Raise The Johnny Rodger? Buccaneers Should Take Manziel
By Christopher Scali
The 2014 NFL Draft is mere hours away and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be on the clock with the seventh overall pick. What move will they make in order for the team to take the next step down in Tampa Bay? This is a huge draft for the Buccaneers and they have no room for error with any of their selections. With QB Josh Freeman sent packing and only Mike Glennon and Josh McCcown left on the roster, who will be the face of the franchise? The Bucs need to make some pretty drastic moves to ensure that this draft goes down as a success.
Rumors have been sailing around the NFL that Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel visited Tampa Bay and the team was very impressed with his abilities. I personally love how he can scramble out of the pocket to extend the play and kill defenders with his speed - but can that work in the NFL? Everyone is saying that the “run-and-gun" quarterback is quickly fading and teams are looking for the prototypical pocket passer. But look at Seattle's Russell Wilson and San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick - they both have the same style of play as Manziel and have had great success in the league. Manziel was a freak of nature during his college playing days, throwing for 4,114 yards, 37 touchdowns with just 13 interceptions.
Manziel is a very unique quarterback and fans are curious about where he is going to land. If he does fall to the Buccaneers and they choose to take him, I would honestly be very happy about that move. The Buccaneers need to try a new method to win football games, and maybe Manziel is the answer. I want the starting quarterback position to be a dog fight in 2014 and I don’t want head coach Lovie Smith just handing the starting job to the veteran McCown. All talent must be evaluated fairly and properly. McCown only had one solid season off the bench - that does not mean he should be the starting quarterback right away. Glennon should also get a fair evaluation in his second season.
Tampa Bay must win football games and the team needs a solid quarterback to do so. At first, I had some doubts about Manziel but after watching him perform at the NFL Scouting Combine and his Pro Day, I think he may have a shot. But if he is drafted by the Bucs, Smith may have to adapt his playbook to Manziel's playing style. Smith should include some spread option plays and should put him in the Shotgun and T-Bone formations. With Manziel under center, many defenses won't know what play is going to come next.
Manziel is smart, tough, and he is a playmaker. I would love to see him in a Buccaneers uniform this upcoming season. Manziel must be patient in the pocket and let the plays develop, but he has the ability to make the most of any play. The NFL is a whole different animal than college football and he must learn that quick. He has the ability to win football games and take teams to the games that really matter - he proved that in college, especially beating top-ranked Alabama at Tuscaloosa. I know he has the drive to take this Bucs squad to the postseason.
The NFL Draft is a fickle beast, so we'll just have to wait and see how it shakes out.