Johnny Manziel to Second Round of NFL Draft?

johnny-manziel-nflTrying to predict where Johnny Manziel is going in the 2014 NFL Draft is like trying to predict which numbers will win the lottery. Every mock draft that comes out has the Texas A&M star heading to a different team, with the Houston Texans (#1 pick), Jacksonville Jaguars (#3), Cleveland Browns (#4) and Oakland Raiders (#5) often coming up in the discussion. But former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Shaun King has a different take on the matter:..

In a recent mock draft of the first round that King did, he doesn’t even have Manziel going in the first round. This is pretty shocking when you consider how mesmerized some teams like the Browns have been with Johnny Football’s duel-threat ability. So what’s the deal here? Has King bought into all of the insults that Barry Switzer hurled Manziel’s way? Is he turned off by how the Heisman Trophy winner measured just under six feet at the Combine?

Actually, King just thinks that the unpredictability that Manziel brings is enough to make head coaches and general managers worry about risking their jobs to draft him. Here’s an excerpt from King’s Yahoo post:

shaun-king-footballThe Johnny Manziel conundrum is one the more interesting evaluation dilemmas to hit NFL evaluators in a long time. I don’t have him being drafted in the first round. Not because I don’t think he has a chance to be a good player, but because I don’t think teams will be able to come to an internal consensus on him.

When a team takes a quarterback in Round 1, a lot of jobs are on the line. If that player doesn’t pan out the general manger and head coach generally aren’t there to choose a second one. Jacksonville, Cleveland and Minnesota all need QBs now, yet they all drafted one in the first round in the last three years. Only Vikings general manager Rick Spielman is left standing; the rest, including all three head coaches, are gone.

Nobody is going to take Shaun King’s mock-draft advice over Mel Kiper Jr’s. However, his reasoning for not putting Manziel does bring up a legitimate point in that Johnny Football may be too risky for one of the top five teams to bet their jobs on a running QB who’s not even six feet tall. There’s a good chance that Manziel comes out and plays like RG III did in his rookie campaign, however, there’s also the chance that he becomes the next Christian Ponder/Blaine Gabbert/Brandon Weeden.

Going back to King, he believes that Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater is the “most complete NFL ready QB since Andrew Luck,” and he has the Texans grabbing Bridgewater with the top overall pick. Predictably, Auburn OT Greg Robinson goes to the Rams at number two, while South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney goes to the Jaguars at number three. King also sends Clemson WR Sammy Watson to Cleveland with the fourth pick and Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald to the Raiders at number five.

We doubt that UCF quarterback Blake Bortles falls out of the top-5 range, especially with four teams who could really use a QB sitting there. But it’s still interesting to see a mock draft that doesn’t think teams will still be desperately reaching for the next Luck.

Adam Muema’s Bizarre Behavior may bounce Him out of 2014 NFL Draft

adam-muema-nfl-draftGoing into the 2014 NFL Combine, San Diego State running back Adam Muema was an intriguing prospect with a 40-inch vertical leap and an unofficial 4.57 forty-yard dash time. More importantly, his last two years with the Aztecs were pretty impressive. In 2012, he rushed for 1,458 yards and 16 touchdowns on 237 carries. He followed this up with 1,244 yards and 15 touchdowns on 256 carries in 2013.

Given all of this, some analysts had Muema going as high as the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft. The lowest estimates were usually in the fifth round due to his smallish (for running backs) 5’10”, 205-pound stature. But thanks to recent developments, it’s almost impossible to see Muema getting drafted at all.

Those around the league were already wondering about his sanity when he left the combine because he was “following God.” Muema later told reporters that God told him it was already a given that he’d be playing for the Seattle Seahawks. Forget the voices in Muema’s head since the thought of him playing for the Seahawks is already crazy enough. They return Marshawn Lynch, capable backup Robert Turbin and heralded first-rounder Chrstine Michael, so it’s highly unlikely that he’d crack this lineup.

adam-muema-nfl-draft-1Things have gotten even more bizarre lately because Muema was missing for three days after he left the combine. Thankfully, he’s turned up, but the reason why he was missing is because God told him to stay in a Florida airport for three days. Oklahoma linebacker Corey Nelson, who’d been working out with Muema, explained the matter to the San Diego Union-Tribune, as you can see from the following excerpt:

Adam Muema was found Thursday at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, ex-Oklahoma linebacker Corey Nelson said.

