Tuesday Mailbag

The Browns landed Manziel with the 22nd pick, but had to beat out three teams vying for the spot. Should the Vikings have pushed harder to move up for Johnny Football instead of angling to get Teddy Bridgewater ten picks later?

As we look at the NFL draft with some perspective now, the one pick that fascinates me is number 22. And not just because Johnny Manziel got taken there, but because there was such heated competition for the pick.

An impeccable NFL source told me this on Monday night:

  • The Eagles, who held the 22nd pick in the draft, informed teams after several players they loved at 22 were snatched—LSU wideout Odell Beckham, who went 12th to the Giants, and Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller, who went 14th to Chicago, among others—that they were auctioning the choice.
  • Six teams inquired about pick number 22. Philadelphia got four solid offers.
  • Though it was reported by Jay Glazer that the Vikings and Browns jousted for the 22nd pick (absolutely true), they were not alone. The source said that another team, not Minnesota, was the leader in the clubhouse when Eagles GM Howie Roseman told Cleveland GM Ray Farmer with three minutes left in the 10-minute draft period that he had to make a better offer than the one Cleveland had on the table.
  • Minnesota and Cleveland wanted Johnny Manziel. But it’s clear that the second-place finisher, which already had a good quarterback, wanted another player at 22. I wish I knew that other team. I do not. I don’t believe it is Houston.
  • Cleveland, as I reported Monday in my column, did sweeten its offer to move up from 26 to 22, by improving its last offer to the 26th pick and 83rd overall. (I don’t know what Cleveland’s offer was before this, but GM Ray Farmer had less than 30 seconds to improve it to Philadelphia’s satisfaction, and he did.)
  • If Farmer didn’t include the mid-third-round pick in the deal, Philadelphia absolutely would have made the deal with Team Unknown for the 22nd pick. Cleveland would have had to move on. In that case, Cleveland would have called Kansas City at 23 and Cincinnati at 24 to try to get a deal done. I am told Kansas City would have been receptive to an offer for the 23rd pick, but Cincinnati, in love with cornerback Darqueze Dennard, would have held onto the pick.
  • The finish line: Cleveland won. The anonymous team seeking a player other than Manziel finished second. Minnesota was third—obviously because the Vikings didn’t want to include the 2015 first-round pick. (I don’t blame them.) The Eagles would have likely made that trade knowing the three or four players they liked at 22 would have been gone at 40. And another anonymous team finished fourth.

Coming Tomorrow

The MMQB will launch the first of a 10-part series called NFL 95: The History of Pro Football in 95 Objects, commemorating the league’s 95th season in 2014. Each Wednesday until the start of training camp in July, we’ll unveil one long-form piece on an artifact of particular significance, accompanied by others that trace the rise of pro football in America.

So, many of you have asked in the wake of Manziel to Cleveland at 22 and Teddy Bridgewater at 32 whether the Vikings messed this up, whether Bridgewater is just a consolation prize.

All I can tell you is this: I was in Minnesota last month. I spoke to GM Rick Spielman, whom I have known for a long time, and he was dubious about every quarterback in the draft. I spoke to another member of the organization, an influential one, who was similarly skeptical about the quarterbacks in the draft. They didn’t have a fervent belief in any one of them. They did like Manziel. They didn’t want to sell the farm for him.

When the Vikings spent private time with Manziel before the draft at dinner, coach Mike Zimmer was pointed and blunt (which is exactly what Zimmer is) with Manziel. At one point, Zimmer said to Manziel, “I’ve been waiting all my life for this chance. Can I trust you?’’ Manziel said yes. Manziel told Zimmer they would win Super Bowls together. Zimmer loved it. Zimmer wasn’t sure whether he trusted him totally, but he loved it, and he loved the confidence.

So the Vikings wanted Manziel. That is true. But did they want him enough to give the 40th pick in this draft and next year’s first-round pick as well? No. Can’t say that I blame them either.

Now on to your emails following a very interesting draft.

