s top target wasn’t available, it was clear he had trouble getting to his next option. And the quarterback only averaged 2.9 yards per carry in the two contests. A week after LSU beat Texas A&M 34-10, Missouri duplicated the game plan. They slow-played their pass rush, which didn’t allow Manziel to take off from the pocket. They took Evans out of the offense by rolling coverage to his side, and Manziel struggled during the 28-21 loss. This is the game plan NFL teams will utilize until Manziel proves he can beat it. He has yet to show he can. It’s why those in the NFL are curious to see how he’s improved as a pure pocket passer.”

    Dan Parr, NFL.com: “The conventional wisdom has been that Manziel, Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater are the top prospects at quarterback. That might no longer reflect the opinion of a majority of NFL teams, though. (Derek) Carr has been ranked among the second tier of signal-callers and is often projected to be drafted late in the first round or early in the second, but there was a report last week that no fewer than 17 NFL quarterback coaches polled at the combine favored Carr over Manziel. With more than two months to go before the draft, there's enough time for the conventional wisdom to be altered again and plenty of smokescreens will send draft forecasters scrambling for answers. At this point, though, it certainly appears that Carr has the momentum, and it might be coming at Manziel's expense since the reports of Carr's ascent don't include indications that he has surpassed Brigewater and Bortles on draft boards. Carr's reported rise doesn't mean Manziel is in deep decline -- five of the teams that will draft in the top eight have a need at quarterback -- so it still seems unlikely that the Cowboys will be rewarded for their Manziel free-fall preparation.”

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