Johnny 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.