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Barry Switzer on Johnny Manziel, Jadeveon Clowney, and Preparing for NFL Draft as a Coach

Three-time national champion and Super Bowl winning coach Barry Switzer joined Jeff Thurn on Monday’s edition of Overtime. 

Switzer coached the Oklahoma Sooners to three national championships and the Dallas Cowboys to a Super Bowl.

Thurn asked Switzer how Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel translates to the NFL? 

“After I said my disparaging remarks about him, I commented again and said I’ll take him as a football player. If I was the (Houston) Texans, I’d take him with the first pick. I think he’s the most dynamic college quarterback I’ve seen since I’ve been coaching for the last 20 or 30 years. I haven’t seen anybody like this guy. To put up the numbers against the people he does it against, the competition is remarkable how he plays the game of football. Well, people say, ‘he’s going to get beat up running the ball.’ No, he’s not, he’s like Russell (Wilson), the guy who just won the Super Bowl. Russell Wilson wasn’t any bigger than this guy. Can play at 210-215, or whatever around the weight, and he’s got great quickness. Doesn’t have great blazing speed, but no is as quick as this guy, or accelarates like this guy, and runs like this guy playing quarterback in the NFL. And he’s not going to be a guy that is going to try and run the football. He will run it when you give him an opportunity to run, and he’s oblivious to the rush. He stands there, and delivers the ball and if people reach out to get him, he just clears. He finds a crack and he’s gone. That’s when he’s dangerous. He can throw from right foot, left foot, falling backwards, and across the body. He’s like a shortstop in baseball. He gets the ball and delivers and I believe he can do it at the next level because he did it against pretty good competition. I know after he beat Alabama a couple of years ago, they had a year to prepare for him, they didn’t slow him down. He scored 35 on them, went up and down the field, and it was like a practice and throwing like it’s seven-on-seven out there. No, I think he’s a dynamic talent. I think that he is a guy that pack stadiums, like the Texans, who need a shot in the arm down there. I believe they might probably consider him. Here’s what is going to happen: if they don’t take him, (this is what I said and predicted), everyone’s going to take (Jadeveon) Clowney out of South Carolina. I’ve seen him play, I know enough of him on film to know this guy has great measurements. He can run like the wind, he’s got it all. Pass rushers are the key. Guys that play corner, take out receivers, like Deion Sanders, and guys that can rush the passer are guys you want in pro football. Quarterbacks are damn right, you got to have good quarterbacks. But I’m going to tell you: the guys that stop you on defense, you still win. You got to have good defense. This guy will be the first pick or the second pick in the draft. Either the Texans will take him (Clowney, or if they’ll take Manziel. If they take Manziel, he’ll go second. Manziel will not go second. He will either go first or somewhere down the line, maybe way down the line, but I think he will be a first round pick.”

Manziel won the Heisman Trophy after his redshirt freshman season, and guided the Aggies to bowl wins (Cotton, and Chick-fil-A-Bowl).

Switzer on preparing for the NFL Draft as a coach in the war room: 

“Well, we were prepared for it. It takes a month or so to prepare for the draft because you’re setting your board, you’re spending a lot of time with the scouts who are out there evaluating talent and traveling all over the country bringing tape back. Individual coaches that coach individual positions will be studying all the tape. I will look at the tape. I look at the tape of guys of the particular positions where we need help at. I would study those, and where you thought in the draft they would fall. If I have the 13th pick in the draft, we are going to set the board, and I am going to look at the guy we have at 13 and look at the four or five guys we have above, below him and study those guys real hard. We’re probably going to work those guys out. I’m not going to be working out a first round draft choice if we have a first round pick. So, you look where you’re guy fits, where your guy fits on the board, and work those people around and then it might not be the position you want, but if your guy is at 10th and you pick 15th, and the 10th pick hasn’t gone and you have truly evaluated these guys, and you say the 10th is still there, you take the 10th player you have instead of that 15th player that was the 15th pick you had in your slot.”

The NFL Draft begins Thursday with the first round, rounds two and three on Friday, and rounds four through seven on Saturday.

To listen more of Switzer’s interview with Thurn, listen below:

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Catch Thurn weekdays on ESPN 99.1 from 3 to 6 p.m, and don’t miss Overtime tomorrow LIVE from Starz. Thurn will also be LIVE from New York City for the NFL Draft beginning Thursday.

For comments, or story ideas, email Sam at and follow him on Twitter @samtastad.

Brian Deering/Getty Images

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