NFL Draft Scattershooting


The Manziel Slide

If Jon Gruden would have had a pick in this draft, there is no question who he would have taken, or traded up to select. Every chance he got last night he battled with Mel Kiper on ESPN about Johnny Manziel, gushing about his play-making ability. Kiper had Manziel as his 10th-best player, and Mr. Football still slid another 12 spots to Cleveland, who traded with Philadelphia to take him at No. 22 overall.

Looks like I was wrong about possible smokescreens when it came to other teams and their thoughts on Manziel, But we’ve seen this before. Quarterbacks, more than any other position, can slide due to a limited amount of teams who need one combined with quality safer picks at other positions. And Manziel’s measurables are not what NFL GMs like or want.

Johnny-Manziel2But then there’s the heart and the “it” factor which he has. You can’t measure it, but Cleveland is going to love it.

I’ve made it no secret how I feel about Manziel. Yes, I’m biased, but I also feel I’m right. The kid is a winner, and Cleveland fans are about to find out how special he is. And here’s the kicker, Browns fans – Johnny Football plays his very best when he has a chip on his shoulder. This slide to No. 22 overall will only add fuel to an already ultra-motivated individual.

An obvious question around here – how come Dallas didn’t take him? Take a closer look at the Cowboys’ situation and you’ll understand that it would have been a very dumb move to take Manziel at No. 16. Tony Romo begins a six-year, $108 million contract extension this season. Had Manziel come to Dallas he would most likely not see the field for at least two-to-three years, and just imagine what would happen when Romo has his first bad game in 2014 – QB controversy re-defined.

Could the Cowboys trade Romo? Well, yes, I think they actually would be able to find a taker (it only takes one team). But the problem with that would be the contract again. A trade would force the Cowboys to absorb an instant $32.5 million salary cap hit in 2014 (versus the $11.7 million hit it takes this season with Romo on the roster) because of the guaranteed signing bonus that he received.

The most excited man in Ohio? That would be one Josh Gordon, the Browns’ young talented receiver. His already high potential just went up another tick or three.

Manziel said just minutes after being drafted, “I’m going to pour my heart out for this team and for this city and I believe it will all work out.”

That’s usually how things go for Johnny Manziel. The kid doesn’t know how to fail.


The Cowboys Make a Safe Pick. For Once

Jerry passing on Johnny Manziel did not surprise me. Picking an offensive player did, but after thinking about it, made sense.

It was a good pick. No, it was an exceptional pick. It is what the Giants, Packers, Broncos or Steelers would do. Take the best player on your board, regardless of position.

You can never go wrong with drafting top linemen on either side of the ball. And you can never have enough of them. You want to win? Stack up your lines.

Zack Martin will help the Cowboys for a long time. That’s what the draft is all about – landing long-term starters that make sense. Maybe Jerry is learning his lesson. On second thought, let’s make sure he doesn’t draft another tight end this afternoon before declaring that one.


Best Picks of the First Round

Sammy Watkins

Sammy Watkins – Buffalo (No. 4) – Watkins is a game-changer and Buffalo knows it. When you trade up you better hit a home run and the Bills did. Watkins will be a stud.

Justin Gilbert – Cleveland (No. 8) – Oh yeah, the Browns’ other first round selection. Gilbert might be the most underrated player in this draft, a shutdown corner with size, speed and skill, and is an excellent return man. Tremendous value.

Anthony Barr – Minnesota (No. 9) – The scary part is that Barr is a better athlete than he is a football player right now. He is fast and will only get better as he gains strength and power to go with it. This is who I hoped the Cowboys would get.

Teddy Bridgewater – Minnesota (No. 32) – I have a good friend who covers the NFL Draft for a living who had Bridgewater as his No. 1 player in the draft. I am still shocked he fell like a rock after his pro day, but that’s me.


Random Thoughts

Am I the only one who finds the Directv commercials about “wires” creepy?…I was already tired of Aloe Blacc’s “The Man” by 7:15 pm by watching ESPN’s coverage of the draft…I was kind of hoping a punter might be drafted in the first round, but I wasn’t counting on it. Ray Guy remains the only punter to ever be selected in the first round, picked by the Raiders 23rd overall in 1973…is it wrong to hope that Houston drafts Derek Carr with the first pick of the second round on Friday just to see the fan meltdown?

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Rob Scichili (shick-lee) has worked in professional sports for over 24 years in PR and communications, including time with the Dallas Stars, Anaheim Ducks,, Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks. A journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he is co-owner and editor at ScoreboardTx, principal at Shick Communications and VP at Franchise Sports & Entertainment while serving on the board of the Mike Modano Foundation.