Will Lewis, general manager of the AAF's Memphis Express, recently signed Manziel as a free agent. He says the Chiefs considered selecting the quarterback in 2014 with the No. 23 pick in the first round — and might have had Cleveland not made a move in scooping him up at No. 22.
"Truly, if it had all been just about the player, then they may not have Patrick Mahomes there today because everybody was very much impressed with Johnny as a player," said Lewis, who served as director of pro scouting for the Chiefs prior to joining the Express. "He competes, his mobility, his ability to throw the ball, his accuracy, all those things. They just went down the line and checked off the boxes."
Lewis pointed out the same offensive minds that fell in love with Mahomes once viewed Manziel in similar terms.
"We did, I think, as thorough a job as you can do because at that time, obviously, Andy Reid was the head coach," Lewis told NFL.com. "Doug Pederson was the offensive coordinator, a former quarterback. Matt Nagy was the quarterbacks coach, another quarterback. Brad Childress was in there, another offensive-minded guy."