Johnny Manziel Rumors: Latest Buzz on QB's NFL Draft Stock and Interested Teams

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIJanuary 13, 2014

Dec 31, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) reacts to a fourth-quarter interception against the Duke Blue Devils in the 2013 Chick-fil-A Bowl at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Updates from Thursday, May 8

Fox Sports' Jay Glazer reports one team in the top 10 of the draft that won't select Johnny Manziel:

Jordan Raanan of reports the Giants are considering Manziel should he fall to No. 12:

If Manziel slides to them, the Giants would seriously consider drafting him, a person with knowledge of the team's draft philosophy told The person claims the Giants would have that discussion (and likely already have chatted about the possible scenario), despite having two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Eli Manning on the roster.

Of course, the Giants could be feigning interest to coax a trade from a team that wants to move up to No. 12 for Manziel. It's not known if the Giants would consider any of the other top quarterbacks in that spot.

Rotoworld passed along a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter on Jacksonville's interest in Manziel:

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Thursday the Jaguars are "absolutely intrigued" by Johnny Manziel, and "will consider him" at No. 3 overall.

Updates from Wednesday, May 7

Don Banks of Sports Illustrated broke down the lay of the land as it pertains to interest in Manziel and a potential landing spot:

This week's strong and completely contrasting media reports about Cleveland's intent on drafting Manziel at No. 4 makes his ultimate destination seem a total riddle, but there is one nugget I've gleaned from a source that has insight into Manziel's inner circle. From what I've been told, Manziel's family is not rooting for Houston to be his NFL home, believing that staying in Texas will make his already challenging transition to professional football that much more challenging.

Their thinking is that Manziel will find it far easier to distance himself from his "Johnny Football'' persona and focus completely on football if he's not near the circle of peers who comprised his college-era partying crowd. His family is said to be in favor of anywhere but Houston, but I'd have to think Dallas would pose the same set of complications in their view.

I've also heard that Manziel himself isn't wild about the idea of landing in Jacksonville, one of the NFL's smaller markets, and that the Jaguars would not be his first choice of employers. It's not a preference based on people, only location. But Manziel doesn't get to choose his new workplace address, and quarterback-needy Jacksonville remains very much a possibility as his ultimate destination. There was a Houston Chronicle report on Wednesday morning that had momentum building for the Manziel-Jaguars marriage to unfold Thursday night.

According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the Bucs might be looking into trading up to second overall for Manziel:

As we currently understand it, the Buccaneers would be making the move not for Watkins, but for Manziel.

It’s not known whether a deal is close or even doable. Two years ago, the Rams got the sixth overall pick, two more first-round selections, and a second-round pick from Washington for the ability to select Robert Griffin III.

Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reports that on the Raiders' interest in the former Texas A&M star:

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports that the Jaguars are interested in Manziel:

As for the Texans, Manziel spoke about the team and if he's heard anything about their interest (via Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle):

Teams are “holding their cards close” when it comes to their interest in the Heisman Trophy-winner, Manziel said, adding he “hasn’t been told anything” about the Texans’ plans Thursday.

“Whether it’s (pick) 1 to 200, I just want to play,” said Manziel, during a Play 60 predraft media event near the Chelsea Pier in lower Manhattan.

Updates from Tuesday, May 6

Albert Breer of provides a synopsis of Ian Rapoport of discussing Browns majority owner Jimmy Haslam's interest in Johnny Manziel:

Later in the evening, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports had a very different take on how the Browns felt about Manziel via the FOX Sports Radio Twitter account:

Updates from Monday, May 5

Ian Rapoport of has details on a meeting between Johnny Manziel and the St. Louis Rams:

However, Adam Schefter of ESPN passed along a report from Chris Mortensen on the Browns' interest in Manziel:

Updates from Sunday, May 4

Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle had a report on the Oakland Raiders' level of interest in Johnny Manziel:

In the past 14 months, McKenzie also dealt Carson Palmer, traded for Matt Flynn and cut him, saw undrafted rookie Matt McGloin prove to be a reliable backup and traded awayTerrelle Pryor, so the swinging doors at the quarterback position are still moving a little.

Which is why the March trade of a sixth-round pick for starter Schaub was so important.

"What it does is just give us some stability at that position, and we needed that," McKenzie said. "Because we traded for Schaub does that mean we're going to bypass a (quarterback) that we've got graded a certain way? No."

Still, though, sources say the Raiders aren't really considering drafting Manziel or Bortles at No. 5.

Updates from Thursday, April 24

Ed Werder of ESPN has more on Tampa Bay's reported interest in Johnny Manziel:

Updates from Wednesday, April 23

ESPN has the latest on the market for Manziel before the NFL Draft:

Johnny Manziel is on the short list of players the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are considering with their first-round pick in next month's NFL draft, a league source told's Vaughn McClure.

Manziel is one of at least four quarterbacks the Bucs have hosted for predraft visits. The source did not disclose how short the team's list is for its first pick.

Updates from Monday, March. 3

Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal provides an update on the Cleveland Browns' interaction with Manziel during the combine:

Updates from Monday, Feb. 10

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports when fans and scouts should expect Johnny Manziel to throw during his March pro day:

Updates from Tuesday, Feb. 4

Russ Lande of Sports on Earth has an update on Johnny Manziel's draft stock:

According to trusted sources, the Texans are initially leaning towards taking either Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel with the top pick. Although Manziel would obviously be the choice of owner Bob McNair, O'Brien is not sold that Manziel possesses the work ethic and intangibles necessary to be the face of a franchise. 

