Jon Gruden is back for another year of his “Gruden QB Camp” on ESPN with potential top draft picks for the NFL Draft in May.
Gruden has already had the opportunity to sit down with Johnny Manziel over a span of a couple days, and came away impressed.
“Somebody in this draft is going to take him in round 1 and be happy they got him,” Gruden told CoachingSearch.com
Gruden’s former Monday Night Football partner, Ron Jaworski, recently said he wouldn’t draft Manziel in the first 3 rounds of the draft. ESPN then turned Jaworski’s comments into 24 hours worth of programming. Gruden responded to Jaws as well.
“Jaws is critical of everybody including me,” Gruden said. “I really like Manziel. If I was coaching today, I would want a quarterback like Johnny Manziel. It’s hard to find a player that can create offense on his own. He does things that Brett Favre did when I was in Green Bay. He does things that Ben Roethlisberger does for the Steelers. He makes yards on his own. He has a strong desire and aptitude to learn and I think that will happen.”
The Johnny Manziel episode of Gruden’s QB Camp will air on March 27th, the same day of Manziel’s personal workout for all 32 teams.
One of the big criticisms by analysts like Ron Jaworski and NFL Films’ senior producer Greg Cosell has been Manziel’s inconsistent play from the pocket. For Gruden, the term “pocket passer” doesn’t concern him about Manziel.
“I don’t think anything is going to be pure in the pocket,” Gruden said about Manziel possibly being a “pocket passer.” “He has his own style of playing quarterback. He reminds me a lot of Steve Young when Steve Young came out of Brigham Young. My Dad drafted him out of the USFL. He was a wild horse back there, but when he did scramble, it was really exciting. Manziel has a lot of similar qualities, but he can adjust and become a pocket passer.”
As expected, Manziel is the draft’s most polarizing player with the widest range of predictions for him. He will be drafted in the 1st round and likely in the top 10. For as many questions about him, there are positives to like. It will only take one team to feel confident enough to take Manziel, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Manziel slip a little bit.
If teams like the Texans, Jaguars, and Browns have any doubts with newer unproven coaches and GMs, it is possible Manziel makes it to the Raiders pick at 5. Al Davis’ son, Mark, now runs the franchise, but Reggie McKenzie runs the football side. It would not surprise me one bit for McKenzie, who came to the Raiders from the Packers, to pass on Manziel if another top quarterback, Sammy Watkins, or Khalil Mack is still on the board.
With that said, Manziel’s slide would end at 7 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. NFL Network’s Charles Davis said on Fan Interference Thursday morning that he would be “shocked” if the Bucs passed on a top quarterback if one was available to them at 7.
Follow Justin Pawlowski on twitter @Commishonline for updates on the NFL Draft and the Buccaneers.