By John Bauer
Special to Pro Football Guru
With Week 10 upon us in the NFL, it’s never too early to talk NFL draft. Teams like the Denver Broncos and the surprising Kansas City Chiefs (who had the #1 pick last season) have bigger fish to fry, at 7-1 and 9-0 respectively. The playoffs seem like a certainty.
That being said there is always the other side of the proverbial coin, teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars, both 0-8 respectively, are in a fight for the #1 pick in next May’s draft. This year’s draft on paper seems to be a deep one with big time names like Teddy Bridgewater, Tajh Boyd, Jadeveon Clowney and Sammy Watkins. Based on projections on many mock draft sites, they could change the fortunes for the franchise who calls their name in May.
Of all the game-changing names that could be called over the three-day mega-event that unofficially starts off the NFL season, one man hasn’t been receiving much talk for one of May’s top spots that has the chance to be bigger than all the names mentioned above. That man is just as compelling off the field as he is on it. He’s the 6’1” gunslinger from Tyler, Texas. He is a must-have on your favorite NFL team’s roster.
He is, of course, Johnny Manziel.
Over the next several weeks I will make a case for why the first freshman in college football history to win the Heisman Trophy, should be drafted by every team in the NFL. Some spots on this list will make complete sense and others like Manziel himself will rub you the wrong way.
This week’s team is the Jacksonville Jaguars. Why not start with one of the NFL's worst franchises? It’s pretty clear this team is in serious need of a new identity, with rumors of relocation (Los Angeles and London) and a fan base that is growing increasingly nonexistent, 29th in overall attendance (according to ESPN.com). Outside of Maurice Jones-Drew, this team lacks serious star power, which gives fans no reason to fill the seats in Jacksonville.
So how does a franchise that has won seven games since the start of the 2011 season fill the seats and re-energize the culture surrounding Jacksonville? With none of the top free agents lining up to play in Jacksonville, the answer is an obvious one, it’s through the draft. With the instant success of rookie quarterbacks over the past few years, it’s clear they need to take the QB of the future and put a face on this faceless franchise. This year’s consensus number-one pick seems to be Teddy Bridgewater out of Louisville.
Nothing against Bridgewater but he plays inferior opponents in the below average AAC, with only one other team in the AP Top 25. And that team just so happened to beat Bridgewater’s Cardinals. Meanwhile Texas A&M, along with five other teams in the SEC, are all above the Cardinals in the AP Top 25.
Ask any person who Bridgewater is and you may have a few people know of him. Ask the same question about Johnny and EVERYONE has an opinion on him. He sparks a debate almost immediately. Marketability is huge in turning a franchise around. By a landslide, Manziel wins hands down over every name in this draft class.
Love or hate him, “Johnny Football” is must see TV when he comes on the screen. You can’t help but watch, either wanting him to screw up or waiting to see what big play he will pull off. Every move that man makes is newsworthy. Yes, Manziel has had some off the field issues and made a few errors in judgment, but what 20 year old kid hasn’t?
We all know the off the field issues that he has had so I won’t bore you with all of that. With the right people around him and a bit of maturity, “Johnny Football” has the potential to be a mega star in this league as well as a highly successful franchise quarterback. Johnny won’t ever be the most likeable guy in the league, but great players usually aren’t.
So Jacksonville, you have a big decision on your hands with having the number-one pick (potentially). And you have a great opportunity to start turning things around when you are officially on the clock.
Stay tuned next week as I travel down to Big D, and find out why the Dallas Cowboys and Jerry Jones are in serious need of “Johnny Football.”
Be sure to check me out daily on Twitter @The__Junkies (yes, that’s a double underscore) for even more insight into the world of sports.