Johnny Manziel moves to No. 1 in Mel Kiper’s latest mock draft

Johnny ManzielJohnny Manziel is easily the most intriguing player to watch as we inch closer to the NFL Draft. Because of Manziel’s size, off-field behavior and style of play, experts and analysts can’t seem to agree on where the former Texas A&M star will be drafted. At least one scout believes Manziel will be nothing more than a “marginal” pro and some NFL teams reportedly view him as undraftable. Mel Kiper Jr. does not believe the Houston Texans are one of those teams.

In his first mock draft of 2014, Kiper projects that Manziel will be drafted with the first overall pick in April.

“When you talk to people in the league, I get a consensus on Manziel that I don’t get with (Blake) Bortles or (Teddy) Bridgewater,” Kiper explained. “The consensus is that Manziel is, at worst, going at No. 5. He’s going in the top five somewhere.”

Last month, fellow ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay also had Manziel going in the top five. McShay expects Manziel to be drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 4, with both Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles being selected before him. Kiper believes Manziel can be a “great” NFL player.

“If you start thinking about him at No. 5 or No. 7, hey, what’s wrong with No. 1?” Kiper said. “It’s not like you’re paying (Matthew) Stafford or (Sam) Bradford money. Johnny Manziel is a magician on the field and eats, sleeps and drinks football 365 days a year. To me, he can be a very good to great player in the NFL. Today’s NFL kind of suits his skill set very effectively and very well.”

Personally, I feel that many of Manziel’s off-field issues have been overblown. He may play golf with a boy band every now and then, but he hasn’t really gotten himself into any legal trouble. There’s still a chance Johnny Football will tone down the partying once he inks an NFL contract.

Texans owner Bob McNair recently praised Jadeveon Clowney, but that doesn’t mean Houston will draft the South Carolina stud. Kiper noted that they could even trade down and still get Manziel. As we know, plenty can change between now and April.

Jon Gruden, Mel Kiper Jr. have heated discussion over Russell Wilson (Video)

The ESPN NFL Draft set was never more animated than when the analysts began discussing quarterback prospect Russell Wilson.

Early in the third round, the only quarterback taken on the second day was Brock Osweiler. ESPN showed draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.’s quarterback board, and he said Wilson was more of a fourth-round prospect. Kiper’s big knock against Wilson is his size — he’s only 5’11”. That reasoning caused Jon Gruden to have a fit.

Gruden tore into Kiper for downgrading Wilson over a matter of an inch or two in height.

“You discriminate against guys who aren’t six feet!” Gruden told Kiper.

He then cited Ray Lewis, Wes Welker, Darren Sproles, and Maurice Jones-Drew as examples of undersized star players who Kiper would have downgraded.

The whole exchange was highly entertaining, and Gruden turned out to be correct in his prediction that Wilson would be taken that round; Seattle took him with the 12th pick in the third round, No. 75 overall.

Below is a look at Wilson turning down the volume on his TV after hearing all the ESPN bickering:

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Mel Kiper Was Once Criticized by Bill Tobin

With the 2011 NFL draft about to begin, you’ll be seeing a lot of Mel Kiper Jr. and other analysts squawking their heads off. You’ll probably be asking yourself more than once what makes a guy like Mel Kiper Jr. or Todd McShay qualified to be an analyst, and you wouldn’t be alone. Once upon a time (1994 actually), former Colts GM hammered Kiper in a press conference as Jimmy Traina reminds us. It’s an oldie, but a good one if you haven’t seen it:

At the heart of the disagreement was Kiper’s criticism that the Colts selected Trev Alberts over Trent Dilfer. Alberts turned out to be a bust, but Dilfer wasn’t anything special, so it’s not like we can declare a winner in that historic clash. But one thing we do know is that Tobin is not alone in his criticism of Kiper.

Channing Crowder: Mel Kiper Mock Draft Made Me Blow My Money

The idea that college football players spend money before they have it assuming they will soon be rich is extremely well known.  Said athletes actually admitting that they blow money before even getting it is a bit more rare.  Thankfully, we have idiots like Channing Crowder who flap their gums and tell us all about their complete lack of judgment displayed before reaching the NFL.

