The Jacksonville Jaguars could be zeroing in on a quarterback of the future on Thursday night after swinging for the fences and missing badly with Blaine Gabbert.
According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, “word’s spreading among media here (in New York) that Manziel is going to Jacksonville at 3.” McClain is referring to Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, who has been rumored to be high on the list of multiple teams.
Manziel may be one of the most scrutinized prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft. He doesn’t have the prototypical height or arm strength that most NFL quarterbacks possess. However, he’s got plenty of confidence and is a well-known playmaker at the quarterback position.
His size compares with former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie, while his ability to escape pressure in the pocket is very reminiscent of New York Jets quarterback Michael Vick, just with not quite the speed Vick has at his disposal.
The former Texas A&M quarterback helmed an Aggies offense that was as much improvisational as it was scripted, and Manziel fit the offense like a glove with his ability to keep plays alive and make plays on the run.
Just last year, Manziel passed for 4,114 yards, 37 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. For his career at Texas A&M, Manziel threw for 7,820 yards, 63 touchdowns, and 22 interceptions. He also ran for more than 1,400 yards as a freshman and more than 750 yards as a sophomore while scoring a career 30 rushing touchdowns.
Still, despite being the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, Manziel developed a reputation in college for being as interested in being a star as much as he did cracking down and studying the game of football.
Against arguably the most pro-like defense Manziel faced, the Alabama Crimson Tide, he was sensational last year in a loss. Manziel was 28-39 for 464 yards, 5 TD’s, 2 INT’s, and ran for another 98 yards on 14 attempts against the Tide. The year before against Alabama he beat the Tide in Tuscaloosa as a freshman.
However, the Crimson Tide allowed Manziel to do a lot of damage outside of the pocket. When Manziel was forced to stay in the pocket against LSU and Missouri, he struggled.
Last season against LSU, Manziel was 16-41 for 224 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, while running for just 54 yards in the game. In the regular season finale against Mizzou, Manziel was 24-35 for just 195 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions, and just 21 rushing yards in the game.
The games against LSU and Mizzou could be key because if Manziel hasn't developed more as a pocket passer; NFL defenses will stack the box to keep him in the pocket and dare him to beat them with his arm.
Still, Manziel can be electric at times on the field and for the Jaguars who desperately need something to inspire the fanbase; he might be just what the doctor ordered.
Reports have said the Texans at 1, the Rams at 2, the Browns at 4, and the Raiders at 5 are not likely to draft the former Aggies star. But, as with all the pre-draft news, take it all with a grain of salt because smokescreens and false information run rampant until the Texans go on the clock Thursday night.