Johnny Manziel most NFL-ready QB in draft, says Jaguars GM

Sean Gardner

Johnny Manziel is the most NFL-ready of the quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL Draft, according to the GM of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Johnny Manziel racked up 63 passing touchdowns and 30 rushing touchdowns in just two seasons with the Texas A&M Aggies, but there are a list of potential concerns that could dissuade a team from selecting the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner in the 2014 NFL Draft. While many believe Manziel will need some time to adjust to the NFL level, Dave Caldwell, the general manager of the Jacksonville Jaguars, disagrees.

At his pre-draft press conference, Caldwell told reporters, including Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union, that "most" of the passers in the 2014 draft class would not be ready to start early in their NFL careers. He noted one exception, though.

"Johnny [Manziel] would probably be the one guy you could plug in there sooner rather than later just because his style of play isn't going to change much from year one to year two," Caldwell said.

Manziel, 21, earned a reputation for flair during his time with the Aggies, as he racked up highlights that predominantly featured him running around defenders. Caldwell noted that he didn't believe Manziel would require much adjustment to fit into the system of Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch.

"We talked about that a lot," Caldwell said. "It wouldn't be anything where he would have to change it substantially."

The Jaguars are owners of the No. 3 selection in the draft, but most experts have Buffalo outside linebacker Khalil Mack and Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins as the favored selections for the team in the first round. Still, the team has made it very clear that they intend to select at least one quarterback and with Chad Henne as the only viable option on the roster, it wouldn't be surprising if the team forced a player into the lineup sooner rather than later.

If the Jaguars choose to select a player at a position other than quarterback, they won't be slated to select again until the No. 39 selection on the second day of the Draft. Ahead of them in the pecking order in the second round are the QB-needy Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The last quarterback drafted by the Jaguars was 2011 first-round pick, Blaine Gabbert, who was traded to the San Francisco 49ers in March. Gene Smith was fired as the team's general manager following the 2012 season and was replaced by Caldwell, who hired head coach Gus Bradley shortly thereafter.

Manziel compiled an 20-6 record in two seasons at Texas A&M, earning victories in the Cotton Bowl and Chick-fil-A Bowl before foregoing his final two years of eligibility to enter the draft.

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