Peter: Why do you think the Houston Texans, with a much higher third round pick than Cleveland, didn’t try to trade up and get Johnny Manziel at No. 22? In addition to what he’d bring as a QB for a team without a difference-maker at that position, his impact on the fan base would have been much more mind-boggling than what’s happened in Cleveland. Plus, he’d have enabled the Texans to cut into Dallas’ overwhelming fan domination in Texas.

— B. West,
Port Arthur, Texas

There’s no question in my mind that Houston wasn’t sold on Manziel. The Texans obviously had an opportunity with the 33rd overall pick to move up into the 20’s to chase Manziel, and chose not to do it. All I can say is—because I have not talked to Bill O’Brien about this—that the Texans had to have a lesser grade on him than others. And after watching O’Brien have the kind of season he had in 2012 using Matt McGloin at Penn State, I think he certainly deserves the benefit of the doubt as a developer of quarterbacks to let this play out and see if a very good value pick—Tom Savage atop the fourth round—can be developed into a more accurate pro quarterback than he was in college.

 


How do the players’ jerseys get made so quickly at the draft? It seems like seconds from the time a player’s name is called, he walks out of the green room and commissioner Roger Goodell greets him and hands him a jersey from the team that just drafted him with the name across the back?
 
 

— Steve,
Redmond, Washington

The NFL has jerseys for every team with the number 1 already affixed, leaving only the proper nameplate to be added when a player is chosen. I think we saw either on NFL Network or ESPN over the weekend the way it gets done. There is a machine that can, within a couple of minutes, make the nameplate to be put on the back of the jersey. From the time the NFL is first notified of a selection to the time the player walks on stage in the first round, there is about two and a half to three minutes to get the job done. In some cases, the league may have already gotten wind of who the pick is before the selection period is over, but in some cases the league is working on a tight deadline and just barely makes it. But it’s a pretty cool thing, isn’t it?

 

 
In this week’s MMQB you wrote, “Good for the Dolphins for fining and suspending defensive back Don Jones for being an idiot on Twitter after Michael Sam got drafted.” Regardless of how one feels about Sam’s being drafted or Jones’ tweets, I find it very disturbing that you, of all people, would support fines and suspensions from work for those who publicly express an unpopular opinion. You’re a journalist; is that the standard you want to have applied to your own writing? If you voice an opinion that goes against the popular consensus, should you be fined and suspended from your job for it? Should you be fired, sanctioned, or blacklisted for being on the wrong side of the cultural zeitgeist? Is that really the kind of society you, as a journalist, want to live and work in? Because that’s what your comment would naturally lead me to believe.
 

Steve,
Worcester, Massachusetts

My column is not all facts and figures. My column is also opinions, as you can tell, if you’ve read my column at any point over the last 17 years. My opinion is that I’m glad the Dolphins came down hard on a player for making what I consider to be an intolerant tweet. End of story. It’s Jones’ right to express a demeaning opinion on Twitter. It’s my right to disagree with him and to praise a team for disciplining him. Particularly after what the Dolphins have been through as an organization and the continued intolerance of several players for over a year, a player on Miami’s roster has to be a fool to think the team won’t come out swinging if you come out publicly blasting someone who is gay.

 

 

Peter, I don’t understand your point re: Ryan Mallet. Of course we don’t know anything about this kid, because when would he have a chance to play? Printing his stats is meaningless—of course his QB rating is 5. When did he play? Name a time when he should have played? What were Aaron Rodgers’ stats his first three years under Brett Favre? Did he play? Did he start?

Brandon,
Boston

Here’s my point about Ryan Mallett, and it’s a simple point: Anyone who thinks Ryan Mallett should be the answer at quarterback for Houston (or any team) is sadly mistaken. He’s been in the NFL for three years and done absolutely nothing other than hold a clipboard. My response about Mallett was not to criticize him as a player; it is to say that no sane person would trade for him and believe he’ll automatically solve your team’s quarterback problem. I realize he was a tempting prospect in 2011 out of Arkansas. He may well be a very good NFL quarterback. But I certainly wouldn’t pay much for him, and if I brought him to camp all I would do is hope that he could compete for a roster spot and push the starter.

