As the 2014 NFL Draft approaches, the rumor mill has been swirling around the league, including the Philadelphia Eagles possible interest in former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. This seems more like a ploy for a team that is sitting at a position (with the 22nd pick) that will be a hot bed for trade activity.
Several of the teams selecting at the top end of the second round may still be in search of a franchise signal caller, if they elect to pass on quarterback with their first pick. Players like Manziel, former Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater or former Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr are expected to fall down draft boards. Meaning teams like the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings or Oakland Raiders could attempt to surpass the Cleveland Browns (sitting at the 25th pick) to get “their guy.”
This is where the Eagles come into play, as a team that is looking to add as much young talent that fits in with Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly’s program. They have needs at wide receiver, outside linebacker and defensive back, but will likely miss out on the top prospects at those position. So instead of reaching on certain players, they can find value by acquiring extra picks in an extremely deep class.
But why the rumors about Johnny Manziel? That will force teams that truly want the Heisman trophy winner to make an impulsive decision regarding that 22nd pick. With this reported interest in Manziel, teams will now have to “persuade” Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman to not take him, along with giving up the selection.
Now their could be some merit to these rumors, as Manziel does fit the mold of quarterback that Kelly had utilized while manning the Oregon football program. But everyone thought the same thing about now New York Jets quarterback Michael Vick; that did not work out at all. And Vick has a much better skill set than Manziel (faster, stronger arm, quicker release), yet was injury prone and made too many mistakes to remain on the field. The same criticisms revolve around Johnny Football and his style of play while in the NCAA.
Oh by the way, the current Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback Nick Foles had one of the most efficient performances (27 touchdowns, 3 interceptions) at the position in the history of the game last season. Meanwhile, employing two more quarterbacks on their roster, signing former New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez and drafting former USC quarterback Matt Barkley in the fourth round last year. Most teams do not carry three quarterbacks on their active roster, let alone be willing to add a fourth in the upcoming draft.
So the Eagles may like some things they have seen from Manziel, but it is highly unlikely they expend the 22nd pick on him. Rumors like these will continue to circle around draft boards, many of which will be thrown out by the teams as a smokescreen. The Eagles are likely gauging the value of Manziel around the league and what they can obtain if he were still available with the first round selection.