The airport is near the athlete performance facility where they spent the past two months training for the NFL. Muema had been there since Monday, when his Southwest flight from Indianapolis landed at about 1:30 p.m. ET.

Muema called Nelson on Thursday to ask for a ride. When Nelson arrived, he said Muema was still dressed in NFL-issued combine gear. When asked to describe Muema’s demeanor on Thursday, Nelson said the running back seemed “focused, cheerful and very wise.”

“He said he was at the airport for three days straight,” Nelson said. “He was telling me when I picked him up that God told him to stay at the airport and don’t do anything. Just stay there. That’s what he did for three days straight.

“On the fourth day, he told me he couldn’t do it anymore. He decided to call me.”

Not to turn this whole situation into a sacrilegious joke, but there’s a strong chance that God doesn’t want Adam Muema to get drafted with the advice that he’s supposedly been dispensing. It’s not like Muema was a guaranteed first-round pick going into the combine. And now that he’s shown some very irregular behavior as of late, the former San Diego State star will have a very difficult time convincing anybody to draft him.

Maybe some team that’s desperate for a running back will take a seventh-round flier on Mumea…maybe he won’t get drafted and he’ll work his way on to a team with a great preseason. Or, just maybe Muema’s odd decisions will continue and he’ll never see the field in a regular season game.

We’re not wishing the worst upon the 21-year-old. However, he needs to change things around quickly, or he’ll be the new Dimitrius Underwood, who was drafted in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft. After being drafted by the Vikings and later signing a 5-year, $5.3 million contract, he walked out of training camp saying that his Christian faith and playing football didn’t mix. He later blew an opportunity with the Dolphins after showing little aptitude for the sport. Underwood hit rock bottom when he said he “wasn’t worthy of God” and tried to commit suicide by slashing his neck with a cutlass. Following this incident, he spent several months in a treatment facility.

Don’t expect Raiders to pass on a Good Quarterback

teddy-bridgewater-louisvilleOnce again, the Oakland Raiders are coming off a very disappointing season where they finished 4-12 and were nowhere near the playoff picture. And once again, they have the opportunity to land a high draft pick who could make a huge impact on the struggling franchise.

The Raiders pick fifth in the 2014 NFL Draft and their immediate focus appears to be on a quarterback. Head coach Dennis Allen indicated this by saying that QB is “a position we’ve obviously got to look at.”

The word “obviously” definitely fits here because Oakland’s returning quarterbacks, Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin, don’t yet seem capable of leading a team to success. Pryor initially caused a spark after beating out Matt Flynn for the starting job in training camp. He rushed for 162 yards in the first two games of the 2013 season and led Oakland to a 1-1 record. Pryor was knocked out of the third game with a concussion and never developed any passing rhythm after coming back.

Pryor’s Week 9 MCL sprain gave undrafted rookie Matt McGloin an opportunity to start. Although he proved to be a better pure pocket passer with 1,547 yards, 8 TD’s and 8 INT’s, McGloin only led the Raiders to one win in his seven appearances.

Given their options, Oakland could definitely grab a more heralded signal caller. And the 2014 Draft class has a number of strong QB prospects, with Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles leading the way.

The only problem is that there are three other teams with pressing quarterback needs themselves. The Houston Texans, Jacksvonille Jaguars and Cleveland Browns all pick ahead of Oakland and could take a QB. Houston might go quarterback or defense, while experts definitely expect Jacksonville and Cleveland to go QB.

But this certainly hasn’t stopped Oakland from spending countless hours looking at game footage of passers. After watching the tape, Manziel is one prospect who really sticks out in Allen’s mind as he said:

He’s accomplished a lot at the collegiate level he’s been a very good football player being the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy speaks for itself. I think he’s a very talented football player, he’s a multidimensional football player. He’s able to throw the ball from the pocket and do things with his feet. As we get more into the evaluation process he’ll be a fun one to look at.

