I think this one's a no-brainer. As with most of this pre-draft stuff, I try to restrain myself from the rampant speculation. I recognize that some people just do it for kicks, but I just get too amped up if I let myself.
So I stick to the knowables. The broad generalizations. The draft generally follows some pretty predictable patterns, especially with respect to QBs, which is why I felt confident enough to declare a few weeks ago that the Texans would pass up on Clowney ("I Am Certain On One Thing"). So you'll get no overly complex scenarios from me. Just cold hard facts and analysis.
What do I think I know about Johnny Football and the Rams? Well, Jeff Fisher's been through QB controversies before. It's part of why he left Tennessee. It wasn't the same kind of QB controversy as he'd have if he took Manziel, but it left a raw enough taste in his mouth to stay out of football for a year. We don't have enough here to rule Manziel out outright, but it significantly reduces the possibility.
We also know that Sammy B was the main factor in bringing Fisher here. The injuries may have left some doubts as to his true potential, but is it worth it to Fisher to start all over again at QB in the final year of the 3-year playoff "we're-rebuilding-but-we-swear-it's-not-really-rebuilding" plan? I think he, and Snead to a large extent, would rather use the pick on a position that wouldn't require rebuilding the offense.
And that's another thing. Johnny Football's a spread-offense, shotgun QB. He's good at it, no doubt, but last year's 4-game debacle proved that we don't have the players to run that kind of offense, hungry as the fan base is for one.
Before this rumor mill got going, Les Snead was in a weak position. There's no consensus top QB (or even top pair, like the 2012 draft), and the presence of Clowney further hinders his ability resort to taking the top QBs hostage. Whatever power Snead has derives from what the Texans will do, which severely limits his window for negotiation.
Which is why my conclusion is that putting up a smokescreen with Manziel is the most sensible thing to do. It puts pressure on the most vulnerable teams - the Browns, Jacksonville, etc. - who are hoping that Manziel drops to them, since they know they have no realistic shot at Bridgewater. Snead's already played the alternative scenario before - and the interest he expressed in Tavon Austin forced him to trade up. Do you really think he's going to make the same play again and basically waste a high pick on a QB who will turn the team upside-down?