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Johnny Manziel's 'Backyard Football,'; NFL Draft moving to LA or Chicago?

Posted May 6, 2014

ClevelandBrowns.com takes you around the NFL with the Daily Kickoff.

Johnny Manziel, Roger Goodell, Peyton Manning

The prevailing view of the NFL Draft, and especially of the first round, is that there are plenty of quality players to go around.

Enough, in fact, that at least one NFL general manager says trading down makes more sense than trading up … and staying put would still allow a team to land a legitimate first-rounder.

Kevin Colbert of the Pittsburgh Steelers was quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as saying “with the depth of the draft, (trading down is) a real possibility.”

But if the Steelers keep the 15th overall pick, Colbert fully expects they will be satisfied with their selection.

“The player that is going to be available to us at 15, in years past, you may have had to been picking at seven or maybe eight to get the same quality of a player,” Colbert said. “There are easily 15 players available that we will be very happy with if we are able to pick them.”

COULD LOS ANGELES OR CHICAGO HOST NEXT YEAR’S NFL DRAFT?

As the NFL continues to explore the possibility of moving the draft from New York City as soon as next year, a couple of potential locations have emerged.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have been “very aggressive” in pursuing the draft for their respective cities. In addition, according to Goodell, Emanuel would like Chicago to be considered for hosting a future Super Bowl.

“We’re looking at the potential of moving out of New York,” Goodell told Rich Eisen of NFL Media. “Radio City’s been a great place for us, but there are a lot of cities that are interested in having us in the future, and we’re going to look at that.”

BRUCE ALLEN: LATER DRAFT WASN’T CHOICE OF MOST TEAMS

The NFL Draft’s later-than-usual place on the calendar was, according to the league, circumstantial because of a conflict with another event at Radio City Music Hall.

The other event ultimately was canceled, but apparently not soon enough for the league to go back to having the draft in its typical third-week-of-April slot. Still, there was some speculation that the NFL was happy to be able to see how things would work with staging the draft in May.

So far, the reviews have been mostly negative, with the general opinion that there has been an overload of draft conversation in the media and within NFL teams, leading to speculation that clubs are “over-thinking” their strategy because of the extra time.

In fact, Washington Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen told the Washington Post that the majority of teams in the league did not prefer the later draft.

“I think as an organization, most of the organizations in the NFL, I don’t think, wanted the draft moved back,” Allen said. “I don’t know if it’s going to change our draft board at all. But it’ll be a good, eye-opening experience for everyone.”

LONGHORNS’ DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: JOHNNY MANZIEL PLAYED ‘BACKYARD BALL’

We go to Twitter for our latest installment of “What Are They Saying About Johnny Football Now?”

Vance Bedford, defensive coordinator at the University of Texas, decided he should weigh in on the Johnny Manziel hysteria with what hardly sounds like a ringing endorsement of the former Texas A&M quarterback’s draft stock.

Wrote Bedford: “Manziel is a top 10 pick by the scouts. I wish him the best. He played backyard ball for 3 years. Now he will have to learn how to be a Qb.”

Later, Bedford tweeted he wasn’t trying to be critical of Manziel. Nevertheless, he did add, “Spread qbs have struggled in the NFL.”

PEYTON MANNING SAYS ARM STRENGTH STILL BELOW PRE-SURGERY LEVEL

In 2011, Peyton Manning underwent spinal-fusion surgery that wiped out his season with the Indianapolis Colts and ultimately led to his joining the Denver Broncos a year later.

Manning has hardly shown much in the way of aftereffects from the operation, leading the Broncos to the postseason in 2012 and putting up record-setting numbers on the way to a Super Bowl appearance last February.

Nevertheless, during an interview with David Letterman Monday night, Manning said his arm strength is not “100-percent” back to where it was before the surgery.

“But I have made strides each season and this year felt a lot better than I did the year before,” Manning said. “These nerves just go at their own pace. I used to sit in the mirror and just sort of go through my throwing motion trying to get the feel back the way I’d always thrown before. Maybe I can’t throw the one-hundred-mile-an-hour fastball any more, but I can still strike you out, picking my spots, working the plate.

“I don’t make the same kind of throws I used to make, I try to use the cerebral part, use my experience.”

Which seems to be working pretty well so far.

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