There’s plenty of smoke flying around that the Dallas Cowboys are interested in drafting Johnny Manziel with the 16th pick, and it would be a bold, risky, and unwise decision for Jerry Jones to make. ESPN’s Todd McShay reported that Manziel is the top player on the Cowboys draft board, and the Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman confirmed that he’s hearing the same. In response to this, the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that UCF Knights product Blake Bortles is actually the top QB on the Cowboys board, meaning that Manziel isn’t even the top player on their board.
Ah yes, the information wars and swirling reports before the draft strike again. I wonder if this report from CBS Sports’s reliable Dane Brugler swings the balance, as he tweeted that while it’s possible for the Cowboys to take Manziel at 16, the Texas A&M Aggies product isn’t even the top quarterback on the Cowboys board. Who is? We don’t know, but it could very well be Bortles. I couldn’t see the Cowboys making the move to draft Manziel at 16, and I’m sure plenty of Cowboys fans would be relieved at this. Manziel could be amazing, but he has so many red flags that it simply isn’t worth it for a team with a franchise QB and huge needs on defense to take him. Heck, Bortles would be just as risky of a pick for Dallas, too.
The Cowboys aren’t the only team that reportedly has Bortles highest on their board, as ESPN’s Adam Caplan reports that Bortles “is believed” to be the Oakland Raiders top-rated quarterback in this year’s class. That said, Caplan doesn’t expect the Raiders to take a quarterback at No. 5, and I would be shocked if the Raiders did take a QB there after trading for Matt Schaub. It’s more likely for them to trade down for Aaron Donald, draft a WR, or steal an elite prospect on defense than to draft a quarterback in the first. But a QB in the second? That’s a distinct possibility. It’s worth noting that Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles are reportedly not on the Raiders radar in the first round of the draft.