After scepticism early in the year, Johnny Manziel is flying up NFL Draft boards.
ESPN’s draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. released his first mock draft today, and he has Johnny Football going No. 1 overall to the Houston Texans.
It’s the first time we’ve seen him this high on anyone’s board.
“I spoke to a number of high-ranking NFL evaluators this week, and this is the one QB anyone felt certain was a top-5 pick,” Kiper wrote.
NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah has Manziel going No. 4 overall to the Cleveland Browns — which is still surprisingly high.
So his stock is really going nuts right now.
Manziel’s rise can be attributed to a variety of factors.
First, the NFL has become much more receptive to non-traditional quarterbacks. A few years ago, Manziel might have been considered too much of a risk. But with guys like Russell Wilson succeeding, Manziel enters a league that’s ready to use his unique skill set.
He has also benefitted from a number of high-profile QB prospects staying in school. Both Oregon’s Marcus Mariotta and UCLA’s Brett Hundley went back to college for the 2014 season. At the time that they made their decisions, they were both considered better prospects than Johnny Football by the experts.
But Johnny’s excellent sophomore reason is the main reason why so many scouts now love him. He quietly improved as a passer, silencing some of the worries that his freshmen year was a fluke. In addition, he didn’t do anything too outrageous off the field — which was reportedly a concern for NFL people back in the fall.
There’s still a long way to go until the draft. But right now he’s the hot name.
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