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Updated: May 12th, 2014 5:20pm
Mackey: The Vikings just need to hope Johnny Manziel isn't Steph Curry

Mackey: The Vikings just need to hope Johnny Manziel isn't Steph Curry

by Phil Mackey

No team felt confident enough in Johnny Manziel as a sure-fire top-level quarterback to draft him in the first 21 picks in the first round of last week's NFL draft. We know this now.

It wasn't until the Cleveland Browns - who already passed on Manziel in the top 10 - outbid the Vikings to move up to No. 22 did Manziel come off the board.

The Vikings had chances to draft Manziel at No. 8 and No. 9 if they thought highly enough of him, but that obviously wasn't the case.

Yes, it would have been extremely entertaining to watch Manziel run around in a purple uniform like the second coming of Fran Tarkenton, but NFL teams don't draft for entertainment purposes. They draft for winning. And there were enough perceived flaws with Manziel to warrant him falling deep into the first round.

Whereas the Indianapolis Colts likely viewed Andrew Luck as having, say, a 90% chance of panning out a couple years ago, it's possible most quarterback-starved teams in this year's draft saw Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater as being closer to coin flips.

Even though I largely agree with the Vikings' draft strategy, allow me to play devil's advocate and pose a potentially nightmarish scenario:

What if Johnny Manziel is to the Vikings what Steph Curry is to the Timberwolves?

Of course, after the Wolves passed twice on Curry in 2009 - to draft Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn - he was scooped up immediately with the No. 7 overall pick by the Golden State Warriors. At least the Vikings have the validation of the rest of the league passing on Manziel.

Now, of course, Curry has emerged as one of the greatest shooters in the history of the NBA, and his Warriors teams have been very good and very exciting to watch.

Curry and Manziel certainly aren't exact parallels - for one, because they play completely different sports - but both players raised similar questions heading into their respective drafts: Did they have enough size to compete at a high level? Would their college game translate to the pros? Are they too selfish and/or reckless on the court/field?

To further illustrate, here are some snippets from both players' various draft scouting profiles:

ESPN's Chad Ford called Curry "One of the best scorers in the country," but said "he lacks size at his natural position" and has a "slight frame."

Another outlet said Curry "puts a lot of pressure on defense with his scoring ability and quickness ... Looks fearless on the floor and plays under control ... Can get any shot he wants and has great shot efficiency," but... "(He is) far below NBA standard in regard to explosiveness and athleticism ... At 6-2, he's extremely small for the NBA shooting guard position ... Although he's playing point guard this year, he's not a natural point guard that an NBA team can rely on to run a team ... Will have to adjust to not being a volume shooter which could have an effect on his effectiveness ... Doesn't like when defenses are too physical with him ... Not a great finisher around the basket due to his size and physical attributes."

Another draft profile said, "It is notable how far apart Curry's role in the NCAA was from the role he is likely to play in the NBA."

We've all heard the criticisms of Manziel over the past few months. He lacks adequate size and has a "tendency to fall off his throws, even when standing flat-footed with no pressure." He's a "spoiled brat" who "doesn't study the game." And against tough competition last year he looked "almost undraftable."

Time will tell if the Vikings will come to regret passing on Manziel. Lord knows the Wolves would love to have a backcourt of Ricky Rubio and Steph Curry, with Kevin Love up front.

But as long as Teddy Bridgewater and Anthony Barr don't turn out like Flynn, maybe nobody will think twice. 

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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