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Friday, May 9, 2014
Jets to Johnny Manziel: Sorry, no room

By Rich Cimini

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- One of the greatest college football players in history was right there for the New York Jets. All they had to do was write "Johnny Manziel" on a card, give it to the commissioner and -- boom -- the NFL draft would've been turned upside down.

Manziel
Johnny Football in the Big Apple.

He-e-e-e-e-re's Johnny!

Didn't happen, of course. The Jets passed on Manziel, selecting former Louisville safety Calvin Pryor with the 18th pick. In more ways than one, it was a safety choice.

Afterward, general manager John Idzik refused to say whether they considered Manziel.

"We won't get into who was in consideration," he said. "Suffice it to say, we stuck to our philosophy and we stuck to our board."

Idzik acknowledged that they "fielded plenty of calls" from teams picking below them, presumably teams interested in trading up for Manziel. One of them may have been the Cleveland Browns (26th), who wound up trading places with the Philadelphia Eagles (22nd) to take the former Texas A&M star.

It would've been an upset if the Jets had picked Manziel, considering how much they've talked up Geno Smith, not to mention the one-year contract they gave to Michael Vick. Now, if Smith fails to develop in 2014, the Jets will be back to square one at the quarterback position in 2015, providing fodder for those who thought they should've grabbed Manziel. Clearly, Idzik didn't want to toss Smith to the curb after one year, in part, because it would've been a self-indictment on his scouting and decision making.

It would've been fun, though.