 

 

Thank you for the well-written piece on the drafting of Michael Sam by the St. Louis Rams. While the drafting of Sam has seen support from many perspectives, one seems to be missing: the bridge that Sam has created for gay sons and their sports-loving fathers.

Like many young sons, some of the easiest and earliest connections I made with my father were through sports, either by participation or by rooting for our (his) favorite teams. Sports were always ready as a convenient topic for conversation and could be used as a shortcut to other worldly issues. This connection can change when a father learns his son is gay. Sports, the NFL in particular, became a refuge, giving my dad comfort that whatever gay “stuff” might be swirling around in the rest of the world (including his son), it wasn’t a part of football.

Talk Back

Got a question for Peter King? Submit it, along with your name and hometown, to talkback@themmqb.com and it might be included in next Tuesday’s mailbag.

Then, to quote George Costanza, Michael Sam was drafted and “worlds collided”. In one draft pick, the walls that my father used to partition gay people from the NFL experience were torn down. It was never really enough to say there were always gay players in the NFL, we just didn’t know it. With the visible drafting of Sam, now there was proof, and now the NFL belonged to everyone, including gay football players, gay fans and gay sons.

It is not a comfortable change for many, and some people with blinders on will refuse to see it, turning away, hoping Sam gets cut and is out of their NFL as soon as possible. For the larger majority, including my father, they will slowly ease their grip on the game of football and acknowledge that it is now shared with a larger audience. That all gay sons across America now root for the St. Louis Rams is just a coincidence.

— Guy,
Silver Spring, Maryland

You’re saying there will be a new bridge and a positive bridge between some fathers and sons when the fathers find out their sons are gay. As a society, I think that’s one of the things that we should hope for as a result of Michael Sam being drafted and trying to make it in the NFL as an openly gay man. I don’t know if you saw this last month, but Troy Vincent, one of the top NFL executives, said that he played with six closeted gay players during his NFL career. By closeted, I mean they refused to come out to publicly through the media, but it was well known within the walls of their locker rooms that they were gay. And those teams, from all appearances, handled it mostly appropriately. The NFL belongs to everyone, and Michael Sam is already changing how people view the league.

 

 

My suggestion is to award the draft to the loser of the Super Bowl. This would give both cities a takeaway from the game and spread the draft’s glamour throughout the league. Just a thought.

— CB

Well, I’m not sure that the most profitable way for the league to move the draft around is to award it by any regular means. I think it would be better for interested cities to bid on it and for the league to use it as a way to spread it around to as many different franchises as possible. I believe, for instance, that having the NFL draft in Jerry Jones’ stadium in Texas would be an absolute hoot. Jones would roll out all kinds of red carpeting to make it a Texas-sized event. It would be great. The draft would be just as good in Chicago, in Seattle, in Denver, in Washington—everywhere. I hope it’s not long before the league parcels it out to cities that would put on great shows with the draft in town. But I would also be in favor of the New York area not getting the draft with any regularity, seeing that it has been in New York forever.

mmqb-end-slug-square

172 comments
Ciscos
Ciscos

Cowboys - Jerry Jones got out of his own way and they actually did pretty good in the draft. 

Vikings - I don't believe the Vikes were that sold on Manziel like @Zebich said. If they were they would have drafted him.

Raiders - Reggie actually went smart and they had a nice draft. I'm not sold on Mack as the next best, but after him down, I'm good.

Browns - On the surface, they don't appear to be your father's Cleveland Browns. We'll see tho, but otherwise nice draft for them too.

Rams - Rams didn't draft Michael Sam to make a statement. They drafted him because he was defensive player of the year in the SEC. I'm not an SEC chest thumper, but last I checked, they don't give that award to dudes that can't play.

CTB533
CTB533

The Vikings got the better QB IMO.

Zebich
Zebich

If the  Vikings were that sold on Manziel then they should have picked him at either 8 or 9

BigBoa
BigBoa

This team has baffled the mighty Boa for forty some years, and they continue. If they weren't getting what they wanted, WHY make ANY deal with them at all? Should have told them to take a hike......

