2014 NFL mock draft: Why I picked Johnny Manziel

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

SB Nation is in the midst of its annual NFL blogger mock draft. Yours truly took the Rams in a surprising direction. It's worth an explanation.

The St. Louis Rams made their pick in the 2014 NFL blogger mock draft at SB Nation. I made the pick on behalf of Turf Show Times, and I selected Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.

My Twitter timeline has effectively been rendered useless. We're trying to keep the picks posts shorter in the blogger mock; coordinating 32 different writers and running through two rounds between now and the draft is sort of a big effort. I think I explained the pick fairly well in 150 words or so, but there's more to say about it. An explanation is in order.

First and foremost, it's just a mock draft.

Repeat after me: IT'S JUST A MOCK DRAFT

There's probably nothing more important to remember this time of year. It's one person's opinion. You're free to agree or disagree with it. It's the offseason version of power rankings in that it's just a way to blurb a few thoughts on teams and where they stand while actual football is hold for a few months.

We're not offering up this mock draft (or any of them you'll find on SB Nation) as our informed prediction. Les Snead or any other GM isn't making the pick. We are. It's a completely subjective opinion of who we would draft if we were making the pick.

Manziel was my pick. Like I said in the write up for the post, this isn't happening in reality. (Truth be told, I fully believe that the Rams will take Jadeveon Clowney, unless they trade out of the second spot or Houston takes him first). This pick was simply MY choice ... nobody else's.

I like Manziel. I think he's a talented quarterback, albeit a non-traditional one. That's fine. The NFL is evolving, fast. His game doesn't translate perfectly as is. He's going to need to learn to do more work from the pocket, but you don't want to take away the kind of stuff he can do when he works outside of it. He's like Russell Wilson in that sense, opening new throwing lanes down the field by moving outside of the pocket. Even in an offense that runs the ball 50 percent of the time or more, when you have a quarterback that can do that kind of work with the ball in the air, you don't need to throw it 45 times a game, not when the 25 or so passes can be effective. Factor in the kind of receivers the Rams have, speedy and quick guys like Tavon Austin and Chris Givens, and you've suddenly got one helluva downfield game, the kind of thing you're just not going to see with the current quarterback situation.

It's my opinion that the Rams offense is going to be severely limited with their current quarterback. If you want a dynamic offense, at some point you're going to have to have a dynamic quarterback.

I'm not a Sam Bradford fan, as you well know. It's nothing personal about the guy. I just don't think he can be more than an average NFL quarterback. That's fine. Good, well-rounded teams can even win games and go to the playoffs, maybe even win a Super Bowl, with guys like that ... but it's not common, and it requires a team to be nearly flawless in every other facet of the roster.

And you certainly don't get far carrying an average quarterback who counts $17.6 million against the cap, more than Super Bowl winners like Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

But this pick is less about the current QB, and more about the possibility of taking a new one. It's a leap, going from a four-year veteran to a rookie. Quite honestly, with the current offensive staff, led by Brian Schottenheimer, it would probably be a total disaster. They've done such a poor job of grooming talent and finding ways to use more established players, that a rookie QB, much less an unorthodox one, would suffer.

However, this is purely fantasy. My opinion of what I would do if I were making the pick. I won't even pretend to suggest that it's what I think the Rams should do with the pick. Given the full set of circumstances, they should probably take Clowney or Jake Matthews or Greg Robinson. But this pick wasn't made in that world.

It's just a mock draft.

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