Shockingly, there are team executives who are raving about Manziel.
Eric Seals-USA TODAY Sports

Johnny Manziel played in a competitive football game for the first time since 2015 when he made his Spring League debut on Saturday, and his stat line was not overwhelming. However, it sounds like Manziel impressed many of the people who matter.

Manziel completed 9-of-15 passes for 83 yards and a touchdown, but he also took three sacks in only two quarters. Poor protection had a lot to do with that, and his best play of the game came when he threw a touchdown pass on the run.

That particular play reminded us of the Manziel who won a Heisman Trophy at Texas A&M, and apparently some NFL executives agreed.

The one thing Manziel has on his side is time. While it feels like he ruined his NFL career ages ago, he’s still just 25. It will always be difficult for teams to look past some of the things Manziel put the Browns through, but he could conceivably get an invitation to training camp or sign with the CFL and prove himself further.

32 SLIDES
Best QB ever drafted by each team


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title: ‘Atlanta Falcons: Brett Favre, 1991’,
description: ‘

Oh, what could have been. The Falcons drafted Favre 33rd overall out of Southern Miss in 1991, only to trade him one year later to Green Bay for a first-round pick. Favre went on to have a Hall of Fame career, winning three MVPs and going to 11 Pro Bowls. Other notable drafted quarterbacks include Steve Bartkowski, Michael Vick and Matt Ryan.

Perry McIntyre / Getty Images


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title: ‘Baltimore Ravens: Joe Flacco, 2008’,
description: ‘

Since the Cleveland Browns became the Baltimore Ravens, they’ve only drafted 11 quarterbacks, and Flacco has easily had the most successful. The 2008 first-round pick was MVP of Super Bowl XLVII.

Gregory Shamus / Getty Images


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title: ‘Buffalo Bills: Jim Kelly, 1983’,
description: ‘

Kelly was drafted 14th overall in 1983 and notoriously said he wasn’t going to Buffalo after spending his college years at Miami. Instead, he went to the USFL but arrived with the Bills in 1986. Over 11 seasons in Buffalo, Kelly led the Bills to four Super Bowl losses and went to five Pro Bowls. He’s now a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Trevor Jones / Getty Images


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title: ‘Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton, 2011’,
description: ‘

The Panthers have drafted eight quarterbacks in their brief history, and Newton has been far and away their best in only seven seasons. He has a career 62-45-1 record and won MVP honors in 2015 while leading the team to the Super Bowl. Kerry Collins, drafted fifth overall in 1995, is clearly the team’s second best quarterback ever drafted.

Al Bello / Getty Images


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title: ‘Chicago Bears: George Blanda, 1949’,
description: ‘

The Bears drafted Bobby Layne and Blanda in consecutive years, both Hall of Famers. Blanda won the 1961 AFL MVP and the 1970 NFL MVP playing with Chicago, Houston and Oakland. Layne only appeared in 11 games with the Bears and was a three-time NFL champion with the Lions. More recent notable draftees include Jim McMahon (1982) and Jim Harbaugh (1987).

Focus on Sport


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title: ‘Cincinnati Bengals: Ken Anderson, 1971’,
description: ‘

Anderson edges out Boomer Esiason and Carson Palmer in a very close race. Anderson made four Pro Bowls and won the NFL MVP in 1981. He’s the organization’s all-time leader in wins, passing yards and passing touchdowns. He was taken in the third round in 1971.

Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images


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title: ‘Cleveland Browns: Brian Sipe, 1972’,
description: ‘

Have Browns quarterbacks always been cursed? You could say so. Sipe edges out Milt Plum as the best draftee ever, as he won the 1980 NFL MVP after going in the 13th round in 1972. Recent Browns draft disasters include Tim Couch, Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden and Johnny Manziel.

George Rose/Getty Images


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title: ‘Dallas Cowboys: Roger Staubach, 1964’,
description: ‘

Drafted in the 10th round out of Navy, Staubach went on to win one NFL MVP, make six Pro Bowls and have his number retired. Troy Aikman isn’t far behind Staubach as another Pro Football Hall of Famer, drafted in 1989.

Focus on Sport / Getty Images


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title: ‘Denver Broncos: Jay Cutler, 2006’,
description: ‘

For all the success the Broncos have had over the last 20-plus years, Cutler is still their best quarterback ever drafted. He played only three seasons with the Broncos before getting traded to Chicago but leads all Denver quarterback draftees in nearly every category.