Safari801
Safari801

Although I completely disagree with King on Jone's punishment I've come to realize a long time ago he's liberal. And as a liberal they always come down to their view only. Any disagreement with their thinking will earn any one a label that they are homophobic, racist, etc. When did the right to free speech become outlawed? I hope Jones files a complaint with the NFLPA at the least and I hope he prevails. I for one am tired of the pc police telling us what's ok to say and what's not. As for Michael Sam, I don't know him and I wish him the best, but I hope this will all be decided on the field and the intolerant left will not wail and gnash their teeth if he's deemed not good enough and released. I really doubt that will happen though, they always need to remind us how we should view the world and just how we should speak about it.

dawnsblood
dawnsblood

I happen to agree with Peter that Jones needed to be punished. He is part of a team that had itself torn apart because vets had no respect for rookies. In this case Miami was well advised to nip this sentiment in the bud and make certain players knew that divisions were not going to be tolerated in any way shape or form.


That said, Steve you also need to understand Mr. King. He is a liberal and a very vocal one. He believes this is a plus and not a minus in his column. I suspect he would have supported whatever punishment Miami decided to impose because to him tolerance is a one way street. Whatever he believes or supports must be tolerated and anything he disagrees with or does not support must be opposed or you are a bad person. He is who he is.

Buck2185
Buck2185

The rams need to sign Richie Incognito and make him roomates with Micheal Sam.......

eyemgrandpa
eyemgrandpa

Things in sports that have always made me look away from broadcast. A high hit from behind into the boards. A puck to the face.A hitter beaned or pitcher hit with a line drive in the face. A Jean van de Velde like collapse of mind and body. Idiotic interviews of athletes either because of the questions or the answers. Any catastrophic injury to an athletes legs. A defenseless player hit  by a missile wearing a football helmet. A seventh round NFL drat pick passionately kissing a man.

mija999
mija999

when you keep putting in "THIS IS TRUE" then I believe its made up crap

CMFJ
CMFJ

" I think it would be better for interested cities to bid on it and for the league to use it as a way to spread it around to as many different franchises as possible. I believe, for instance, that having the NFL draft in Jerry Jones’ stadium in Texas would be an absolute hoot. Jones would roll out all kinds of red carpeting to make it a Texas-sized event."


I like the idea of bidding, but I would rather it not go to Dallas.  Nothing against Dallas, but they are one of the cities that can get Super Bowls.  I think cities that have not shot at Super Bowls should host the draft.  Denver, KC, Chicago, etc.  While the NFL has allowed the delusion that having a SB in NYC has opened the door to a SB in a cold weather city, really it just meant they are open to having them in NYC.  Denver, for example, will never get one and that may be justifiable.  I'm a lifelong Broncos fan, so this is no slight on Denver - just being realistic.  But they would be a fine host of a draft.

yummypeaches
yummypeaches

I really don't lean politically one way or the other . I feel it helps see all sides of an issue but hey that's just me . Anyhow I do actually have a problem with the Dolphins fining Don Jones . I didn't take the tweet to be about the Rams or Michael Sam . I found it to be about the act of two men rubbing cake in their faces and kissing . I didn't see anyone else being drafted act or behave like this . Is Don Jones a rube ? Probably but watching this made millions of people feel uncomfortable . I would say to the Dolphins brass and to you ...deal with it . Consideration is a two way street . 

SandersonKramer
SandersonKramer

Peter King one day I hope Sports Illustrated fines/suspends/fires you for something you wrote that they do not agree with. You sir are a Hypocrite- the worse kind. PS Tell us again how it was wrong of Jets fans not to pay their hard earned money to watch and support Brett Favre play his first Jets exhibition game.

evil.aaronm
evil.aaronm

You failed on this one, Peter.  Steve asked you a valid question and you did NOT answer it.  How valuable would your column be to your readers if you stopped providing opinion because you were afraid of the penalties?

brokaw
brokaw

Wow Peter King you are either willfully stupid or just cowardly.  


