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Kurt Warner likes Clowney over Manziel

Posted Mar 28, 2014

The Super Bowl MVP and 12-year veteran liked what he saw at Johnny Day, but would still select Clowney with the No. 1 overall pick.

Johnny Manziel’s Pro Day may have been heralded a media success but was it enough to move him up to the No. 1 overall draft pick?  Kurt Warner of the NFL Network was full of praise for the Heisman-winning quarterback’s following his Pro Day performance but still had his reservations about naming him the best player in this year’s draft.

“I want a guy that wants to win regardless of what he does and I think Johnny’s that guy,” Warner said. “The problem with Johnny is that there’s still a lot of questions and some of it is because he’s only played two years in college. We don’t know what he’s going to be. To win in the National Football League, you have to win in the pocket. You have to know what you’re seeing. You have to be able to make those throws first and I just don’t think we have the body of work to say he’s that guy.”

With Matt Schaub now in Oakland and the Texans coming off a dismal 2-14 season, head coach Bill O’Brien has stated publicly that he will draft a quarterback. When Warner was asked who he would take, if he were Bill O’Brien, his answer was surprising. Despite 12 years of NFL experience at quarterback that includes a Super Bowl championship ring, Warner favors a pick on the opposite side of the ball.

“Now without that quarterback position, I think I’m more intrigued," Warner said. "I think Johnny Manziel is the guy that intrigues me the most but I think (Jadeveon) Clowney is such a rare, physical specimen, a guy that you’re not going to see very often in this business, and because I have a few questions about the quarterback position, I’d probably go that direction.”

What were some of Warner’s biggest concerns still surrounding Manziel? While Warner was impressed with Manziel’s throws, he wanted to see continued improvement with his mechanics.

“I saw his arm position change a couple of times, there was some footwork that I would change, that I would look at having played the position and knowing the ins and outs that I would do differently,” Warner said.

Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles, who held their Pro Days last week, round out the top players at the quarterback position. Warner likes the upside of all three, but doesn't think there is "a sure thing" at that position in this draft class. Overall, Warner viewed Thursday’s Pro Day as a success for Manziel and still considers him a top-ten pick.

“You expect these guys, if they are top-ten picks, to make all these throws but Johnny did some things that were really impressive,” Warner said. “I thought he threw his deep balls with tremendous accuracy. His ability to move and throw on the run was special. (It’s) hard to impress too much at a Pro Day, but I think Johnny found a way to be able to leave all these guys here and all these different teams going, ‘Wow, there was a little something special there.’”

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