Johnny Manziel is the most-talked about player leading up to the NFL Draft. Or at least that's been the case over the past couple days with Teddy Bridgewater's falling stock. Multiple teams in the top 10 could be after Manziel's services, and it's pretty clear he's not going to make it past that 10th pick. In fact, it's seeming more and more likely that he ends up being taken in the top five, potentially by a team that trades up for him.
Tuesday saw multiple rumors regarding Manziel. The most prominent rumors surround the Cleveland Browns, who hold the No. 4 overall pick in the draft. Monday saw Chris Mortensen of ESPN reporting that Manziel wouldn't make it past the Browns at No. 4, but Jay Glazer of FOX Sports refuted that report on Tuesday, as reported by Pro Football Talk.
"ESPN has reported all night that the Cleveland Browns are taking Johnny Manziel, and I am here to tell you they are not," Glazer said on FOX Sports Radio. He went on to say that team owner Jimmy Haslam didn't tell the team that they had to draft Manziel. That's in response to reports that Haslam might interfere with the draft process, something head coach Mike Pettine also refuted on Tuesday, via Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network.
When asked about Haslam potentially getting involved, Pettine said "that would never happen." So at this point we have conflicting reports over the past couple days, but at the very least, the Browns have to be interested in Manziel and have been for some time, by all accounts. If this has all been one big plan to confuse everyone, then it's been successful.
But that's not where the Manziel rumors end. On Tuesday, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were interested in moving up to No. 2, and that the player they'd want is Manziel. It would make sense for them, as new head coach Lovie Smith wants his own guy and there's been talk about potentially trading second-year quarterback Mike Glennon.
Rams have "six to eight" players in play at No. 2
The St. Louis Rams hold the No. 2 overall pick, and what they'll do with it is anybody's guess. On Tuesday, head coach Jeff Fisher didn't offer any clarity on the subject, saying that the Rams have "identified six to eight players that we think could potentially fit us at two." While this doesn't offer a lot in regards to who the team could be after, it does lend some credibility to the thought that the Rams might consider trading down.
Photo credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports
If there really are eight players that the Rams like at No. 2, that means there's at least seven players they'd be able to get and be happy with taking (assuming one of them goes at No. 1 to the Houston Texans). If they consider these players equals, then the Rams could easily drop down a couple spots and then take one of those players. A willing trade partner could be interested in moving up for, say, Johnny Manziel? There's enough rumors to fuel that fire.
Blake Bortles drawing plenty of interest
Blake Bortles is considered one of the top three quarterbacks in this draft, next to the aforementioned Manziel and Bridgewater. Where Bortles ends up going varies wildly between mock drafts, but it could be pretty early on. Peter King of Sports Illustrated reports that both the Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals could be interested in Bortles higher than King originally thought.
For reference, King had the Browns taking Bortles at pick No. 26, which they acquired in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts. But if those two teams are interested higher than that, could King perhaps mean they're talking about No. 4 overall when the Browns pick, or when the Cardinals pick first? At this point it's unclear, but it almost seems as though Bortles has been overlooked in recent weeks, whereas most consider him a perfectly capable starting candidate in his rookie year.
Lions "very serious" about Sammy Watkins
Wide receiver prospect Sammy Watkins says that the Detroit Lions have made it clear to him that they are "very serious" about moving up in the NFL Draft to select him, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. Watkins is considered the top wide receiver in the draft, and is one of the top players overall. He's consistently mocked as going within the top five picks and doesn't make it out of the top 10 in any mock draft.
Detroit has Calvin Johnson, so the need for a wide receiver isn't huge, but without Nate Burleson (he left in free agency), they could use some help opposite "Megatron." Watkins would be able to step in and immediately be a starter while also facing teams' No. 2 cornerbacks. That could mean a weekly field day for quarterback Matthew Stafford. Detroit currently holds the No. 10 overall pick.
Jets looking to trade into top 10
The New York Jets are trying to trade up from No. 18 to the top 10, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. The Jets are trying to land a top-flight wide receiver, and this is one of the deepest drafts at the position in years. Unfortunately, that means once the receivers start to go -- we're talking after Watkins and Mike Evans are gone -- there should be a big run on wide receivers. Fortunately, the receiver they reportedly want -- Odell Beckham of LSU -- should be there in the back-end of the top 10. Some believe he'd be there at No. 18 as well.