NFL Draft rumors 2014: Latest on Johnny Manziel speculation

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

The hottest rumor of the day is that the Rams could nab Manziel at No. 2, but the Jaguars, Bucs and Vikings may be in play as well.

With the 2014 NFL Draft just one day away, the Johnny Manziel rumors are flying around quicker than … well, Johnny Manziel.

The reports are all over the map: from Johnny going No. 1 overall to him taking a precipitous fall, a postulation made by Todd McShay on Wednesday afternoon. While nearly everyone between the Houston Texans at No. 1 and the Dallas Cowboys at No. 16  have been linked to him, at least one team toward the top has reportedly ruled him out: the Cleveland BrownsJay Glazer disputed a report by the Worldwide Leader on Tuesday, saying, "ESPN has reported that the Cleveland Browns are taking Johnny Manziel and I am here to tell you, they are not."

Reports of the Browns' disinterest have really gotten the rumor mill turning, as it opens up opportunities for quarterback-needy teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings. We're here to help you sort through the insanity by breaking down the franchises most likely to grab him and the latest rumors suggesting they will. Buckle down, folks, this is almost over.

Johnny Texan

Rumors from inside Manziel's inner circle suggest his family would prefer he not end up with the Texans. They would reportedly rather have him go to a team outside of Texas, believing it would make it easier to leave his Johnny Football, party persona behind, in turn easing his transition to the NFL.

Why this makes sense

Despite what his family thinks, it's not as if Manziel is going to turn down being the No. 1 pick. Houston has been diligent in its research on him and bringing in a homegrown talent would instantly rekindle interest in a franchise desperate to do so after last year's debacle.

Why this doesn't make sense

The growing consensus around the league is that the Texans will make Jadeveon Clowney the first player off the board. Houston is playing it close to the chest, but at this point the likelihood of Manziel going No. 1 seems dim.

Liklihood: 3/10

Johnny Ram

The latest from NFL Network's Albert Breer is that the St. Louis Rams are among three teams -- the Vikings and Buccaneers included -- that could be in play for Manziel. They hold both the No. 2 and No. 13 picks.

Why this makes sense

Sure, the Rams spent the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft on Sam Bradford. But Bradford has had an up-and-down pro career and is coming off ACL surgery. Even more significant is the fact that Bradford, whose monster contract was signed before the implementation of the current rookie wage scale, is scheduled to count $17.61 million against the cap in 2014. One possibility that's been floated recently involves a trade that would send Bradford to Minnesota.

Why this doesn't make sense

Rams head coach Jeff Fisher attempted to stifle burgeoning Manziel rumors on Tuesday, calling Bradford his starter and saying that his trip to Texas A&M was just as much about working out wideout Mike Evans and left tackle Jake Matthews as it was about looking into Manziel. Despite Bradford's mammoth contract, it may make more sense to hold onto him and use the No. 2 pick to grab him some help in the form of a guy like Sammy Watkins.

Liklihood: 5/10

Johnny Jaguar

Manziel to Jacksonville is one of the hottest rumors of the week, spearheaded by John McClain's report that the Jaguars plan to take him at No. 3.

Why this makes sense

The Jags are a franchise not only in need of a reliable quarterback, but, after the breakdown and eventual departure of Maurice Jones-Drew, a legitimate superstar to garner attention and fill the seats. Manziel provides both. General manager Dave Caldwell has gone on record saying Manziel is the most NFL-ready quarterback in this class.

Why this doesn't make sense

Chad Henne isn't an awful option under center, and the Jags have plenty of other areas of need, including an outside pass rusher. Grabbing a guy like Khalil Mack might make more sense here.

Furthermore, there's the recent rumor that Manziel has no interest in playing in Jacksonville, a smaller market area. The draftee obviously isn't the one making this decision in this situation, but tell that to Eli Manning.

Likelihood: 8/10

Johnny Buccaneer

In addition to Breer's report, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk claimed on Tuesday night that if the Bucs were to trade up to No. 2, it would be for Manziel.

Why this makes sense

With Mike Glennon trade rumors running rampant in Tampa, it seems that Lovie Smith wants to bring in a new option under center. There seems to be little doubt that the Bucs are very interested in Manziel; the question is are they willing to trade up to grab him, or will they wait around to see if he falls to them at No. 7?

Why this doesn't make sense

The Bucs lack a fourth-round pick and also need to focus on grabbing a starting wide receiver and offensive guard in this draft. That means they don't have a whole lot of ammunition to throw into a potential trade-up.

There's also a question of how well Manziel fits the Bucs' offensive system. Here's Bucs Nation's take:

The fit of Johnny Manziel with Jeff Tedford's offense, which thrives on structure and predictability, is dubious to me. ... There's a certain tension between an offensive coordinator who tries to find an answer for everything, and a quarterback who has a tendency to abandon structure for improvisation.

Liklihood: 6/10

Johnny Viking

Breer reports that the Vikings visited nine different quarterback prospects, but maintains Manziel is one of their leading candidates with the No. 8 pick.

Why this makes sense

Matt Cassel is a fill-in starter at best, meaning the Vikings have to grab a franchise quarterback this weekend. Assuming they don't swing the Bradford trade with the Rams, Manziel is the lead candidate. Having Cassel on the roster allows Manziel to take his time wading in, negating some of the concern that he's not NFL ready. Plus there's the whole Manziel-and-Adrian-Peterson-on-the-same-field thing.

Why this doesn't make sense

Zimmer is defensive coach, meaning he could be more inclined to lay the groundwork on that side of the ball in Year 1. Throw in the fact that he's publicly questioned Manziel's "red flags," and you have a healthy amount of skepticism. Perhaps the biggest obstacle in Manziel's path to Minnesota is Tampa Bay, which lays in wait one spot above. If the Vikings are serious about grabbing Manziel, they may have to trade up to do so.

Liklihood: 7/10

More from SBNation.com

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.