The NFL Draft is a month from Thursday, and it's time to become squared away with the eight spot. The first piece of business is reading between the lines on what HC MIKE ZIMMER had to say about QB JOHNNY MANZIEL in an interview last week with an Austin radio station.
When Zimmer repeatedly shared concerns about "flags" associated with Manziel I believe he was telling the truth. There are many deeming it as a smokescreen and, in essence, that he was fabricating a story to send a signal the team may not be interested. I do not believe that to be the case and feel he was telling the truth and, indeed, has concerns about making Johnny Football the face of the franchise.
Today I learned there are several key people within the Vikings organization who like Manziel but I am not sure adore him enough to take the plunge at eight if he is available. And I do believe there's a decent chance Manziel will be available at that spot.
Thing is, Zimmer is a defense-first guy and will yield with decisions involving the QB. OC NORV TURNER and GM RICK SPIELMAN will have final say on the QB drafted, and Zimmer will roll with the decision. That's my gut feeling at this point.
In line with some things the coach said about 'Football during that radio interview I, too, have heard Manziel is not necessarily a student of the game, but when the actual game starts he makes things happen. People continue to brag about him being at his best when he breaks the pocket and the play is in need of improvisation. I don't want a QB who is best when the play disintegrates, I want one capable of standing tall in the pocket and making things happen within the structure of the offense. Johnny Manziel may not be that guy.
I still am unsure what the Vikings will do at eight, and given the draft is super unpredictable this year I don't expect to land the right piece of info until very close to the draft. As of now I have it falling like this:
1-Houston: DE JADAVEON CLOWNEY.
2-St. Louis: Best OT or WR SAMMY WATKINS. The Rams have two of the top 13 picks and probably are hoping Clowney is available because they are stacked at DL and would receive and amazing amount of compensation from a team via trade.
3-JAX: OLB KHALIL MACK
4-Cleveland: Watkins if available or Manziel
5-Oakland: Best OT available or Mack if there.
6-Atlanta: Best OT available.
7-Tampa Bay: WR MIKE EVANS
8-Vikings: Trading back and amassing picks my top priority here. Selecting best defensive player my second preference. If they deem a QB best at this spot I will roll with the call and respect the decision until proven wrong.
My QB rankings as of now are BRIDGEWATER first, then BORTLES, DEREK CARR, Manziel, METTENBERGER and GAROPPOLO. We'll see what happens. In my heart I do not think there is a QB in this draft worthy of a top-10 selection.