Updates from Sunday, Jan. 19

CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reports one team perceived to be in need of a franchise quarterback is willing to trade up in the 2014 draft to select Johnny Manziel:

[Adam Gase's] star seems poised to only grow, and the Browns remain very much in transition. However, they do have game-breaking receiver Josh Gordon, they are willing to trade up to land Johnny Manziel in the draft if need be, sources said, and have an owner, Jimmy Haslam, who is committed to spending their abundant cap space to try to win quickly.

Of course, none of that might be enough to convince Gase or [Dan] Quinn.

Updates from Wednesday, Jan. 15

Mel Kiper of ESPN has released his first mock draft of 2014 and has Johnny Manziel as the first-overall selection (via SportsCenter on Twitter):

Gil Brandt of later released his top 50 prospects for the 2014 class and ranked Manziel No. 1 overall, stating that he is "a unique athlete who produced 10,000 yards of offense in two seasons with the Aggies. He has great vision at quarterback."

---Original Text---

Texas A&M Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel is heading to the NFL after two amazing college seasons. Given his playmaking ability, moxie and improvement as a passer, he figures to be a top selection in the 2014 draft.

Rumors are naturally buzzing about which team might land the young man known as "Johnny Football," and multiple reports have now linked him to the Cleveland Browns. chief Peter King reported just after Week 17 that Cleveland's brass "really likes" Manziel, and CBS Sports insider Jason La Canfora confirmed that notion in a report Saturday, Jan. 11.

La Canfora noted that the Browns covet Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn as the successor to one-and-done Rob Chudzinski. While acknowledging that was a long shot, the Browns know getting Manziel is a real possibility with the No. 4 overall pick:

Team officials realizes it may be a longshot to land Malzahn, who nearly won a national title at Auburn and is very happy there, but his offensive innovation and the style of offense he runs is very much in line with what the team would like to put in place (the Browns are also very high on quarterback Johnny Manziel, sources said, who would be a perfect fit in a Malzahn offense).

The Malzahn-Manziel pairing rolls off the tongue—even if it's rooted in fantasy.

And what if the Browns then drafted someone like Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews and Malzahn's former running back Tre Mason in Round 2? Four M's! The Browns are all fixed!

OK, back to reality.

Focusing on Manziel, he would be just the breath of life Cleveland's franchise needs, but would also be the Browns' 20th different starting quarterback since their reentry into the NFL in 1999.

This infamous jersey illustrates the instability that has gone on in Cleveland at the most important position:'s Chase Goodbread weighed in on the possibility on Monday, Jan. 13, implying that Manziel would likely require a coach to tailor the offense to his strengths:

If it's a coach rooted in the traditional pro-style offense, he'll have to install some offensive elements that cater to Manziel's skill set, be it more shotgun, more rollouts, or even some occasional zone-read option. If it's a coach more open to the zone-read scheme, care will have to be taken not to expose Manziel to too much physical punishment.

Manziel is a bit undersized (6'1", 210 pounds) but can make all the throws required of an NFL quarterback, and he has an uncanny ability to evade pressure in scrambling situations in addition to being a lethal open-field runner.

A player who puts up the type of numbers Manziel did against SEC competition figures to be a success in the pros. Mike Jurecki of Fox Sports shares some of the numbers:

It is possible that Manziel could be chosen before the Browns get a crack at him, but since Cleveland has the No. 26 overall pick and an early second-rounder, it has the ammunition to trade up if need be.

The Browns' new brain trust of CEO Joe Banner, general manager Mike Lombardi and owner Jimmy Haslam hasn't been afraid of bold moves thus far.

Chudzinski was fired after one 4-12 season with a turbulent-as-ever QB situation and running back Trent Richardson being traded to the Indianapolis Colts at the beginning of the season.

Drafting a polarizing prospect like Manziel would be another gutsy acquisition, but one that could pay massive dividends.

However, the Jacksonville Jaguars—a franchise in desperate need of a quarterback and of selling tickets—hold the third overall selection. Few players could galvanize a franchise more than Manziel, so GM Dave Caldwell will likely be looking hard if Manziel is still on the board.

Known Johnny Football enthusiast Skip Bayless believes the Houston Texans may even take Manziel No. 1 overall, keeping him in the Lone Star State to learn under a QB guru in new head coach Bill O'Brien:

It sounds like the Oakland Raiders aren't much of a possibility at fifth overall, considering the information leaking out about the Browns holding Manziel in high regard.

Other top-flight quarterbacks in the draft include UCF's Blake Bortles and Louisville signal-caller Teddy Bridgewater. Dane Brugler's latest mock draft at has Bortles going first to the Texans, Bridgewater third to the Jags and Manziel to the Browns at No. 4.

Bleacher Report expert Matt Miller also has Manziel being snagged by the Browns in his most recent mock draft, and ESPN's Todd McShay said the same in his latest analysis (subscription required).

So there are several reputable sources who believe Cleveland is seeking Johnny Football to finally turn things around, and several prominent draft personalities believe he's destined to land there as well.  

The 2014 draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York City is a long way off on May 8, but the speculation and rumors surrounding one of the biggest college football stars in history shouldn't cease before then.


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