NFL Draft 2014: Latest Rumors on Johnny Manziel and Top Prospects

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NFL Draft 2014: Latest Rumors on Johnny Manziel and Top Prospects
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An event as big as the NFL draft generates plenty of buzz and speculation. With Thursday night's first round quickly approaching, the rumor mill has been spinning at an incredible rate.

There are never any real guarantees on draft night, but that is even truer this year due to the fact that there is so much uncertainty near the top of the draft. One surprising pick could throw everything for a loop and there are plenty of rumors that suggest things will go haywire.

Here is an overview of the wildest rumors that will have fans talking Thursday if they ultimately come to fruition.

 

New York Giants Interested in Johnny Manziel?

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is perhaps the most polarizing prospect in the entire NFL draft. His talent and confidence level could make him a star at the next level, but there are concerns about whether or not his style will translate.

Plenty of teams picking early in the first round desperately need a quarterback. Whether or not they have interest in Johnny Football is a great mystery to this point.

Should Manziel suffer through a precipitous fall past quarterback-needy teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings, a surprise suitor has potentially emerged.

According to Jordan Raanan of NJ.com, the New York Giants will consider selecting Manziel if he drops to No. 12 in the first round.

Manziel could be a huge steal at that juncture, but the Giants already have a two-time Super Bowl winner under center in Eli Manning. Although Manning had a tough year in 2013, he has established himself as a fan favorite in New York and proven capable of handling the bright lights.

With that said, he is no spring chicken at 33 years old, so it might behoove the Giants to prepare for life after Eli.

Per Raanan, general manager Jerry Reese admitted at the NFL Scouting Combine that taking a signal-caller isn't out of the question.

"If there is a quarterback up there when we're picking at the right time, we won't be afraid to pick him," Reese said. "I don't think it's going to present itself in the first round. But we're not afraid."

Even though taking Manziel might be the best move for the G-Men, Luke Halpert of ESPN Radio accurately labeled it a shocking revelation:

There would undoubtedly be something special about a charismatic quarterback like Manziel getting drafted by a team in the Big Apple, so observers will most definitely monitor this situation closely.

 

Buffalo Bills Targeting Odell Beckham?

Conventional wisdom suggests that Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans are the top two receivers in this draft. It is also expected that they will both come off the board inside the top seven selections.

That is somewhat disappointing for the Buffalo Bills, since receiver is regarded by some as a position of need. However, that may not deter them from taking a wideout at No. 9.

According to Joe Buscaglia of WGR 550 Sports Radio in Buffalo, the Bills are very much interested in LSU receiver Odell Beckham.

In fact, Buscaglia believes that they will decide between Beckham and North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron provided Watkins, offensive tackle Jake Matthews, offensive tackle Greg Robinson and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney are all off the board as expected.

It wasn't long ago that Beckham was considered a late first-round pick at best, but ESPN's John Clayton is reporting that Beckham's stock continues to rise as the draft draws closer:

Beckham has blazing speed, running the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds at the combine, per NFL.com. That type of field-stretching ability could open up Buffalo's offense in a big way and make life easier for second-year quarterback EJ Manuel.

The Bills already have Stevie Johnson and second-year man Robert Woods at receiver, and they also acquired Mike Williams from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Something has to give if the Bills take Beckham, so a domino effect could be on the horizon within Buffalo's receiving corps.

 

Oakland Raiders Prefer Mike Evans over Sammy Watkins?

The Oakland Raiders have long been a franchise intrigued by fast and explosive players. With the No. 5 overall selection, Oakland has a golden opportunity to select such a player in the form of Watkins or Evans.

Although it has been assumed throughout the draft process that Watkins would be the first receiver off the board, that may not be the case if both are available to the Raiders.

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According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, a league source is reporting that the Raiders have Evans ahead of Watkins on their draft board.

That doesn't necessarily mean that Oakland will take a receiver and there are no guarantees that one or both of those players will still be out there when the Raiders pick.

The St. Louis Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns could all potentially have interest in a receiver with the second, third and fourth overall picks. At the same time, those teams have several needs that could prompt them to pass.

According to Keith Britton of 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland, Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net confirmed that trading down from No. 4 to take Evans isn't an option for the Browns due to Oakland's mutual interest in the Texas A&M pass-catcher:

Evans may be more physically gifted than Watkins in terms of size and leaping ability, but Watkins' collegiate production speaks for itself. He is a do-everything receiver with good size, speed and hands. There seemingly isn't a single hole in his game, which makes him nearly a sure thing to succeed.

The Raiders will definitely raise some eyebrows if they pass on Watkins in favor of Evans, and it may very well be the latest in a long line of draft blunders.

 

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