By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)
I cannot believe I am going to say this, but maybe it is time for “Johnny Football” to become “Johnny Jacksonville.”
There, I said it. Johnny Manziel should be a member of the Jaguars. It was painful, but honestly it makes a lot of sense for this team moving forward to not only draft a quarterback, but get the most exciting player in the draft. The Jaguars have several holes to fill - two of which are a solid franchise quarterback, and a stud running back. Manziel is one part Fran Tarkenton, one part Drew Brees, one part Russell Wilson and one part Brett Favre. Mix them all together and you have instant excitement - something this team needs more than any other team in the NFL besides Cleveland and Oakland.
I am not a fan of Manziel the person. I am a fan of Manziel the football player. I think the Jaguars must think long and hard before pulling the trigger on a move like this, mainly because there is some liabilities with Manziel the person off the playing field. But the ability and athleticism is there,
Maybe we should throw some Doug Flutie in there for good measure.
When the Jaguars pick 3rdover all, it is a good bet Teddy Bridgewater will be off the board and either Jadeveon Clowney or Jake Matthews will be the next player chosen. There may be many teams in the Top 10 who will want to move up to 2ndoverall to grab Manziel or Clowney. Personally, this idea of Dallas swooping in and taking Manziel continues to pop in my head. But whoever is left after the second pick, Jacksonville has to decide whether it wants a DeMarcus Ware-type player or Russell Wilson - a player the Jaguars could have had at No. 71 in the draft, but chose some guy named Bryan Anger instead. For that reason alone, the Jaguars had better take the quarterback.
At No. 35 the Jaguars can then focus on someone like running back Tre Mason of Auburn or defensive end Aaron Donald of Pittsburgh. Not a bad way to start the 2014 season off. The 2013 Draft was solid for this team, and a draft that begins quarterback, defensive end or tailback looks to be a winner as well.
The selection of Manziel is about excitement - but it is also a marketing bonanza for this team. ESPN, CNN, Bleacher Report and every other sports media outlet will be in Jacksonville every week. And if for some reason Manziel is starter from day one, then Jacksonville becomes a destination. Players will want to play with “Johnny Jacksonville” and if this team starts winning, maybe seven wins next season, then there will be a lot more to celebrate than just change. The culture of this town will embrace him like they did Mark Brunell and Maurice Jones-Drew. Dare I say, it would be Tebow-like in its approach.
And most of all, it means the Jaguars become relevant again - no matter what the team’s record is because the player on the field becomes more important than wins and losses.
I guess it is time I, too, get on the Johnny Manziel train.
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