Doug Pensinger / Getty Images


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title: ‘Detroit Lions: Y.A. Tittle, 1948’,
description: ‘

Tittle edges out 1944 fourth overall pick Otto Graham as the Lions’ best quarterback ever drafted. Tittle never actually played for the Lions, starting his pro career with the Baltimore Colts. He won four NFL MVP awards and had his number retired by the Giants.

Focus on Sport


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title: ‘Green Bay Packers: Bart Starr, 1956’,
description: ‘

Starr is Green Bay’s best quarterback ever drafted, but when all is said and done, Aaron Rodgers could pass him. Starr went in the 17th round in 1956 and went on to win five NFL Championships and two Super Bowls. He was ranked as the No. 51 player of all time by NFL.com and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Focus on Sport


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title: ‘Houston Texans: David Carr, 2002’,
description: ‘

If it’s possible to be the best and worst quarterback ever drafted by an organization, Carr gets the honor with the Texans. He was their first ever draft pick in 2002, going 23-56 for his career. None of the organization’s other drafted quarterbacks have seen significant playing time.

Kirby Lee / Getty Images


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title: ‘Indianapolis Colts: Peyton Manning, 1998’,
description: ‘

Manning ironically beats out John Elway as the best quarterback ever drafted by the Colts and arguably the best quarterback to ever play. The future Hall of Famer shattered records during his 18-year NFL career, winning five MVPs, making 14 Pro Bowls and claiming two Super Bowl wins. He finished his career working under Broncos GM John Elway in Denver.

Ezra Shaw / Getty Images


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title: ‘Jacksonville Jaguars: David Garrard, 2002’,
description: ‘

Garrard had a solid yet brief career. He went 39-37 as a starter with the Jags after being drafted in the fourth round and passed for more than 16,000 yards over his career. Jacksonville fans hope Blake Bortles gets this top honor eventually.

Rick Stewart / Getty Images


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title: ‘Kansas City Chiefs: Roger Staubach, 1964’,
description: ‘

Yes, Staubach was drafted by both the NFL’s Cowboys and AFL’s Chiefs. He opted to sign with the Cowboys when he started his career in 1969 after serving in the Navy and went on to have a Hall of Fame career.

Cindy Ord / Getty Images


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title: ‘Miami Dolphins: Dan Marino, 1983’,
description: ‘

Marino is the second Hall of Fame quarterback the Dolphins ever drafted, with Bob Griese the first. His stats are some of the most impressive ever, throwing for more than 61,000 yards with 420 touchdown passes over his career. He went to nine Pro Bowls and won the NFL MVP in 1984. Joe Theismann was another notable Dolphins draftee.

Rhona Wise / Getty Images


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title: ‘Minnesota Vikings: Fran Tarkenton, 1961’,
description: ‘

Sorry, Brad Johnson, but there’s no debating this one. Tarkenton is a Pro Football Hall of Famer after throwing for more than 47,000 yards over his career, winning the 1975 MVP and being named to nine Pro Bowls.

Sylvia Allen / Getty Images


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title: ‘New England Patriots: Tom Brady, 2000’,
description: ‘

Fran Tarkenton was drafted by the Pats in the fifth round in 1961 before signing with the Vikings. That was the organization’s best quarterback ever drafted until Tom Brady came along. The future Hall of Famer has won five Super Bowls, three MVPs and been named to 13 Pro Bowls.

Jim Rogash / Getty Images


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title: ‘New Orleans Saints: Archie Manning, 1971’,
description: ‘

Selected second overall in 1971, Manning’s Saints were never good, but that wasn’t all his fault. He went 35-101-3 as a starter but still threw for nearly 24,000 yards over his career. Of course, he’s now better known as Peyton and Eli’s father. The team doesn’t have a rich history with quarterback drafting, with Marc Bulger being the only other quarterback it’s drafted with significant time as a starter.

James Flores / Getty Images


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title: ‘New York Giants: Philip Rivers, 2004’,
description: ‘

Rivers was drafted fourth overall in 2004 before getting traded to the Chargers for Eli Manning. He’s had a steady career, going 106-86 as a starter and going to seven Pro Bowls so far. He has the most passing yards of any Giants quarterback ever drafted, easily beating out Phil Simms.

