2014 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
|Class:||RS Sophomore||40 time:||N/A|
It’s safe to say that Johnny Manziel‘s college career has been a bumpy ride. We all know the story: the young phenom sat in his first year, got in some offseason legal trouble, but then rebounded to win Texas A&M‘s starting quarterback job.
He captivated fans with his ability to sneak around and extend plays, and rode his fantastic stats and his “Johnny Football” nickname to the Heisman Trophy. While basking in the glory of being the first-ever redshirt freshman Heisman winner, he’s partied, hung out with celebrities, and done just about everything to create controversy.
Unfortunately for Manziel, his future professional career does not look to be as promising. With his NCAA eligibility dangling by a thread and his penchant for getting in trouble with the law, Manziel will almost certainly have to enter the 2014 NFL Draft. There are several major question marks which will negatively affect his draft status.
First and foremost, his wild attitude and air of superiority are undesirable for a position where leadership and composure are essential for success. We’ve seen ultra-talented players such as Ryan Mallett and Tyler Bray free-fall in the draft in recent years due to similar concerns, and Manziel should be no different.
As if his character issues weren’t enough, Manziel’s size is an issue as well. Though he has drawn comparisons to Russell Wilson, Manziel seemingly is not as muscular as the Seattle Seahawks quarterback, and would be vulnerable to injury, not to mention easy pass deflections at the professional level.
The other negative label put on Manziel during the draft process will be that of a “system quarterback”. A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin previously ran the same offense at the University of Houston, where undersized quarterback Case Keenum became the NCAA’s all-time leader in completions, passing yards, and touchdowns.
Granted, Keenum was not as elusive as Manziel, but he has struggled to maintain a living as a practice-squad player in the NFL. If Manziel doesn’t seriously turn it around soon, he may end up having a similar career path.
- Redshirt freshman season was one of the best ever for a college quarterback, winning him the Heisman and putting him in the ranks of the all-time greatest dual threat quarterbacks
- Highly accurate passer with a strong arm, though he doesn’t throw downfield much
- Very elusive and quick
- Really knows how to deceive defenders and extend plays
- Seemed to develop more of a physical, north-south rushing approach as the season went on, particularly in the Cotton Bowl vs. Oklahoma
- Boatload of off-the-field issues: charged with three misdemeanors in June 2012; it is rumored that he has excessively partied, drank too much and smoked marijuana; ongoing investigation into him being paid for signing memorabilia could jeopardize his eligibility
- Commitment to football is questionable; he spent most of the offseason taking advantage of his celebrity status rather than being on campus and furthering himself as an athlete
- Short enough that defenders can easily bat his passes down at or behind the line of scrimmage; this was a major issue against LSU
- Height and weight are both less than ideal; though he got over 200 pounds in the offseason, it is highly likely that most of that weight is fat and not muscle
- Throwing mechanics are a bit unorthodox and involve his full body too much
- Played behind one of the best offensive lines in the country, which increased his ability to move and limited pressure situations for him
- Very little experience under center
- Though he is great at avoiding rushers, he goes down quickly when they ultimately get to him
- Exposed in 2012 loss to LSU; defensive line full of future NFL-ers prevented him from getting passes off, and he threw three interceptions
- At this point, can be considered a one-year wonder, and depending on the results of NCAA investigation, may not get any more collegiate game experience
- Still can be considered a system quarterback
If he can even get on the field this year, Manziel will be under immense pressure to win another Heisman Trophy. Anything less will be considered a disappointment, and his reputation will suffer as a result.
2014 Draft Projection: 6th round