At a time when the decision of the Raiders to host quarterback Johnny Manziel has sparked plenty of speculation that Oakland could take Manziel with the fifth overall pick in the draft, the Raiders may not get the chance to do so.
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, one of the most respected NFL writers in the country and a guy who is as plugged in to the team he covers as anyone in the business, projects Manziel to the Texans with the first overall pick in the draft.
There’s a tongue-in-cheek quality to McClain’s mock draft (which makes us like it a lot more than most other mock drafts). In his first projection of the picks, he put Blake Bortles at the top. And McClain points out that the “experts” currently have the Texans taking defensive end Jadeveon Clowney with the No. 1 pick.
Manziel’s placement at No. 1 will excite Texans fans and confound critics of Johnny Football, some of whom see Manziel falling all the way out of round one. It also complicates Houston’s eventual decision-making process, since there’s a good chance the Texans could trade out of the top spot and get Manziel later.
But how much later? If the Raiders want him, the floor would be No. 4. But it would be a shock if the Raiders take anyone other than someone who will come in and help make an impact right away as a rookie, since G.M. Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen won’t be around to see what Manziel can do in 2015 if the team doesn’t win in 2014.
Of course, if the Texans trade down they run the risk of someone trading up to get the guy they want before the Texans can pounce. Which is why the Texans need to continue to keep their true intentions secret. Although they currently control the board, they need to have the ability to slide down and claim that the player they get in a lower spot is the guy they would have taken at No. 1.
Even if, you know, he isn’t.