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Johnny Chronicles: Draft prep begins


The week that was in the always unpredictable life of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel:

Two up

1. If LeBron James has anything to say about it, Manziel's off-field earnings are going way up, and in short order. After Manziel formally signed with James' business partner, Mav Carter, to handle his marketing matters, James took to Instagram to open the door:

2. How about stock up? Manziel's draft stock can't get any higher than No. 1, and that's exactly where NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt placed him earlier this week. The best talent in the draft, from the foremost authority on talent evaluation. Now the only question is whether the Houston Texans, who hold the No. 1 pick, agree.

Two down

1. Down for the No. 5 overall pick in the draft is Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, who was asked about Manziel on Thursday.

Something about Manziel's rebel image seems to fit the Raiders like a glove. McKenzie's quote isn't exactly revealing, of course, but he can't deny the club has a need for a quarterback. And an NFL with a Manziel-led, resurgent Raiders team would be a more fun NFL.

2. New Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien is just getting down to business with an evaluation of Manziel as a potential No. 1 overall pick, he told ESPN. So far, he said, a couple of Manziel games on TV is the extent of his knowledge.

"Johnny's a guy that I've only seen on TV, so I haven't even studied him on tape yet. I think I've only seen him on TV twice. But I think he's a very exciting player, one of the better college players to come along in a long time, and I'm looking forward to studying him as a player," O'Brien said.

Combine prep

Manziel will be spending the next few months in San Diego to prepare for the draft with quarterback guru George Whitfield, according to Brandt. Whitfield has worked with some big names at the position, including Cam Newton and Andrew Luck.

Whitfield's first challenge? Have Manziel in tip-top shape for the NFL Scouting Combine, which is now a little more than a month away. It remains to be seen if Manziel will participate fully in the event.


Over the next few months, draft reporting and speculation will eventually link a number of prospects to various clubs. For now, however, a Manziel-to-the-Browns narrative is developing at a more rapid rate than any other. NFL Media analysts Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks are buying, at least with their initial mock drafts. The draft is still a long way off, and by early May, it could be some other club expected to make Manziel its own. If the Browns' head-coaching hire is someone with a history of embracing mobility in his quarterback, however, the Manziel-to-Cleveland drumbeat will only get louder.

Farewell for now

From the time Texas A&M's regular season ended against Missouri in late November until this week, Manziel's activity on social media spiked in a big way. But it looks like Johnny Football will be taking a break from Twitter and Instagram to prepare for his draft evaluations, based on this apparent farewell:

So what are the odds Manziel actually stays away from Twitter posts that long? Slim, perhaps, but at the behest of coach Kevin Sumlin, Manziel went four months and five days between posts during the football season (Aug. 1 to Dec. 6). It would take about the same length of time for Manziel to steer clear from Twitter posting until the draft.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.



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