Greg Bedard of The MMQB was in College Station for Alabama 49, Texas A&M 42 on Saturday, and spent his entire trip focusing on Aggies’ QB Johnny Manziel as an NFL prospect. Bedard, a film junkie, spoke to NFL personnel and scouts, and came up with this conclusion, which shouldn’t surprise anyone, except Manziel haters: “He is definitely an NFL quarterback in today’s NFL.”
Let’s go a step further – where would Manziel be the best fit in the NFL?
Here is a list of teams that could be in the market for a QB in 2014, and might consider drafting Johnny Manziel in the first or second round next May:
NFC: Philadelphia, Chicago*, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, St. Louis, Arizona.
AFC: Cleveland, Houston, Jacksonville, Oakland.
I have omitted teams that are still in a ‘wait and see’ mode regarding their QB situation. Those teams include the Jets, the Bengals (maybe we’ll find out if Andy Dalton is holding them back) and Titans.
Let’s further examine the first 10 teams.
1) Do any run the read option, or a variety of it? Philadelphia does. Minnesota has shown it at times with Ponder or Joe Webb. Tampa has the personnel for it. Oakland definitely has this year with Terrelle Pryor.
2) Does Johnny Manziel have a link to any of those teams? Yes. Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly recruited Manziel to Oregon several years ago.
3) Do any of the coaches from the aforementioned teams have a history of a running QB? St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher had much success with Steve McNair in Tennessee. Arizona’s Bruce Arians was the OC in Pittsburgh for four years when Ben Roethlisberger was his QB. (Carson Palmer does have a 3-year contract, even though he feels like a rental.)
Conclusion: Right now, two weeks into the season, I don’t think there’s any denying that the Philadelphia Eagles and Johnny Manziel are a perfect fit. But Kelly’s Eagles have been shredded defensively in the last six quarters, and the unit may finish among the worst in the league. Still, QB Mike Vick is on a 3-year deal (that’s really a one-year deal), and given what the Eagles have shown so far, there’s no way Nick Foles could run this offense the way Kelly envisions it.
The bigger problem, of course: current Oregon QB Marcus Mariota could leave school early and enter the draft. He was Kelly’s QB last year. Would Kelly take Manziel over Mariota? Manziel has garnered much more hype and coverage, but Mariota is quietly on his way to rewriting the record books in Eugene.
Assuming both enter the draft and the Eagles don’t have the 1st pick (which would have to be Clowney), would Chip Kelly draft a guy he had interest in, or the guy he picked to be the starter last year?
Here’s my sleeper: Houston Texans. Matt Schaub got an extension in 2012, but they can get away with dumping him after this season if he flops again in the postseason. Manziel, already a legend in the state, would be an intriguing QB with that very strong offensive line, two very good backs in Arian Foster and Ben Tate, and a nice fleet of pass-catchers.
[* Jay Cutler is in the final year of his deal. The Bears won't talk about an extension until after the season. They'll probably keep him, BUT it should be noted that GM Phil Emery didn't make the trade for Cutler in 2009.]