Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Quick thoughts on Rams, Manziel
By Nick Wagoner
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Later Tuesday, St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead will speak to the media as they hold their annual pre-draft news conference.
It'd be great if they'd provide clear, definitive answers but as we all know at this time of year, that seems unlikely. Nonetheless, they'll have another opportunity to declare their affection for incumbent quarterback Sam Bradford and treat any questions about Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel however they see fit.
I'll re-visit this subject after we get some on-the-record answers and attempt to participate in this elaborate game of poker the Rams seem to be playing with their quarterback position.
For now, here are a few thoughts and tidbits on the many rumors swirling linking the Rams to Manziel and attempting to break the link between the Rams and Bradford.
- First and foremost, the Rams continue to adamantly deny that they've had any discussions about trading Bradford to any team. This despite other media reports saying there have been rumors of discussions with Cleveland and Minnesota. Of course, it remains possible the Rams are still pondering whether to pick Manziel. If they haven't decided yet, it would be silly to start shopping Bradford. Shop Bradford, word leaks out and now the decision is essentially made for you, there's no putting that toothpaste back in the tube.
- I do think the Rams have legitimate interest in Manziel but the extent of that interest remains to be seen. When the MMQB's Peter King reported Monday the Rams spent additional time with Manziel after the workout in College Station, it only added another important piece of information to the mix. What isn't clear is just how deep that interest runs. It's easy to float the idea that if Manziel fell to No. 13, he'd be the Rams' choice and while I think there's validity to that, it probably doesn't matter because it's unlikely Manziel would be there. The real conversation needs to center on whether they'd pick him at No. 2. As we sit here today, I'd still categorize that as unlikely but not impossible.
- There has been plenty of speculation that the Manziel talk is just an elaborate smokescreen. But Fisher and Snead have played this in a way that gives them a healthy dose of plausible deniability. If the Rams go ahead and draft a Greg Robinson Thursday night and Manziel lands elsewhere, they can say it was a smokescreen. If they turn the draft upside down and take Manziel then trade Bradford, they can say that they had no previous discussions until they landed Manziel.
- Throughout the process, I've left the door open to the possibility of Manziel to the Rams. If nothing else, the whole Gregg Williams saga should have taught us you can never say never when it comes to the NFL. While the Rams have been devout in their public statements on Bradford, that doesn't mean they haven't thought about replacing him. Giving him the vote of confidence is the right move either way because if it doesn't work out or they don't like a rookie quarterback, they haven't agitated Bradford or his camp.
Back with more on this after the news conference.