Answer Steve's question.  He didn't question if you have the right to express an opinion about this issue or whether it was prudent for Don Jones to express his opinion on twitter.  He asked if you, as a journalist, supposedly ascribing to some basic principles of the fourth estate, condone and endorse a society where punishments are handed out freely when one expresses an unpopular opinion (keeping in mind that what is "popular" changes with the wind, 100 years ago desegregation was unpopular).  


Though I don't find you an intelligent person, I do tend to think you were intelligent enough to suss out his true question.  You just didn't have the guts to answer the question and highlight your own hypocrisy.  Really, just one of the most cowardly answers I have ever seen.

Thomas15
Thomas15

Steve from Worcester Mass.:


Never forget King's answer to your question for therein lies the nonsensical emotionalism the Left. The Left that still references the Hollywood Blacklisting of COMMUNISTS as the worst example of persecution, will demonize and punish to the utmost degree that they can get away with, anyone who disagrees with them. 


The Left that demands you CELEBRATE all things gay, and when you don't agree that CELEBRATION is appropriate, they demonize you for being INTOLERANT. 


The Left, King included, have all the Reason of a Hurricane, or a woman scorned coming at your face with nails extended to scratch your eyes out. 


p.s. I think most men were repulsed when they saw what michael sam did on camera with that other guy, NOT because they are "homophobic" or intolerant, but rather because like me, it is a natural, unconsidered GUT-reaction. They don't call them "gut"-reactions for nothing. Human beings have a natural gut-reaction to a hissing snake. NOT out of contemplative thought, or hatred of the snake, but due to an evolutionary wisdom, handed down in our DNA through the centuries. Some might believe that this repulsion is at worst intolerance and at best a vestigial reaction no longer necessary, like the appendix. We shall see; or rather, our great-grandchildren shall, God help them. 



justwanderin
justwanderin

King, typical liberal: somebody else's opinion is demeaning and intolerant but not my opinion. End of story. No other chapters to the story just End of story. 

Having said that I wish Sam well and  what he chooses to do in private with whomever is not my business but I find what he did not only repulsive but demeaning to society as a whole especially the young and impressionable.





.

Redskins
Redskins

In light of his "Manziel is a Top 5 lock" pre-draft prediction, the guy who writes this column (I refuse to use his name as I find it offensive!), is still trying to make it sound as if he was right all along.

Now, if he had only written a post-draft column that said: "I got Manziel all wrong!"

sam a
sam a

As a Vikings fan I thank God we didn't draft Manziel.  He cares about himself his show me the money act was all I needed to see.

ConnieFair
ConnieFair

Teddy you need to remember you are Viking because Cleveland got Johnny first. The browns won the pick!

MichaelF1
MichaelF1

Any chance the "unknown" team was the Niners looking to move up for Dennard?

amorosotom
amorosotom

Did Michael Sam get slighted? He was tied for Defensive Player of the Year in the SEC. Seems to me the best defensive player in the best conference would be a sure fire first round pick. 

GeorgiaBrown
GeorgiaBrown

@CTB533 There are Bridgewaters every year.  Manziel is one of a kind.  Many things can happen.  It is never an apples-to-apples situation, but I bet you will eat your words in a few years.

BushidoBrownsRevenge
BushidoBrownsRevenge

@Safari801  Jones is not in prison so he has freedom of speech like all other citizens. However he does not have freedom from speech. He was held accountable for his words by his employer just like many of us would be if we offended their customers. 

CGGymDog
CGGymDog

@Safari801  LOL, yeah, because conservatives are SO openminded and willing to listen to other opinions. Grow up. 

blynder
blynder

@dawnsblood  


" I suspect he would have supported whatever punishment Miami decided to impose because to him tolerance is a one way street. Whatever he believes or supports must be tolerated and anything he disagrees with or does not support must be opposed or you are a bad person. He is who he is."

These words apply to *many* on all sides of all issues.

CGGymDog
CGGymDog

@eyemgrandpa  Maybe people turn away when they see you doing things because it disgusts them? 

