I know what you’re thinking. Well, I could take a few guesses.
“We love Sam Bradford!”
“We hate Sam Bradford!”
“We love Johnny Manziel!”
“We hate Johnny Manziel!”
…and, the inevitable “Johnny Manziel is a toxic, narcissistic soul-barren trash dump of a human being who is more interested in what he can get from his fame and where he can make it rain on strippers than he is in being part of a winning and cohesive football team” argument. Trust me, I’ve made it a few times.
Have you actually seen him play, though? My. God.
Yeah, he’s kind of a punk. He is 21 years old. He won the nation’s most prestigious individual college football honor as a freshman (technically speaking, a sophomore). He was catapulted over the course of six months from almost invisibility (which is hard to do in the SEC, let me tell you) to Heisman winner. Of course he’s a punk. Think about how you would have acted in the same situation.
However, I get ahead of myself. We’re talking about the Rams here. The Texans, as we all know, hold the #1 pick in May’s (how weird is that? May? Since when is the draft in May?) NFL Draft, and if anyone even smelled a football game last season, you know Houston needs a quarterback like Tony Romo needs Jerry Jones to get hit by a bus.
So we get it. Houston isn’t sticking with Matt “Let’s see how many TAINTs (Touchdown After INT) I can throw” Schaub, and Case Keenum apparently isn’t the future. Not his fault, I’d say, but can you imagine a defensive line bookended by J.J. Watt and Jadaveon Clowney? Terrifying. Even though Manziel said the Texans would be making a huge mistake by not picking him, I think it’s a mistake they’d be glad to make. Remember Mario Williams over the “clear No. 1” Reggie Bush? Worked out well for them up until this season. Therefore, I propose the Texans will take Clowney #1 overall.
If they don’t trade the pick.
Johnny doesn’t necessarily want to play for the Texans. He wants to be the #1 pick, and he doesn’t care who it is. Could you see Cleveland trading up to grab him to chuck long balls to Josh Gordon? The fantasy player in me shivers with anticipation. Or even him pairing with Justin Blackmon in Jacksonville? I mean, assuming Blackmon attends rehab and gets his shit together, he had an amazing stretch with Chad Freaking Henne under center.
That brings us to the Rams. I wasn’t high on Bradford coming out of Oklahoma, and he hasn’t done diddly to win me over since. As one of the last #1 picks to get a monster contract under the previous CBA, so the Rams are in the last year of his rookie deal; they have a financial obligation to stick with him, as well as a “well, you were doing okay before your terrible, terrible injury so we’ll give you a pass” obligation.
Look, the Rams were competitive with Kellen Who The Hell Is That Clemens as a starter, so literally anyone they can trust to throw the ball more than 10 times a game is an upgrade, whether it’s Bradford or not. That’s not an argument, it’s a fact.
So, I propose the following: Houston takes Clowney, Jacksonville does something irreparably stupid (Shad Khan wants that team in L.A. so bad it’s making his gums bleed, because he should have signed Tebow), Cleveland maybe trades up and the Rams choose:
Blake Bortles, QB, UCF.
They don’t have to pay him squat, have him locked up for three years, and he can learn behind Bradford. Remember that concept? Drafting a quarterback but not starting him right away because that’s crazy? The NFL used to do that before RG3 and Andrew Luck, and it worked more often than not. Luck started because he had to (What, were you going to let Dan “Safety” Orlovsky take snaps? Remember how well that worked?).
I mean yes, neither Orlovsky nor Curtis “Career Manning Backup” Painter were on the roster, and neither was You Know Who, so Luck was The Guy from Day 1. So was Griffin. But still, Bortles is the obvious choice for the Rams here. He’s a proven guy, he can win the big game (against Baylor, he was fantastic), and he’s so squeaky clean you could eat off his cleats. He has no ego, because he just doesn’t need to. That’s the kind of guy we need, so when Bradford inevitably fails to engender fan support (because of crappy play calls, let’s be honest here), Bortles can play when he’s ready.
Or the Rams take another OL at #2, or they trade down for another receiver, or they just decide to abandon the pass entirely and give Zac Stacy 40 carries per game until his legs fall off. That’s the beautiful thing about the NFL offseason: We can write whatever we want, and everything makes sense until the draft, and then no one will care.
Bortles in ’14! Mark my words. Or don’t. Whatever, I don’t care.