It's taken four months, 50,000 articles and 17,945 people Googling what "JFF" means, but we finally have a consensus about the top quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft. Johnny Manziel is the closest thing to a consensus this class is going to get.
In a poll of 17 NFL personnel people conducted by Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, eight of them chose Manziel as the top quarterback. Four chose Blake Bortles, while two folks chose Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr. Even Zach Mettenberger got a vote.
That voting breakdown is typical of this draft crop. Even the "consensus" choice got less than half the votes. McGinn went a step further asking about Manziel, talking to 20 executives to see if they believed Manziel's career would be a "hit" or a "miss." Twelve of them guessed Manziel would fall flat, with an interesting comparison coming up multiple times.
"Was Michael Vick's career a hit or miss?" an AFC personnel director said last week. "He's won playoff games, made a lot of money, been a starter, excited a lot of people. At the same time, did he really live up to it?"
From an NFC executive: "I think (Manziel) will have an up-and-down career like Michael Vick's. Some good. Some bad."
Vick, like Manziel, needs a coach who can build around his skill set. He's not right for every team. Manziel drew plenty of other comparisons in the piece in terms of his play on the field, but Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff had the most apt statement for Manziel.
"He typifies the 'SportsCenter' generation. As far as being reminiscent of anyone in the past, to me, he's of a different generation of quarterback," Dimitroff said.
This is a different generation. We don't believe that Manziel would be in the discussion as a top-five pick if not for Russell Wilson. Quarterbacks have varying degrees of athleticism now, but none of them are statues. There is a greater level of improvisation, and NFL offenses are starting to look more like college offenses -- not the other way around.
Manziel is the perfect representative of this growing trend. He's an unpredictable player in an unpredictable draft at the position.
Even if Manziel is the consensus best quarterback in this class, the NFL doesn't know quite what to make of him.