Pro Football Talk passed along a tremendous little blurb from Sports Radio Interviews on Tuesday, in which Crowder blasts Mel Kiper Jr. for misfiring with his prediction of where the linebacker would be drafted.

“Yeah I watch (the hype leading up to the draft) and all,” Crowder explained. “Mel Kiper and all, he messed me over, he lied to me said I was top-20 had me go out and spend X amount of dollars and then owe the bank stuff. So I don’t know the guys; they’re guessing just like we guess; I can guess who the Dolphins are going to take too. But I look at it a little bit and hear the experts I guess they call them to hear what they got to say.”

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Grading the Mock Drafts: Pro Football Weekly, Todd McShay, and Mike Mayock Got the Most Right

We see so much of these draft experts during February, March, and April it could make our heads explode (if not theirs). Turns out, the three most well-known draft experts might actually have their jobs because they’re better than just about everyone at what they do. When comparing the mock drafts of Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay of ESPN with Mike Mayock’s of NFL Network, Sporting News’ War Room, Don Banks’ at SI, Pro Football Talk’s, Jay Glazer and Peter Schrager’s of FOX Sports, five experts from CBS Sports, Pro Football Weekly’s, and National Football Posts, PFW, McShay, and Mayock all had the best.

Pro Football Weekly’s mock draft blew everyone out of the water getting an absurd 15 of 32 correct. Todd McShay was the best individual expert of the mock drafts I reviewed, nailing eight first-round picks on the nose, and essentially three others (he had the Broncos’ 12 and 18 selections correct, just in reverse order, and the Bucs taking Josh Freeman). National Football Post got 10 right and essentially one other (Freeman to TB). Mike Mayock had 10 exactly right from the first-round, just like NFP. Kiper got eight right and essentially one other with the Bucs taking Freeman at 19. Rob Rang, Chad Reuter, Clark Judge, and Pro Football Talk all had seven picks right in the first-round but didn’t have any other picks “essentially right” they way Kiper and McShay did. Top information guys like Mike Lombardi from NFL Network and National Football Post, and Don Banks at SI only got two first-round picks right. Jay Glazer and Peter Schrager at FOX only had five and three, respectively.

Furthermore, two “expert drafts” had Everette Brown going in the top 10. He went 43rd overall to the Panthers. Some dumbass articles just looking to pick on people say that McShay, Mayock, and Kiper have no idea what they’re doing because they got as many wrong as they did. In order to judge these, you have to look at success rates like batting averages or NBA field goal percentages. PFW blew everyone away batting .469. Mayock and NFP were next at .313, but McShay and NFP essentially went .344. When you figure that most people got well under 20% right, these guy’s predictions look a whole lot better. Let’s ease off them, please.

Special thanks to LBS contributor The Driver for help on this project.

UPDATE: A couple of Danish guys tell me they beat almost all the experts.

Tim Tebow Calls Out Mel Kiper Jr. About His Pro Future

One of the best questions of the college football season is how Tim Tebow will fit in the pro game. Lots of successful, running quarterbacks in college often have to switch positions in the NFL to find a job. Take a look at Matt Jones, Michael Robinson, and Brad Smith to name a few. While I don’t believe Tebow could do his thing in the NFL the way he does it in college, I still have to believe there’s some sort of place for him the pros. My main issue is that Tebow takes a lot of pounding already, but he can withstand the hits in the college game; he wouldn’t last two months doing the same thing against the heavy hitters in the big leagues. For some reason though, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. is convinced Tebow’s future is as an H-Back, something Tebow’s not having any of as he said on ESPN Radio:

“You tell me this,” Tebow said to Kiper during the radio exchange. “What do you think I need to do to be an NFL quarterback? You tell me that.

“You’re just too good with the ball in your hands not to think, Could he be Frank Wycheck? Could he be Chris Cooley? That’s why,” Kiper said. “You’re too good, doing what you do, Tim, running with the football.”

Tebow replied, “The quarterback has the ball in his hands every play.”

Tebow’s right on, but it seems like Kiper chickened out not wanting to really call Tebow out to his face. Tebow will have plenty of doubters to prove wrong when he goes to the next level, and how and when he gets drafted will be a great question. The even better question is how the team that selects him chooses to utilize his talents. I’m still saying he won’t make it as a quarterback.

(via Ballhype)