Why The Manziel Rumor Works

It's one day before the draft, and very few people are certain of how much interest the Rams really have in Johnny Manziel. The Rams have done nothing to confirm or deny it, and people are still holding their cards close to their chests.

However, this rumor can't be dismissed as a simple smokescreen because of one simple reason: It makes sense!

Let's look at how Johnny Manziel would fit in with the Rams offensive plans... but let's do so by rewinding back one year.

It's time for the 2013 draft, and rumors have been circulating about the Rams drafting Tavon Austin.

The rumors didn't make sense to me... Tavon Austin was a small and speedy receiver, and the Rams were bringing him in to a power running offense... His opportunities would be limited, and I couldn't be convinced that we needed a guy like that in St. Louis - especially when a possession receiver like DeAndre Hopkins was available later in the first.

However, then it occured that maybe the Rams were switching their offensive philosophy to a more spread-out look.

After all, that perfectly fit Sam Bradford's skill set. He's great at reading the defense before the play, getting the ball out of his hands quickly, and methodically moving the chains.

After I realized that, Tavon Austin made perfect sense. He's your ideal slot guy in a spread system, because you can just give him the ball and let him do the rest.

We traded up, and we took Austin #8 overall.

Fast forward to weeks 1-4 of the regular season.

We went 1-3, including two blowout losses against the Cowboys and 49ers.

Our offense struggled to run the ball, and our passing game was anything but dynamic. Our receivers struggled to get open, and defenses pinned their ears back and attacked Sam Bradford on almost every play.

The Spread had failed.

So we moved back to a run-heavy approach, and had moderate offensive success.

Fast forward to the 2014 draft process.

The Rams play the Seahawks and 49ers twice per year. Both of these teams pride themselves on running the football and playing great defense.

Aside from Michael Crabtree (and a healthy Percy Harvin), it's difficult to say that either of these teams have more talented receivers than the Rams...

The Seahawks offensive line isn't more talented than the Rams.

Yet, each of these offenses is more explosive than the Rams.

The missing link? A mobile quarterback...

A mobile quarterback forces the backside defensive end (or OLB) to make a decision on each running play. He can contain the RBs cutback lane, or he can contain the QB. Choosing incorrectly often leads to the defense being gashed, and a large gain being picked up.

A mobile quarterback allows extended time for receivers to get open. When Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick play quarterback, they aren't trying to turn upfield and run every time they get out of the pocket. They're buying time, and protecting themselves. Each of these QBs only runs the ball about 6 times per game.

On passing plays, if the defense has to constantly prepare for the QB to run, they can't put as much focus on the receivers - allowing more dynamic passing plays due to the threat of a QB run.

Johnny Manziel is very similar to Russell Wilson from a prospect standpoint. It's no stretch of the imagination to believe that he could help our offense in the very same way that Wilson helped the Seahawks.

That being said, will we take him? Tomorrow will tell.

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