For a second, in my head at least, Johnny Manziel was a Philadelphia Eagle.
Living in Britain, I probably experienced the 2014 NFL Draft in a very different way to you.
I stayed awake for the first few picks, which started at 12:30am on Friday morning, before heading to bed shortly after the Texans made their first pick. Through the night, I woke a couple of times and checked the draft as I went. I noticed players of interest disappear, like linebacker Anthony Barr to the Minnesota Vikings. Eventually, I drifted off into a deep sleep.
When I awoke early on Friday morning, I grabbed my phone. Sleepily, I turned on the NFL app and scrolled slowly down the list of drafted players. I scrolled as slowly as possible, player by player, trying to relive the drama of the draft. Finally, I hit pick 22, where the Eagles had been scheduled to pick. My eyes shot across to the player selected:
Pick 22: Johnny Manziel.
My heart skipped a beat. My head was filled with confusion, anger and a weird sense of elation that the Eagles had just made what would have been the most discussed transaction in recent NFL history.
Then, after a few seconds I saw the Cleveland Browns logo and my heart sank a little, my breathing slowed and I returned to normality.
Anyway, for a few seconds, Manziel was an Eagle to me.
That got me thinking, why did Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly reject him?
Firstly, it’s a strong vote of confidence in current Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. Going into the draft, the team hadn’t really quashed rumours of a Foles trade, so there was always the slim chance that it could have happened. Now, however, it is clear that Nick Foles is the man in Philadelphia.
Secondly, the Johnny Football sideshow would have swamped Philly. The team doesn’t need any distraction as they build towards, hopefully, a Championship future. The Eagles recently cut diva wide receiver DeSean Jackson, so certainly weren’t in the mood to throw another potentially volatile ego into the mix. This Philadelphia Eagles roster is clearly more about the team.
Finally, I’m not sure how much Manziel would fit this team. With the players that we have, the offense is geared towards a run first game, with running backs LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles leading the way. When the ball is thrown, it’s far more likely to be quick slants to slot receivers like rookies Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff, or the tight ends Brent Celek and Zach Ertz. Nick Foles has proven himself to have the ability to make those throws and has also developed a chemistry with players like wide receiver Riley Cooper. Why risk that for a season with a boom or bust rookie under center?
I think the Eagles made the right choice in passing on Manziel, even if the thought of them drafting him had me ridiculously excited for a few seconds.
Check out the video below for a look back at Johnny Manziel’s pre-draft scouting report: