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Jaguars should draft Johnny Manziel if they want, but not to sell tickets

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Johnny Manziel just declared for the NFL Draft, so obviously that means the Jaguars will draft him to sell tickets.

Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports

Johnny Football reportedly declared for the 2014 NFL Draft on Wednesday, which immediately led to a slew of "Johnny Manziel to the Jacksonville Jaguars!" tweets, texts, and Facebook updates.

Sure, that'd be rad.

Manziel was an electric playmaker in the college ranks for Texas A&M and is a better passer than most people give him credit for, not relying all on his legs like a lot of casual observers believe. If you think Johnny Football should be drafted by the Jaguars because he would sell tickets however.... Let's slam on the brakes.

It took less than 30 minutes for the first tweet from a national writer to begin the new narrative.

Joe should have ended his tweet at the 11-37 since 2011 part, but instead he entered the world of drafting a player because of his presumed (usually incorrectly) ability to move tickets. It's a sensitive subject for Jacksonville fans, because we've dealt with this previously with he who shall not be named.

I've mentioned countless times that there are many reasons for a team to draft Johnny Manziel in May, but perceived ticket sales don't need to be one of them. So, I tried to engage Fortenbaugh and point out the flaw in his logic, but what we got was the narrative in full effect, as well as an illogical argument.

First of all, the Jaguars have a lot to lose if they mess up the No. 3 pick on the wrong quarterback. They'll lose a lot more football games and continue on their path of poor results. That's quite a bit to lose. If Johnny Football isn't good, he's not going to sell these imaginary tickets he's supposed to sell. Johnny Football is no guarantee in the NFL.

It's the he who shall not be named narrative alive once again. He just wins. He'll sell tickets because he gets a lot of search hits on Google! See!

You'll get a lot of search hits for Aaron Hernandez too, but I don't think many people are going to line up to buy tickets to watch him play football right now. You'll still get a ton of web hits from he who shall not be named too, but no one is advocating he should be signed anymore, oddly enough.

I'm not necessarily trying to lambast Fortenbaugh with this post, even though that seems to be the intent. The intent is more so show how an illogical assumption can catch a head of steam and become truth. The whole ticket sales thing is one of those.

Cam Newton was a super popular player pre-draft, as was Robert Griffin III. Both Washington and Carolina didn't see a massive boost in ticket sales when they were drafted, though. In fact, the Redskins reduced the capacity of their stadium by 4,000 seats (going from 91,000 to because they've had trouble selling out.

In 2010, Carolina averaged 72,620 in attendance (be it just ticket sales or turnstile, since attendance reporting is sketchy at best). The year they drafted Cam, they averaged 72,292... so, they actually had less attendance than before. Surely that must have fixed itself when everyone saw Cam was legit right?

Correct... the tune of 73,293. So, they averaged roughly 1,000 more tickets per game. The Redskins sales were similar, with the team actually dropping in attendance from 2012 to 2013, which has been on a steady decline since 2008.

That's certainly not enough of an impact to factor into a draft day decision, especially with the No. 3 overall pick.

Good players, especially quarterbacks, will inherently "sell". Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are among some of the top jersey sellers traditionally, but they're ho-hum pocket passing quarterbacks. Good players sell jerseys. Bad players don't, generally, unless there is some illogical legion of followers. The Patriots and Broncos also have really good attendance, because they're good, consistent.


TL;DR -- If the Jaguars draft Johnny Manziel with the No. 3 overall pick, it won't be because of potential ticket sales. It will be because they think he's a franchise quarterback.