Johnny Manziel to be top-12 pick, scouts tell columnist

There is no shortage of reported commentary from NFL scouts suggesting that Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel should, if he were to turn pro after the Aggies' bowl game, be a first-round NFL draft pick next spring.

But some of those same comments are in conflict on where in the first round Manziel would likely fall. Some believe early, others late.

Rick Gosselin, a columnist at dallasnews.com, has spoken to few scouts himself. And based on those conversations, he sees the Aggies star gone by the 12th overall pick. This from an online chat session Gosselin took part in Monday:

"I did spend a few weeks talking to NFL types about Manziel. And I came away convinced he's going to be a Top 12 pick," Gosselin wrote.

Manziel has until a Jan. 15 deadline to decide whether to leave college early for the NFL. He hasn't suggested he'll do so, though one of his teammates certainly did, and few expect the dynamic Heisman Trophy winner to invest another year at a level of play he clearly has mastered.

And, as Gosselin points out, there are simply too many NFL clubs in need of a better quarterback to let a talent like Manziel fall too far.

"There's such a premium on quarterbacks in the NFL, I don't see Manziel (falling) regardless how he played in his last two games," Gosselin added. "Too many teams need one. NFL scouts will go all the way back to high school in their research. They will find a dynamic winner who can make plays with his arm or legs and also makes the players around him better."

Figure this much: Any team drafting Manziel as high as the top 12 probably figures to also be making more of a commitment to more of the shotgun formations and zone-read plays that would suit Manziel's skill set. Hard to imagine that much of a draft investment being made in Manziel, only to put him directly under center and change who he is as a player.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.