Had an elongated phone chat today with a plugged-in, Elite Football Mind source about the Vikings and JOHNNY MANZIEL, the mercurial QB from Texas A&M. As conceded #92Noon today I have not been able to get the end-all opinion from heavy hitters at Winter Park on what we would do if Manziel were available at the eight spot.
As shared, I am under the belief OC NORV TURNER likes him and that HC MIKE ZIMMER will yield the QB call this draft to Turner and GM SPIELMAN. Other than that ay this stage of the attack I cannot properly predict whether the Vikings would select him or not.
The thing that gets me off today's chat with one of my 'Minds in the know is the assumed lack of faith in Zimmer et al regarding Manziel's off-field approach to life.
Paraphrasing, here's how the chat went:
ME: "If there think we'd take 'Football at eight?"
MIND: "Maybe they don't think he'd the last guy out of the meetings or put in the Tuesday (off-day) work or burn the midnight oil Fridays by himself studying film. Maybe that's not who Manziel is."
ME: "I'd take my chances. He has so many God-gifted skills few in this draft have I'd move on him and let the respected powers that be convert him. Zimmer has handled guys like BURFICT, PAC MAN, FROSTEE RUCKER and other potential problems very well."
MIND: "Good point."
Seriously, OLB Vontaze Burfict went undrafted and now if one of the best OLBs in the game. His baggage into his draft made Samsonite blush. And we are going to worry about how much Manziel wants to be an entertainer and let his gifts go to somebody else?
Granted, I think Manziel is gone before eight and is not good enough to trade up to attain, but let's not choose to pass on him because we are worried about his personality traits. Let's give the kid a chance to mature and lead. Let's have enough confidence in our new regime that we can work with him to treat the game professionally and become a Scholar of the Game.
Now, if the off-field concerns are so deep you think he'd be a risk than, yeah, pass on him. But he has done nothing to this point to have his away-from-football demeanor kill his draft stock.
Manziel has a terrific arm, tremendous huddle presence, is a born leader and makes plays with his feet. While running, too, he seems to keep his eyes down the field. His charisma is undeniable and from afar it seems he makes players better.
I'd take Johnny Manziel if he were available at eight and feel very good about it. I'd love to see the dad in Zimmer come out while leading him as a man and for well respected OC Norv Turner teach him the nuances of the game. I think the game comes very naturally to Johnny Football and we would win with him.