Johnny Football could be staying in Texas.
The Houston Texans are “initially leaning toward” selecting Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel or Central Florida signal-caller Blake Bortles with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, according to former NFL scout Russ Lande. It seems a little early in the process for the Texans to have their minds made up, though.
Texans owner Bob McNair wants Manziel to be the pick, while new head coach Bill O’Brien is leaning toward Bortles — and trading down to pick later in the first round. (He must have learned from Bill Belichick during his days as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator.)
O’Brien “is not sold that Manziel possesses the work ethic and intangibles necessary to be the face of a franchise,” according to Lande. Manziel got into some trouble during his time with the Aggies. Known as a partier, Manziel was arrested in June 2012 and charged with disorderly conduct, failure to identify and possession of a fictitious driver’s license.
Manziel overslept during Peyton and Eli’s Manning Passing Academy during the 2013 offseason and was kicked out as a counselor. He also was suspended one game by Texas A&M after the NCAA investigated if Manziel had signed autographs for money.
Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney also are in the running for the No. 1 overall pick.
Bortles played under Central Florida head coach George O’Leary, “who was a big mentor for O’Brien,” according to Lance Zierlein of Sports Talk 790 in Houston. O’Brien likes Bortles’ size and arm, according to Zierlein.
Manziel threw for 4,114 yards with 37 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, completing 69.9 percent of his passes in 2013, his sophomore season. He also ran for 759 yards and nine touchdowns. Manziel was the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner.
Bortles passed for 3,581 yards with 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions while completing 67.8 percent of his passes in 2013. Bortles ran for 272 yards with six touchdowns. Bortles is leaving Central Florida after his junior season.