Once again, though, Oakland needs to prepare for a scenario in which they don’t get Manziel or the other two top signal callers. There are plenty of other potential stars in the draft, including South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and Auburn left tackle terrelle-pryor-raidersGreg Robinson. Plus, the team doesn’t sound like they’re entirely down on the returning quarterbacks. “One of those things we have to determine,” said Allen with regard to who’ll start next year. “We’re going to look at that position very closely. In my opinion we’ve got two young quarterbacks with potential.”

However, Allen played devil’s advocate by saying, “I don’t know the answer to that yet. The quarterback position is the backbone of your football team. We’ve got to make sure that when we go out there this year, we put ourselves in the best position to have success with the quarterback position.”

Assuming Oakland really feels some urgency in this draft, they might consider trading up into one of the top three positions. But is it worth sacrificing other draft picks to move up for one player when you’re a team that needs so much? Maybe so, when you consider the large amount of quarterback failures that Oakland has experienced over the past several years.

Should the Texans really trade the Number One Pick?

teddy-bridgewater-louisvilleNothing in the NFL news will overshadow the Wild Card games this weekend. Nevertheless, Houston Texans owner Bob McNair did manage to steal a headline or two when he declared that Houston is open to trading the top overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. “Maybe we’ll trade down and still get a quarterback that can do the job and get an outstanding defensive player,” McNair said. “It’s an exciting time. Everything’s a moving target. Lot of different pieces.”

When you lose 14 games in a row like the Texans did, you should be open to anything. But is this a draft where Houston really wants to trade the top selection away for more picks? After all, many consider this draft to be pretty rich in quarterbacks, and if anybody needs an outstanding signal caller, it is the Texans. But on the other hand, maybe McNair is saying this because they haven’t fallen in love with any players.

With Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater officially declaring for the draft, many see him as the best quarterback prospect available. Several months ago, it was considered a two-man battle between Bridgewater and South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney for who’d be the number one overall pick in 2014. However, Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews has since shot up the board and is also in contention for the top selection. This being said, is it worth holding on to the number one overall pick for Houston?

johnny-manzielThis is an especially pertinent question when you consider that other worthy quarterbacks like A&M’s Johnny Manziel, UCF’s Blake Bortles, and Fresno State’s Derek Carr all warrant high first-round consideration. Okay, so you can probably thrown Derek Carr out of the mix because his older brother, David, didn’t exactly pan out as Houston’s inaugural draft pick.

Chances are, though, the Texans are taking a quarterback at some point in the first round, whether they trade down for a lower pick or keep the number one selection. They’ve got Matt Schaub and Case Keenum on the roster right now. Schaub is looked at as an aging has-been who contributed to Houston’s downfall with all of his pick-sixes. Keenum showed some flashes of brilliance, but he never clearly locked down the starting QB role when given a chance.

Of course, there’s always the potential curveball, where Houston could take a defensive player or offensive tackle like Matthews. Texans general manager Rick Smith alluded to this with the following statement:

I don’t think you take a particular position just because you need a particular position at any point in the draft, especially the first pick. So we’ll rank it, we’ll value it, and we’ll make good choices if the opportunity presents itself to move back because it is a very valuable pick, and we’ll entertain those as well.

Looking at Houston’s history, it may not be so crazy to go defense with the top overall choice. In 2007, they made the controversial decision to select DE Mario Williams over the more-electrifying and popular pick, Reggie Bush. And while Bush has had his share of NFL success, it is Williams whom many think boasts the better career. Taking this into consideration, Clowney, UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr and Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack can’t be left out of the number-one-overall discussion either.

Whatever the case may be, it’s clear that McNair has already created some NFL Draft excitement months in advance of the big day.

Should the New York Jets draft a QB in 2014?

geno-smith-jetsWhen the New York Jets took Geno Smith with the 39th overall pick this past draft, many thought New York was drafting their quarterback of the future. Sure there were questions regarding Smith’s professionalism and late-season decline at West Virginia. But his talent was evidently enough to warrant an early second-round draft choice.

The buzz around Smith only grew as he beat out a banged-up Mark Sanchez for the starting QB job. The young signal caller fared pretty well in his first game, completing 24-of-38 passes for 256 yards and a touchdown. Smith also showed off his 4.59-forty speed by adding 47 yards on the ground. More importantly, he led New York to an 18-17 win over Tampa Bay.