Chris McGrath / Getty Images


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title: ‘New York Jets: Joe Namath, 1965’,
description: ‘

Going first overall in 1965, Namath is the only Hall of Fame quarterback the Jets have ever drafted. Even though he played in a long-ago era, he still leads all Jets quarterback draftees in career passing yards.

Focus on Sport


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title: ‘Oakland Raiders: Ken Stabler, 1968’,
description: ‘

Stabler had an excellent career after going in the second round, with four Pro Bowls and being named NFL MVP in 1974. He won Super Bowl XI and retired with nearly 28,000 career passing yards. Fellow Raiders draftees Roman Gabriel and Craig Morton are awfully close to Stabler in accomplishments, and Raiders fans hope Derek Carr is in the discussion as his career develops.

Robert Riger / Getty Images


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title: ‘Philadelphia Eagles: Sonny Jurgensen, 1957’,
description: ‘

The Eagles have had some solid quarterbacks drafted in their history, but Jurgensen is clearly their best. The Hall of Famer led the NFL in passing yards five times and was a First-Team All-Pro twice. He retired with more than 32,000 passing yards, playing more years in Washington than Philly.

Focus on Sport


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title: ‘Pittsburgh Steelers: Johnny Unitas, 1955’,
description: ‘

Believe it or not, Unitas was released by the Steelers after they drafted him in the ninth round in 1955. He joined the Colts the following year, and the rest is history. He won four MVPs, made 10 Pro Bowls, was a three-time NFL champion and won Super Bowl V. Hall of Famers Jim Finks, Len Dawson and Terry Bradshaw were also drafted by the Steelers.

Bettmann/Getty Images


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title: ‘San Diego Chargers: Drew Brees, 2001’,
description: ‘

Brees was selected 32nd overall in 2001 after the Chargers selected LaDainian Tomlinson in the first round. He spent five years with San Diego before hurting his shoulder and signing with the Saints in free agency, where he’s done most of his damage. He’s led the NFL in pass yards seven times, passing touchdowns four times and made 11 Pro Bowls. He also led the Saints to a win in Super Bowl XLIV. John Hadl, Hall of Famer Dan Fouts, Trent Green and Eli Manning are other notable quarterbacks drafted by the Chargers.

Steve Grayson / Getty Images


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title: ‘San Francisco 49ers: Joe Montana, 1979’,
description: ‘

Montana is the only Hall of Fame quarterback the 49ers ever drafted. Going in the third round, Montana went on to win four Super Bowls, two MVPs and made eight Pro Bowls.

Wally McNamee / Getty Images


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title: ‘Seattle Seahawks: Russell Wilson, 2012’,
description: ‘

Even six seasons into his career, it’s not a stretch to say that Wilson is more successful than Rick Mirer. He’s gone 65-30-1 in his short career, leading the team to two NFC Championship wins and victory in Super Bowl XLVIII. He’s also been to four Pro Bowls.

Justin Edmonds / Getty Images


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title: ‘Los Angeles Rams: Norm Van Brocklin, 1949’,
description: ‘

The Rams selected both Hall of Famers Van Brocklin and Bob Waterfield (1944). Van Brocklin went 61-36-4 during his NFL career, won two NFL Championships, the 1960 MVP and made nine Pro Bowls.

Vic Stein / Getty Images


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title: ‘Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vinny Testaverde, 1987’,
description: ‘

The Bucs organization has lost more than its won during its history, and Testaverde is the team’s most accomplished quarterback. He went first overall in 1987 and started 214 games for his career, making two Pro Bowls. Other notable Bucs draftees include Doug Williams and Trent Dilfer, and Bucs fans hope when all is said and done, Jameis Winston tops this list.

Doug Pensinger / Getty Images


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title: ‘Tennessee Titans: Steve McNair, 1995’,
description: ‘

Air McNair went third overall out of Alcorn State. He went to three Pro Bowls during his career and was the 2003 MVP. McNair went 91-62 during his career as a starter.

Matthew Stockman / Getty Images


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title: ‘Washington Redskins: Sammy Baugh, 1937’,
description: ‘

Baugh was the Washington organization’s first quarterback ever drafted, going sixth overall. He’s also the organization’s only Hall of Fame quarterback ever drafted after winning two NFL Championships and two NFL Player of the Year Awards.

Nate Fine / Getty Images


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