Johnny ManzielSun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.
Johnny Manziel

Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

Hey, I have a brilliant idea. How about the Patriots trading Tom Brady to the Houston Texans in exchange for J.J. Watt and Houston's 2014 and 2015 first-round draft picks?

And, with that 2014 pick (or after trading it down), New England drafting the football phenomenon known as Johnny Manziel?

I thought that idea might get your attention.

But please put down that rock you're about to angrily throw. I'm only kidding.

The Patriots seem in a bit of a rut -- if you consider sputtering in AFC championship games and Super Bowls "a rut." But I'm not goofy enough yet to suggest Bill Belichick swerve in a nuclear-option direction. (Nine seasons without a football parade does tempt crazy thoughts, however.)

I am kooky, however, about Johnny Manziel. Johnny Football, as he is known. Or even Johnny Basketball to those wowed by the video of the not-quite-six-feet-tall Manziel's dunkfest into what appears to be a 10-foot basket. But like everything else Manziel-related heading into the May 8-10 NFL Draft, maybe it is, maybe it isn't.

Has there ever been a college quarterback so unorthodox and still so tempting to staid old NFL front-office types who are afraid of what could happen if they do draft Manziel, and terrified of what he might become if they don't? Manziel is the most fascinating prospect in the history of the NFL draft.

Manziel's game reminds me a little of Doug Flutie's back in the day; except Manziel is a more accurate passer than was Flutie and two inches taller.


The Manziel Circus at Texas A&M played extraordinary well in the SEC, which for all intents and purposes is the Triple-A for the NFL.

I usually trend toward skepticism regarding run-around college quarterbacks. And certainly Manziel in the NFL better not run around as much as he did in college, because the guys chasing him will be fast enough to seriously dent his durability.

Still, there is something about Manziel's instincts, vision and competitiveness -- wrapped up in a package defying traditional analysis -- that has me believing he will quickly become a Pro Bowl quarterback.

Of course, I would never be willing to bet Brady on that belief. And I love what the Patriots have done this off-season. Belichick saw what the Seattle Seahawks' defense did in the Super Bowl to Peyton Manning -- whom New England's defense could not get off the field in the AFC title game -- and signed up terrifying cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. Even factoring in the loss of Aqib Talib to the Broncos in free agency, it is a considerable net gain.

Defense was what Belichick did best back in the day. I wouldn't mind seeing the Patriots, with their 29th overall pick in the draft, continue in that direction.

In case you missed it: Former Lowell High football and basketball coach Scott Boyle recently joined the football staff at Fitchburg State University as an assistant under head coach Patrick Haverty. Boyle was Bentley University's defensive coordinator from 2009-12. ... Former Lowell High assistant Garrett Gillick recently was hired as the linebackers coach at the University of New Hampshire by Wildcats head coach Sean McDonnell. Gillick was an assistant at Bentley the last three years. ... Former Lowell High and UMass Lowell football coach Dennis Scannell is the proud father-in-law of the new president of the National Football League Players Association. Scannell's daughter Jennifer, a former Lowell High volleyball, basketball and softball player, is the wife of veteran offensive tackle Eric Winston, who in March was elected president of the NFLPA. Winston is currently an unsigned free agent.

On the road to the big leagues: Entering Sunday, Tewksbury's Scott Oberg was 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA and four saves in nine appearances for the Colorado Rockies' Double-A Tulsa Drillers. Last Friday, Oberg pitched the ninth inning of a 5-1 loss to the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, the Kansas City Royals' Texas League entry. He faced four batters and threw eight pitches -- six of them strikes. He allowed one hit and struck out one.

Eighty-five of Oberg's 128 pitches this season have been strikes, an encouraging trend after the right-hander walked 4.56 batters per nine innings last season. One bad outing April 8 skewed Oberg's overall numbers so far this season. Over in his eight other outings, Oberg's line reads: 8 ip, 6h, 0r, 0er, 2bb, 6k. 

A 2012 15th-round pick out of the University of Connecticut, Oberg last year led the High Class-A California League with 33 saves. He appeared in two games with the big league club this spring training. Baseball America ranked him 13th on its list of Colorado prospects coming into this season, describing Oberg as having a "fearless temperament that is ideal for a closer."

Outfielder Aaron Barbosa of Dracut entered Sunday's action batting .262 (11-for-42) with 10 walks (.426 on-base percentage) for the High Desert Mavericks of the California League. Barbosa, 22, gave up his final season at Northeastern University to sign with the Seattle Mariners as a free agent last summer. He then batted .356 with 19 stolen bases in 22 attempts while helping the Pulaski Mariners win the rookie Appalachian League championship. Barbosa started out this season in Low-A but was promoted to High-A after just four games. The 5-foot-10, 160-pound Barbosa entered Sunday's action with a five-game hitting streak.

Follow David Pevear on Twitter and Tout @merganser10