Albert Breer of the NFL Network suggested earlier today that Johnny Manziel could end up on a team whose owner likes the idea of injecting some life into his franchise, and Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com makes a similar case in his latest column, pointing out that you should never underestimate the role an owner can play in the selection of a quarterback.
According to La Canfora, in the case of the Raiders, owner Mark Davis “is smitten” with Derek Carr. Fifth overall is too high to draft Carr, but if Oakland trades down, or perhaps decides to acquire a second pick later in the first round, it could be a sign that the team is targeting the Fresno State signal-caller.
Here are more highlights from La Canfora:
- The Browns‘ ideal situation may involve taking a player such as Sammy Watkins or Greg Robinson at No. 4, then nabbing a QB like Carr or Teddy Bridgewater at No. 26. As La Canfora notes, Carr may not be available that late in the first round, and if ownership gets involved, that may tip the scales toward Manziel early in the first round. For what it’s worth, head coach Mike Pettine told Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com today that there are five or six guys he’d be happy to land with that fourth overall pick (Twitter link).
- La Canfora continues to hear that teams who aren’t being frequently linked to quarterbacks will be the ones to draft them, and perhaps higher than expected. He goes on to cite affordable fifth-year options as one reason why clubs will pounce on QBs in the first round, though I feel as if seeing Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert, and Jake Locker have their options turned down last week will remind teams that the fifth-year option isn’t really a factor if you don’t select the right player.
- La Canfora “would be surprised” if the Cardinals didn’t select Carr or Blake Bortles with the 20th overall pick. Peter King of TheMMQB.com tweeted this afternoon that, after sending Bortles to the Browns at No. 26 in his early-morning mock draft today, he now thinks that’s too low, and that the Browns or Cardinals will target him earlier in the first round.
- Four tackles could come off the board within the first 12 picks on Thursday, and two or three more could be selected in the first round, says La Canfora.
- The 49ers are likely to trade up if possible, with wideouts Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandin Cooks among their potential targets.
- Several evaluators strongly believe A.J. McCarron will be the fourth or fifth quarterback drafted, and rave about his film.
- La Canfora thinks Aaron Donald will be the third defensive player off the board, likely no lower than eighth overall.
- The Patriots may end up drafting multiple tight ends, including a late-round project, in La Canfora’s view.