This year's NFL draft feels more unpredictable than ever.
As the offseason has worn on, it seems as though confidence about where players will be drafted has continued to drop. Rumors are seemingly never-ending, and every anonymous source apparently knows that "Player X" will be drafted inside the top five picks—wait, no, outside the first round.
That seems to ring even truer for some of the most talked-about prospects, so let's try to fight through the speculation and forecast landing spots.
Johnny Manziel: Cleveland Browns
It's no secret: The Cleveland Browns need a quarterback.
With an extremely solid front seven and Joe Haden on the outside, Ray Farmer and Co. have focused on the offensive side of the ball this summer, adding Ben Tate, Andrew Hawkins and Nate Burleson to take some of the pressure off Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron.
The arrow is undoubtedly pointing up in Cleveland, but someone is still needed to run the show.
That much we know.
But there are an array of different ways the Browns could add a signal-caller in this draft. They could grab one with the No. 4 pick. They could trade down from that spot. They could take one with the Indianapolis Colts' No. 26 pick. Or they could wait until the second round and see who's available.
As NFL.com's Gil Brandt noted, they've been showing interest in Manziel:
Manziel is incredibly polarizing. Some don't like how he carries himself off the field, and others don't believe he has what it takes to become a pocket passer. But he is undoubtedly electrifying, possessing the playmaking talent to escape any kind of pressure and make some unbelievable throws on the run.
Johnny Football is a game-changer, and the Browns won't be able to let him slip by at No. 4.
Jadeveon Clowney: Houston Texans
Of course, if I'm going to describe Manziel as a game-changer, there might not be a word in the dictionary that accurately describes Jadeveon Clowney.
Players with this blend of size, strength, power, speed and athleticism don't come along very often. Throw in his explosion off the snap and his variety of moves, and Clowney has the potential to be absolutely dominant at the next level—an unstoppable force teams are forced to game-plan away from.
Still, not everyone is sold on Clowney as the No. 1 overall pick. Most recently, one anonymous NFC personnel man told NJ.com's Mark Eckel that the South Carolina stud is "spoiled" and "lazy."
Rotoworld's Patrick Daugherty summed up the absurdity of most of the criticism surrounding Clowney:
Another worry is that Clowney, who is mostly seen as a 4-3 defensive end, wouldn't fit the Houston Texans' 3-4 scheme under new head coach Bill O'Brien.
However, as O'Brien recently suggested while talking about J.J. Watt, via CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco, Clowney would have no problem fitting in Houston's defense:
The first day of minicamp we'll line up in this 3-4 and that's what we run. After that, it goes to some three-down looks, some four-down looks, some odd looks where he'll (Watt) be moving around. It's just a very multiple defense. 70 percent of the game now is played in nickel. When we went through our snaps, I think against last year's Texans offense, I think 75 percent of the snaps were played in nickel or dime because a lot times, Houston was in 11 personnel. He's going to fit in very well with what we do.
Clowney is the best player in the draft, and the Texans will draft him as such.
Teddy Bridgewater: Minnesota Vikings
Teddy Bridgewater is one of the most difficult players in the draft to project.
Once considered a strong contender for the No. 1 overall pick, the Louisville product could just as easily be drafted in the top 10 as he could fall outside the first round.
But don't be surprised if the suggestions of Bridgewater's plummeting stock turn out to be massively overstated. He is not Steamin' Willie Beamen, and he is certainly not a mediocre quarterback.
Bridgewater is an intelligent signal-caller who has experience in a pro system. He is accurate out of the pocket, and he has a strong arm and enough mobility to escape pressure. In case you forgot during an offseason when rumors and silly narratives run rampant, he can do ridiculous things like this on the gridiron:
With so many teams needing quarterbacks, Bridgewater might just slip, but it's not going to last for very long. The Vikes won't let an experienced, proven QB with notable upside slip out of the top 10.
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