Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien has concerns about the work ethic of former Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel, but both he and Central Florida's Blake Bortles are in contention to be the No. 1 overall pick by the Texans in the upcoming NFL draft, according to sportsonearth.com's Russ Lande.
"According to trusted sources, the Texans are initially leaning towards taking either Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel with the top pick. Although Manziel would obviously be the choice of owner Bob McNair, O'Brien is not sold that Manziel possesses the work ethic and intangibles necessary to be the face of a franchise," wrote Lande, a former Rams and Browns scout.
O'Brien is very much a no-nonsense coach, and Manziel's college reputation for offseason partying could be the reason for the disconnection.
If the Texans passed on Manziel for Bortles, and with the St. Louis Rams unlikely to draft a quarterback at No. 2, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns would have a shot at Manziel and/or Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Both the Jaguars and Browns are in need of a quarterback, as are the Oakland Raiders picking at No. 5.
Beyond the character concerns, questions about Manziel also include his height and durability. Although he enjoyed two relatively healthy seasons in College Station, his 200-pound frame and fearless scrambling could conspire to shorten his career if he absorbs too much punishment early. Still, the potential Texans fan appeal for Manziel, as a potential home-state quarterback star, would figure to be a nice bonus if the club assesses Manziel to be its franchise cornerstone. But it's not as though ticket sales are lagging without him. The Texans averaged 71,658 home fans in 2013 at Reliant Stadium, which has a capacity of 71,500.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.