Johnny Manziel reportedly has a pre-draft meeting with the Patriots. (AP)
So why would Johnny Manziel meet with the Patriots?
While it’s unlikely the Patriots are in the market for a quarterback — and it’s also unlikely that Manziel would last until New England was on the clock at No. 29 — if there is a meeting set for Wednesday, it could mean one of four things:
1) Bill Belichick has often used his pre-draft visits on a player he knew he wasn’t going to be able to draft, but instead took advantage of the opportunity to use the sit-down as sort of an scouting report — a chance to get inside the head of a youngster who he’ll be facing down the road. (To that end, the Patriots will play four the teams who pick in the top 10 of the 2014 draft — Detroit, Buffalo, Minnesota and Oakland — which means there’s at least a decent chance they could see him in 2014.) As Nick Underhill of Masslive.com notes, they did the same thing with pass rusher Dion Jordan last year.
2) The Patriots are famous for the phrase “due diligence,” and that could certainly be the case here. There’s the real possibility that they want to take a look at him and kick the tires on someone who has become one of the more intriguing prospects in the draft.
3) Smokescreen. While Manziel doesn’t necessarily need any more buzz around him, the fact that the Patriots have displayed some interest in him would certainly resonate around the league.
4) As ridiculous as it sounds, and that’s why we’re listing it as the last reason here, the Patriots have always made a habit of drafting a quarterback ever year, regardless of Tom Brady‘s status. Not saying they’d push all of their chips to the middle of the table to try and chase after Manziel, but if something unforeseen happens, the New England braintrust wants to make absolutely sure it has all the info they need before making a decision.
When it comes to Manziel and the Patriots, it is worth mentioning that there’s one notable connection — he’s leaned on Brady throughout part of the pre-draft process.
“For him to reach back out to me after I extended a text message to him was extremely cool,” Manziel said at the combine when asked about his communication with Brady. “(It was) kind of a really funny conversation at first and worked our way into a little more serious conversation. It was really nice, and very thankful for him to be able to extend a hand out to me in the situation that I’m in.”
As far as the advice, Manziel said Brady kept it simple.
“Big thing was just enjoy the process,” Manziel said. “He kind of gave me a little joke — if I can teach him how to run like I can, he’ll do anything in the world for me. It was pretty funny hearing it from him.”