Buck2185
Buck2185

@evil.aaronm Peter fails on everything he does. If he stopped providing his biased, bleeding heart liberal opinions, there would be nothing left in his articles. Why SI hasn't let the no-neck slob go by now is mind boggling...

CMFJ
CMFJ

@Thomas15  


Oh, liberals are so stupid and mean!! They don't let people be intolerant!  Oh.  


Oh, the irony of your post.  Written with all the intellectual ability of a 12 year old.

MikeC65
MikeC65

@Thomas15  You do realize that painting any category of people with one brush is the definition of prejudice. Unlike you, I will not attribute your obvious prejudices to your politics, although your politics may be the result of your prejudices.

By the way, deliberately attributing words to someone who has never spoken them is traditionally  referred to as lying.

Otto-Gee
Otto-Gee

@Thomas15

Don Jones, after seeing what M.Sam did on live camera tweeted:  OMG.... Horrible.

How is that an "intolerant tweet" ?   King calls this tweet "publicly blasting someone who is gay." 

BillRobinson
BillRobinson

"The guy who writes this column..."

It was a stupid expression the first time it was used along time ago. But it matches the quality of his normal posts.

Otto-Gee
Otto-Gee

@sam a

As a Browns fan / football fan, I am sorry we did draft Manziel.  Apparently it is a rite of passage for each new front office group to waste a pick at 22 on a bust qb.

ChristopherLidster
ChristopherLidster

@amorosotom    There are plenty of Heisman Trophy winners who have failed to make the NFL. Your awards in college mean zilch, it is all about intangibles, size, and speed. Micheal Sam has neither the size or speed, he is considered a tweener. This is why he wasn't drafted in the first round. Does he deserve a shot? Absolutely! But this is why the combine exists, so they can check players out themselves, Sam unfortunately did not have what teams were looking for. But he will get his shot. 

ConradWesleyClough
ConradWesleyClough

@amorosotom I don't know... he is too small to be dominant at the NFL level in the position he played ion college (DE), and he showed at the combine that he is to slow (way too slow) to be a great outside linebacker... besides college awards are not always the best indicators of NFL success, how many Heisman winners have been NFL busts in recent years?

GeorgiaBrown
GeorgiaBrown

@Ciscos @Zebich The Browns passed on Big Ben.  By your logic, that means he has not had a good career.  Unitas was drafted in late rounds.  Vikings chose Ponder.  What is your point?

Mike26
Mike26

@BushidoBrownsRevenge @Buck2185  That was before Fisher came aboard - he's continued his cancerous ways since HS and lots of folks keep signing him anyway.  Since Fisher is there, he'll fit in with Coach Jeff's environment very well.

Go_Niners!
Go_Niners!

@Buck2185 @evil.aaronm  Because people read him, Buck.  And people reading him makes SI money.  It's really not that difficult.

By the way, your taking the time to read and comment on it is only helping King stay employed.  So good job complaining about him while helping pay his salary.

MarkBlackford
MarkBlackford

@MikeC65 @Thomas15  You realize your amazing insights are unnecessary and condescending. Attribution of the spoken word to a source who didn't say them is "press".

Go_Niners!
Go_Niners!

@Otto-Gee @Thomas15  I didn't watch much of the draft, but straight players definitely kiss their GFs on TV.  If Don's ok with that, but offended when a gay player does it, does that sound tolerant to you?

blynder
blynder

@Otto-Gee @sam a  

Ugh, I feel for you - maybe this is the year that changes?  I really hope so, as a fan of football; it's time for the Browns to back on the upside.  For that reason alone, I'll wish some good will towards the Browns and that Manziel kid (although I wouldn't be surprised if Hoyer is back under center by mid season if Manziel starts) - but only after the Bronco's win a few more Superbowls. 

BushidoBrownsRevenge
BushidoBrownsRevenge

@Mike26 @BushidoBrownsRevenge @Buck2185  Fisher has had more than his share of players who have been locker room problems and fisher coached teams have often lacked discipline. That would be one of the worst fits for Incognito. And one more bad season fisher wont be there much longer.

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