In fact, the Heisman winner from Texas A&M won't have to wait more than five selections.
Now, some mock drafts would have you believe differently. ESPN's Todd McShay sees the concerns over Manziel leaving him on the board until the eighth selection:
That's not going to happen. The fifth selection belongs to the quarterback-needy Oakland Raiders, and they may not even get a crack at Manziel. Before they select, three other quarterback-needy teams will step up to the podium.
In case you need a refresher, here are the teams with the top five picks in May's draft:
|2||St. Louis Rams|
The Texans, Jaguars and Raiders all made sure they had experienced quarterbacks on the roster who are ready to start in the upcoming season. This helps take the desperation out of their need for a signal-caller but not for the long-term need of one.
Manziel has had a solid offseason with a strong pro day, and apparently a solid Wonderlic at the combine.
According to former NFL scout John Middlekauff, Manziel turned in the highest Wonderlic score of all the top quarterbacks:
I've been told Johnny Football had the highest wonderlic test of all the top QB's in this years draft— John Middlekauff (@JohnMiddlekauff) April 10, 2014
These facts aren't going to do much to allay the fears of his detractors, however. The below video discusses this fact:
He also makes a lot of plays by scrambling around. It is safe to wonder if he will be able to take the punishment of the NFL.
Then there is bigger-than-life attitude, which has led to some questionable off-field decision-making. This has led to many observers, including former NFL great and similarly-styled quarterback, Fran Tarkenton, wondering if he has the character to make it in the NFL.
The Houston Chronicle's John McClain passes along a cartoon that sums up the situation well:
This is hilarious! pic.twitter.com/XSemixtBM2— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) April 9, 2014
Although Manziel's brash attitude has fueled the fire of some his critics, that same attitude is not going to doom his draft status. In fact, it is part of the reason he won't last past the Raiders' selection.
Manziel has something the Raiders want and are looking for. Vic Tafur, of the San Francisco Chronicle, helps explain:
And Johnny Manziel definitely has swagger, which Dennis Allen mentioned often last season as something he wants in his players.— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) April 10, 2014
Tafur also shared head coach Dennis Allen's thoughts on Manziel's swagger:
Absolutely, Johnny has swagger. Here is the thing about Johnny Manziel. This guy has been a winner, and he's won everywhere he's been. So that's one of the things you look at when you look at this kid...Texas A&M went into the SEC and nobody really gave them a chance...and all of a sudden this freshman quarterback goes off and they're in the National Championship picture for a long time. He brings that to a team.
On top of this, Raiders owner Mark Davis appears to be enamored with Manziel.
SirusXM NFL Radio's Eddie Borsilli passed along this bit of news:
The Raiders did a fine job in free agency of filling their holes. This has given them flexibility with their first pick. If Manziel is available, he will be that pick.
After two losing seasons, general manager Reggie McKenzie isn't likely to risk passing on a quarterback his boss is impressed with.
Of course, there are no guarantees that McKenzie will face this decision.
In his latest mock, McClain has the Texans taking Manziel with the No. 1 pick. This would certainly energize the Texans fanbase as it would keep the Texas legend in the Lone Star State.
Then, we have the Rams' selection at No. 2, and although St. Louis wouldn't appear to be a candidate to draft Manziel or any other quarterback, it could certainly trade the pick to a team that does think Manziel's talents will translate well to the NFL.
Next, both the Jaguars and Browns could certainly use the boost of interest and marketability Manziel would supply, and the Browns also have a good offense for Manziel to step into.
Cleveland has one of the best receivers in the NFL in Josh Gordon. They also have recently signed veteran receiver Nate Burleson.
With Jordan Cameron at tight end, Manziel would also have a nice safety-blanket option.
Manziel has been a lightning rod for scrutiny and speculation, but in the end, his amazing blend of arm and foot talent will mean he goes off the board early in this NFL draft.