Since this time, Smith has been up and down, with mostly downs to speak of lately. His statline reads of a quarterback who’d normally be benched by this point: 2,227 passing yards, 8 TD’s and 18 INT’s.

It’s worth mentioning that Smith has also added 178 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground. But this isn’t nearly enough to make up for the 18 interceptions that he’s geno-smith-jets-1tossed so far. The last four games have been particularly bad, with Smith throwing for zero touchdowns and 7 INT’s. And if the Jets had a reliable veteran at quarterback this season, you have to wonder if they’d be much better than 5-6.

This might be the question that New York management asks themselves throughout the offseason. Going further, is it already time for the Jets to start thinking about taking another quarterback next year?

It’s certainly too early to completely write Smith off at this point. After all, starting in the NFL as a rookie is an extremely tough task, especially when you’re not a guaranteed franchise savior like Andrew Luck. But if Smith is to truly be the Jets’ QB of the future, he’s going to have to make some significant improvements in accuracy and getting rid of the ball on time.

It doesn’t help the former Mountaineer’s case that the 2014 NFL Draft is loaded with talent at the quarterback position. There are potentially 5-6 signal callers who could be major game-changers at the next level. Fresno State’s Derek Carr, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger and Clemson’s Tajh Boyd lead the seniors, while Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and UCLA’s Brett Hundley head up the draft-eligible underclassmen.

geno-smith-jets-2The latter three prospects are virtually guaranteed a first-round selection, while the three seniors could go late in the first round or at some point in the second round. In any case, the Jets are going to have plenty of chances at drafting a good QB, even if they don’t trade up in the 2014 Draft.

Of course, everything is up in the air for New York right now. Geno Smith could suddenly come out and play much better, leading his team to several more wins and instilling some confidence among management. Given that the Jets are still very much alive in the AFC Wild Card race, Smith leading them to the postseason would really boost his stock.

But at the moment, with his 7 interceptions in the last four games, he’s really going to have to show something over the next few weeks. Or the Jets could be welcoming their new QB of the future on the draft podium next spring.

Tracy McGrady annoys MJD with Comments on Jacksonville Jaguars

tracy-mcgrady-jacksonville-jaguarsFrom Terrell Owens to Randy Moss, we’ve hear plenty of NFL players flirt with the idea of playing in the NBA. Tracy McGrady recently came up with a reverse scenario when he tweeted about joining the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Of course, McGrady’s tweet was more of a light-hearted jab at what many people perceive to be the NFL’s worst team this season. Here’s a look at the now-retired, seven-time NBA All-Star’s tweet:

Jacksonville @jaguars need to bring me on in for a tryout at QB or receiver!

This line might have inspired a little laughter around the sports world. But one guy who isn’t laughing is Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew. The three-time Pro Bowler fired back with the following:

You’re more than welcome to sign a waiver and come out to a live practice. We’ll see how it works out for you, if it’s that easy.

maurice-jones-drewMJD did slightly tone it down after a reporter joked about how McGrady wouldn’t last 5 plays, to which he said, “Hey you never know, he might be tougher than people think.” But it’s pretty obvious that he’s not amused with the disparaging comment about his team.

Of course, you can’t really argue with the fact that Jacksonville is quickly becoming a joke around the league. This is especially the case when you look at their offense, which has posted the following stats:

– 5.5 PPG (32nd in NFL)
– 213 total YPG (32nd)
– 160 passing YPG (28th)
– 52.5 rushing YPG (30th)

As for Jones-Drew, he’s off to a terrible, injury-plagued start after gaining just 72 yards on 25 carries. Don’t expect things to get any better for him or Jacksonville as a whole since they feature Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne at quarterback. The latter is slightly better, but not exactly capable of leading this team to many victories. And as for Gabbert, he hasn’t done anything to live up to being the 10th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Most analysts and reporters expect the Jags to finish dead last in the NFL, which will set them up for the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. And it’s all but a given that they’ll take a quarterback with this pick in hopes of erasing their mistake of trading up to get Gabbert.

All in all, it looks like MJD is in for another rough year with his team of eight years. That said, firing back at people like McGrady is about the only thing he can look forward to.