No fewer than 17 NFL quarterback coaches, polled at the NFL Scouting Combine, favor Fresno State's Derek Carr over Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel as a draft prospect, according to a report.
The conventional wisdom that has developed in recent weeks has grouped Manziel, Central Florida's Blake Bortles, and Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater as the draft's top three prospects at the position. Speculation among draft analysts and anonymously-sourced NFL personnel has been split on which of the three will be the first quarterback drafted, and which will go second and third, but by virtually all estimations, Carr and Alabama's AJ McCarron sit on the second tier of prospects at the position.
Of key importance here is that quarterback coaches don't send draft cards to commissioner Roger Goodell at the podium. And given that the path for smaller quarterbacks in the NFL is still the more narrow one -- still the niche, the exception -- it's not altogether surprising that there is a faction of Manziel doubters among the league's quarterback coaches. But more than half the league preferring Carr begs the question: How many prefer him over Bortles and Bridgewater, as well?
This latest news echoes a similar report by NFL analyst Daniel Jeremiah, who says that information coming out of Cleveland in recent months suggesting the Browns were hot after Manziel was a smokescreen and that the organization actually prefers Carr over Johnny Football.
If 17 NFL QB coaches truly prefer Carr over Manziel, the former Heisman Trophy winner had better hope the clubs drafting in the top 10 who have a need for a quarterback aren't among them, or if they are, that they're not listening to their quarterback coaches.
Otherwise, Carr could be in for a pleasant day one surprise on May 8.