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2014 NFL Draft: Johnny Manziel better not pan out, unless Logan Thomas does

Some big names in local media are very critical of the quarterback decisions made in the recent draft.

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Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals could have drafted Johnny Manziel in the first round. He was available with the 20th overall pick. They traded down and eventually drafted Washington State safety Deone Bucannon, a player I personally believe will be well worth it. 

Instead of going with the most exciting player in the entire draft, they waited and selected quarterback Logan Thomas, a player about whom former general manager and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian said, "There is nothing I saw on tape that led me to believe Logan Thomas has a chance to be a very good QB."

However, if you are an Arizona Cardinals, you better hope that either Manziel does not pan out or that Thomas does. 

Local radio personality and columnist Dan Bickley wrote that passing on the polarizing star could "chain the franchise to a generation of regret."

He cites that it could be worse than trading down to avoid Terrell Suggs or taking Levi Brown over Adrian Peterson, two players he believes will both be Hall of Famers. 

Keim has praised Johnny Football on many occasions. But he wasn't willing to pull the trigger. In fairness, he was passed over more than 20 times, so the Cardinals are not alone. But if Manziel becomes a star, or even a very good quarterback, then this could define the Steve Keim era. 

Instead, they go with a project in Logan Thomas, who is still new to the quarterback position. He did not have a lot of talent around him and he does have the measurables to be a great player, but his game tape is flashy. It goes between breathtaking to cringe-worthy. 

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 believes that what the Cardinals did instead was stupid. He calls the selection of Logan Thomas "the worst pick in the entire draft."

Even though Thomas is a fourth rounder, a round in which you can never ever bank on a player you draft to become a star, in some ways the Cardinals need him to become a franchise QB. He is the team's buffer if Manziel does become a star. 

If Manziel becomes the dynamic playmaker he was in college and Thomas is just another guy, the Cardinals will have recorded yet another big mistake to their list of big mistakes as a franchise. If Manziel busts, then no one is the wiser. But if Thomas becomes a great player, a franchise guy, then it won't matter what Manziel becomes. The Cardinals will have drafted and developed a franchise quarterback -- one that actually is a better fit to what Bruce Arians likes to do offensively.

It's a lot of pressure to put on a developmental prospect -- and we have seen more than our share in recent years  with John Navarre, John Skelton, Brian Hoyer and Ryan Lindley. But Thomas has to pan out if Manziel also does because otherwise it will end up being the big blemish that defines Steve Keim's career as general manager.