We've got four days to go until the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. With two picks, No. 2 and No. 13, the St. Louis Rams can set the tone for the whole night, so GM Les Snead is the subject of much discussion. Most of that discussion in the lead up to the draft is likely going to center on the Rams and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Chatter about the Rams and Johnny Football reached a fever pitch Monday morning, starting with a nugget from Peter King in his MMQB column.
The Rams really like Johnny Manziel, and if he were there at 13 (which is unlikely), they will consider picking him. His workout for the Rams on Friday in Texas, with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer running the show, was impressive, as was the 80-minute post-workout session in the meeting room with Schottenheimer and Jeff Fisher, among others. One other piece of knowledge I got confirmed Sunday: Rams GM Les Snead recently went to Texas Tech and met at length with coach Kliff Kingsbury-Manziel's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at A&M in 2012-and came away thinking Manziel could adjust to life well as an NFL passer. Does that mean the Rams will take Manziel if he's there at 13? I am still dubious. But I can tell you the Rams like him a lot.
That's definitely more than casual tire kicking, possibly even more than an orchestrated smokescreen. Manziel's draft stock is rising. Many now have him as the top QB in the draft this year, albeit hardly as a sure thing. With a fair number of teams needing quarterbacks, hype around Manziel and the Rams' interest in him certainly doesn't hurt their prospects for trading picks.
NFL Films guru Greg Cosell went one step further with the Rams-Manziel talk on a Monday morning radio appearance with Lance Zierlein in Houston.
Greg Cosell just said he believe Johnny Manziel will go #2 to the Rams. Wow! buy his stock now: http://t.co/Z7Un9F5hFk— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) May 5, 2014
Zierlein offered his opinion on the news in subsequent tweets, which you can go read on his timeline.
ESPN's Adam Caplan followed up that with a little more insight into what the rest of the league is thinking.
Popular theory with personnel execs. RT @LanceZierlein: Greg Cosell just said he believe Johnny Manziel will go #2 to the Rams.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) May 5, 2014
Caplan's tweet is the most interesting of the bunch and takes it all back into a certain vagueness. If league execs are thinking this, the smokescreen idea has to be in play. Then again, maybe it doesn't.
I suspect nobody is really going to know until Thursday night, but I expect to hear plenty more about the Rams and Johnny Manziel until then ... that's a guarantee.