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Texans: Logic says Clowney, Heart says Manziel

[airesizeimg src=”” alt=”Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel is expected to go to Houston with the No. 1 overall pick in May’s NFL draft” class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-3155″ ]THE LATEST NEWS out of Johnny Manziel’s camp is that he and former Lousiville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater are meeting with the New England Patriots.

It seems like a fool’s errand in that the Patriots do not have a useful draft pick to consider either quarterback and trading up to position themselves for such a pick is silly considering the team has other pressing needs. Also, there’s the fact Tom Brady, while aging, remains entrenched. If the Patriots do decide they need Brady’s heir, that pick will be made in the second or third rounds or even later if the draft falls that way.

What is fascinating about today’s news is the fact that it is news. Many players visit many teams despite the fact said teams might not have the ability or need to draft said players. What we’re seeing is a shift of the paradigm. The combination of a later draft date, the league’s soaring popularity and the rise of media-savvy collegiate stars is turning the entire process into tasty bread for the NFL’s circus.

The term “bread and circuses” dates back to the days of the Roman Empire, when emperors sought to distract a skittish public via superficial gestures such as handing out bread or putting on one of those famed slaughters in the arena.

No one player in this year’s draft pool is as well-versed in Roman-style appeasement as Johnny Football. During his pro day this past week at Texas A&M, Manziel made his entrance to the musical stylings of Drake while wearing camouflage shorts and a black Nike jersey. Former president George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara were among the bystanders looking on behind 75 scouts from 30 teams.

But whereas the Romans distracted their troubled public for the purpose of avoiding a civic issue, Manziel attacked his critics head on in fearless fashion, donning shoulder pads and a helmet. That is a vanishingly rare thing for top prospects to do, for most of them make certain their pro days go off under as ideal conditions as possible. That is, no helmet or shoulder pads to affect their accuracy, vision or arm strength

“You play the game on shoulder pads on Sundays,” he said that day. “Why not come out and do it? … For me it was a no-brainer.”

The consensus this past week was that Manziel threw only three bad passes in 65 attempts, which is dazzling. By putting together a strong performance to go with an exemplary body of work and a media-friendly personality, Manziel has accomplished precisely what he set out to do.

Johnny Football is not the most talented player in this year’s draft and it is debatable whether he is the best available quarterback. But by doing what he has done, he has made it virtually impossible for the Houston Texans to pass over a Texas native whom everyone in the team’s footprint adores.

What the Texans very logically should do is draft Jadeveon Clowney with their No. 1 overall pick then be at peace with taking the best available QB in the second round. But you cannot underestimate the groundswell and wonking that will take place concerning Manziel between now and May. Too much time for noise.

By sheer force of will, useful talent and cagey media manipulation, it is really easy to see Johnny Manziel as the No. 1 draft pick by the Texans in May. To do anything else at that point would be inviting a figurative excoriation of the team’s front office in a public arena. This, despite the fact it’s probably not the best thing overall. Bread and circus, indeed.

Are you not entertained?

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