The week that was in the always unpredictable life of former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel:
1. If nothing else, Johnny Football will bring some offseason electricity to whatever NFL club makes him their own next week. If you think season-ticket sales won't spike -- think again. Of course, he's got to be electrifying on the field as well for the feel-good story to have any lasting power. So with the draft now just T-minus six days and change away, Johnny Chronicles opens this week hunting for the first-round pick in the past five drafts who was supposed to bring the most juice, the most excitement. And we'll rate 'em with what happened when the switch was thrown (1-5 lightning bolts):
Way too much to handle in college with his 200-pound frame and sprinter's speed, Harvin was a terror at both running back and wide receiver at Florida. He was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year with the Vikings in 2009, and amassed over 7,000 all-purpose yards in four seasons with five kickoff returns for touchdowns. Injuries slowed him the last two years, but a 58-yard return for the Seahawks in the Super Bowl served notice that the bulb is still burning. Lightning bolts: 4.
If it were only about on-field production, C.J. Spiller or Dez Bryant would be the easy pick here. But since the draft-day buzz factor is in play, TebowMania overwhelms all. And it burned bright for one season in 2011 when Tebow led the club from a 1-4 start to an exciting postseason run. Thereafter, underwhelming was the word. Lightning bolts: 2.
Easy call here. Like Tebow, Newton was a national championship quarterback with a winning smile in college, but while only adoration followed Tebow, controversy over a much-criticized NCAA investigation clouded Newton's only season at Auburn. The buzz factor goes both ways. With over 11,000 passing yards and over 2,000 rushing yards in three years with the Panthers, Newton's delivered. Lightning bolts: 5.
With a Heisman Trophy in tow, RGIII's athleticism and eye-popping NFL Scouting Combine performance were part of what drove him up the draft boards. Two years later, he's had one season to remember, and one to forget. Lightning bolts: 3.
Let's see: Draft-day trade involved in his selection? Longest play ever in the NFL (109-yard kickoff return)? A league-best 32.4-yard KOR average? Check, check, and check. Yet, it's too early to tell if he'll be a great receiver. Lightning bolts: 3.
2014: Go ahead and put Manziel's name down in permanent ink. The only question is which team, and how often he strikes.
2. In less than a week, Johnny Football will be posing with an NFL jersey and smiling for who knows how many cameras as some NFL franchise's shiny new toy. And apparently, it won't take long. We've heard from NFL clubs themselves that Manziel is expected to be a top-10 pick. We've heard the same from the analyst standpoint, as NFL Media's Mike Mayock said this week that Manziel is top-10 worthy as long as he checks out on two criteria. The draft starts at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday. Manziel should be off the green-room couch and shaking commissioner Roger Goodell's hand by no later than 9:30.
1. The autographed Johnny Football rookie card just became the Holy Grail of 2014 NFL trading cards. If you missed the news, Panini America signed Manziel for its line of trading cards, Score. Here's what it looks like:
Score signs Johnny Manziel to contract. Look, Ma, a real signed card! (ahem!) pic.twitter.com/rFJFWiABqgâ Matt Hayes (@Matt_HayesSN) April 28, 2014
Score one for Panini America indeed.
2. Manziel graces a Sports Illustrated cover this week for a feature story that gathers -- surprise! -- a vast array of opinions on his NFL potential. Remember that aforementioned buzz factor? This is how it shows up a week before the draft:
If, then, Johnny
Here's what one former NFL general manager, Phil Savage, would do about Manziel if he were in Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie's shoes:
For @RAIDERS at #5, IMO, if Watkins/Mack are off board, it's Manziel, M Evans or move back. At #9, list could incl/ A Barr and E Ebron.â Phil Savage (@SeniorBowlPhil) May 1, 2014
If, then Johnny II
Another former NFL GM sounds like he wouldn't even give McKenzie the chance:
Off-field issues? What off-field issues?
Representatives of two NFL clubs essentially said this week that they aren't worried about Manziel's off-field reputation. First, it was Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM Jason Licht. Then, it was Cleveland Browns GM Ray Farmer saying much the same thing to chron.com:
"I don't think I have any reservations with who Johnny is," Farmer said. "He's a good young man."
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.