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Fall from Grace?

Will Johnny Manziel be a first round draft pick? Former Longhorn Chris Simms doesn't think so

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Johnny Manziel throw
Will Johnny Manziel be a first round draft pick?  Photo courtesy of Texas A&M

Remember former UT quarterback Chris Simms? If you’re a Texas Longhorns football fan, you certainly do. The whole Major Applewhite mess left a sour taste in the mouths of a lot of Longhorn lovers.

But the Longhorn faithful just might feel a tad bit of love for Simms these days. Why? Because Simms, now an NFL analyst for sports media outlet Bleacher Report, isn’t too high on Johnny Football. In fact, Simms doesn’t list Johnny Manziel, the brash ex-Texas A&M quarterback, among his projections for the 32 first-round picks in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Simms revealed his picks on a CBS Sports preview of the NFL Draft that aired April 26. He appeared on the show with his dad, former NFL quarterback and current CBS Sports pro football analyst Phil Simms.

So, why isn’t Chris Simms hooked on Johnny Football? On the CBS show, he didn’t get a chance to explain the absence of Manziel from his list of first-round picks. However, Simms said recently in a Bleacher Report video that he thinks Manziel’s “stock is falling a little bit” and predicted Johnny Football will be a second-round pick. (For the record, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Simms in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft.)

In downgrading Manziel’s NFL value, Simms cited the Heisman Trophy winner’s weak performances last season against LSU and Missouri. Simms also questioned the quickness of Johnny Football. “Of course, he’s got good speed. But I don’t think it’s great speed,” Simms said.

Furthermore, Simms knocked Manziel’s unpredictability as a passer in pocket situations. “NFL coaches don’t like the unknown,” Simms said in the Bleacher Report video, “and they’re not sure what they’re going to get with Johnny Manziel.”

On the CBS show, Simms pegged Derek Carr as the only QB to be drafted in the first round. He predicted Carr, who was a quarterback at Fresno State, will be the No. 26 overall pick.

Simms did acknowledge that some NFL teams will be “extremely intrigued” by the prospect of adding Manziel to their rosters. “He is one of the more exciting players to come through college football in a long time,” Simms said.

But he is more excited by several other college prospects. The former Longhorn forecasts Jadeveon Clowney will be the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Simms says this choice is a “no-brainer.” He praises the physical prowess of Clowney, who was a defensive end for South Carolina.

As for the No. 2 overall pick, Simms favors Greg Robinson, who was an offensive tackle at Auburn. Simms appears to have a special place in his heart for Khalil Mack, who was an outside linebacker at Buffalo. Simms goes with Mack as his No. 3 overall pick.

“I’m in love with Khalil Mack,” Simms said. “I just don’t think he’s quite the prospect Jadeveon Clowney is.” After professing his love for Mack, Simms added: “I’ve kind of got a man crush. There’s not a lot to dislike.”

These days, one thing Simms dislikes is the idea of coaching in the NFL, although he did give it a try. He spent a year as a coaching assistant with the New England Patriots after eight less-than-stellar years as an NFL quarterback. Most recently, he notched one year as a college football analyst for Fox Sports.

Why the lack of desire to be an NFL coach? Last year, he told NorthJersey.com that being a coach in the pros would be too hard on his family, including his wife Danielle and their two young children.

“My wife and I came to the realization that I wanted to see them grow up,” Simms said. “I didn’t want to move every two years to chase the new job. I didn’t want to wake up and have my kids in their 20s and think that I wasn’t there for them.”

Now, Simms is chasing stats about NFL teams and players — and is following in his father’s off-the-field footsteps. Simms said his dad persuaded him to pursue a career as a football commentator. “I’ve leaned on him a lot,” Simms said.

“I’ve leaned on him a lot,” Simms said.

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