HOUSTON (CBS-Houston) – The NFL combine starts on Saturday and most of the country will be watching especially on Sunday when the quarterbacks take the field for their workouts. There’s one quarterback who will get plenty of attention; probably more than any other in the history of the combine. Don’t think we need to say his name. But, just in case you don’t know, his name is Johnny Manziel.
Whether he has a great or subpar workout, Manziel is beloved in Texas. He’s also made it known that he wants to be drafted by the Houston Texans. Just check out John McClain’s Manziel layout and his interview with Nate&Creight.
The football world knows that the Texans have the first pick in the draft. But, there’s mystery surrounding how they will exercise that pick.
If anyone has a clue about what direction the Texans will take with the number one pick, we can confidently say that Mike Mayock of the NFL Network is one of those persons. When asked about his expectations of Manziel and should the Texans execute the first pick selection or trade down, Mayock didn’t hesitate.
“First of all, if there’s a quarterback that they fall in love with and they say he’s our guy for the next 10 years, you don’t even think about it.”
However, Mayock feels that there are questions surrounding specific abilities and projected longevity of the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft such as Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Central Florida’s Blake Bortles, and Manziel.
The one observation Mayock noticed in his study of Manziel is that he does not like to be “confined”. Mayock is referring to confinement in the pocket to which NFL quarterbacks must become accustomed when dropping back and going through their reads and progressions. It’s well-known that Manziel will use his legs when the play breaks down; he had a tendency to pull out a little early. But that’s a general concern for most college quarterbacks making the transition to the NFL.
“If you’re sitting at ‘one’ in this draft and you’ve got questions, because none of these guys are (Indy QB) Andrew Luck,” said Mayock. “None of these guys are (Denver QB) Peyton Manning. None of these guys, you can sit there and go this is a slam dunk, this is an easy one.
So, if you’re concerned about all three of those quarterbacks, the next question is, OK; who is the best position player in this draft. How does that fit up with our needs, and if somebody wants to come and trade with us, we outta be wide open for business.”
DECISIONS TO MAKE
The trade-down rumors have been afloat for some time now. It wouldn’t be breaking news should the Texans decide to trade down especially if they are undecided and not thoroughly convinced that Bridgewater, Bortles, nor Manziel could be the long term solution.
However, having the first pick also means options and the Texans have other pressing needs besides who will call the signals in Bill O’Brien’s new offense.
“I don’t know who their quarterback is right now and I don’t think they do. If they took the Clowney kid and paired him with J.J. Watt that would be pretty awesome! It would start the kind of parallel that Seattle tries to do which is getting talented pass rushers and getting after quarterbacks.”
The nation witnessed the dominance of the talented Seattle defense this past season and particularly in the Super Bowl as they demolished the Denver Broncos, 43-8. However, Seattle also has a pretty good quarterback in Russell Wilson who the nation also got to see.
It’s a tough decision. But, the Texans must draft the player best for the organization whether it’s Bridgewater, Bortles, or the native Texan, Manziel.
“I don’t think it matters whether or not he’s a local kid,” says Mayock. “I think the important thing is to get the pick right. If they’re not in love with any of those three quarterbacks, and this is one of the best positions, top ten, I’ve ever seen. Either taking a position kid or trading down makes a ton of sense for these guys.
So, A, they’ve got to believe in one of these kids. B, they’ve got to say forget about the whole local attraction thing. The most important thing is to build for the future and win football games. That’ll take care of itself; as long as you’re winning games.”
Mayock is correct. Manziel or not? That is the question.