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Warner: Jadeveon Clowney over Johnny Manziel as Texans' pick

  • By Daniel Kim NFL.com
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Johnny Manziel wowed several observers with his pro day performance Thursday, a 64-pass display that NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks described as "spectacular" and said would resonate with coaches and scouts in their draft evaluations. NFL Media's Kurt Warner was among the analysts who were impressed by the Manziel Show, but not without reservations -- he isn't quite ready to crown Manziel with the No. 1 overall pick just yet.

In an interview with the Texans' offical website, Warner cautioned that questions remain about Manziel's abilities as an NFL quarterback. His pro day might have erased some doubts, but Warner said plenty still exist, pointing to Manziel's relative lack of experience.

"I want a guy that wants to win regardless of what he does, and I think Johnny's that guy," Warner said. "The problem with Johnny is that there's still a lot of questions, and some of it is because he's only played two years in college. We don't know what he's going to be. To win in the National Football League, you have to win in the pocket. You have to know what you're seeing. You have to be able to make those throws first, and I just don't think we have the body of work to say he's that guy."

Manziel made his mark during his two-year stint as Texas A&M's quarterback, winning the Heisman Trophy as a redshirt freshman and arguably having an even better season the following year, passing for 4,114 yards with 37 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He skipped his final two years of eligibility to enter the NFL draft.

In discussing Manziel as a potential No. 1 pick, Warner's concern about Manziel's ability to thrive in the pocket is not uncommon, especially for those who don't quite see his frenetic style fitting into Texans coach Bill O'Brien's offense. But O'Brien himself said earlier this week that he believes Manziel can in fact succeed as a pocket passer.

Warner acknowledged the Texans' need for a quarterback makes Manziel an interesting option, but it's a defensive star who stands out to him as a player the Texan's can't pass up.

"I think Johnny Manziel is the guy that intrigues me the most," he said, "but I think (Jadeveon) Clowney is such a rare, physical specimen, a guy that you're not going to see very often in this business, and because I have a few questions about the quarterback position, I'd probably go that direction."

Warner, of course, isn't alone in his draft assessment. Four of the six NFL.com mock drafts have Clowney going No. 1 overall to the Texans.

If the Texans choose to go with a quarterback with their first pick, Warner said he also had concerns about Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles -- the two others in the running for the No. 1 pick -- saying there isn't a "sure thing" among this year's signal-callers. While Warner wouldn't take Manziel No. 1 overall, he said he views him as a top 10 pick.

In Brooks' latest quarterback rankings released Friday, Manziel shot up to No. 1, with Bridgewater No. 2 and Bortles No. 3. O'Brien told "NFL AM" earlier this week that the Texans will draft a quarterback, but said where they draft one is still a question.

Whether Manziel's playing style and experience remain questions for the Texans will go a long way toward determining whether he'll vie for the No. 1 pick.

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