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Wade Phillips: 'I told [the Texans] they ought to take Johnny Football'

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

Would Houston really consider Johnny Manziel at No 1 overall? (USATSI)
Would Houston really consider Johnny Manziel at No 1 overall? (USATSI)

Though he no longer has any say in how the Texans will set up their draft board, former defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has an opinion on who Houston should take with its No. 1 overall draft pick. And it's not a defensive player.

"When I did the [exit] interview with the [team owner] McNairs, I told them they ought to take Johnny Football," Phillips told SportsRadio 610 in Houston (via CBS Houston). "Those kinds of guys who can make first downs when you're not supposed to, I think they give you something. I just think he makes plays that nobody else can make."

I've heard a few people say this in the past week or so, and it makes sense when you think about it this way. 1) The Texans need a quarterback. Johnny Manziel is, in fact, a quarterback; 2) Manziel is a rare talent, and though we don't know if his collegiate success will translate to the NFL, it might be worth taking a chance; 3) The Texans need someone who will excite the fanbase, and considering Manziel is from Texas, he would almost certainly do that.

"I thought it would be the Earl Campbell of Houston, the reincarnation," Phillips said, referring to the Pro Football Hall of Famer who was selected by the Houston Oilers with the No. 1 overall pick in 1978 after a standout career at the University of Texas. "Having the Heisman Trophy winner come to Houston, from the state of Texas, I just thought it would be a neat deal."

Neither Rob Rang nor Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com predict in their latest mock drafts that the Texans will draft Manziel. Rang has Houston selecting South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, while Brugler theorizes it'll be Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles.

Both have Manziel going at No. 4 to the Browns.

But CBSSports.com's Gregg Doyel agrees with Phillips. Wrote Doyel earlier this week:

Since there isn't a no-brainer with that No. 1 overall pick, that leaves a no-brainer with the No. 1 overall pick: Johnny Manziel.

This is one of those perfect-storm situations. Manziel wouldn't be the no-brainer No. 1 pick for just any team, even a team needing a quarterback. His ceiling is high, but the risk factor is high too. A safer quarterback for a team like, say, Cleveland to draft would be Bortles. I guess. ... [A] mark against Bortles?

He's not Johnny Manziel.

Like I said earlier, this is the perfect storm for the Texans. Manziel is a national phenomenon, but he's also a state legend. He's the Texas Tebow, only better, and the Texans need a quarterback. And to draft anyone but Manziel, and to watch Manziel become a star in some other market ...

Well, according to Doyel and Phillips, it would simply be a missed opportunity.

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