As expected, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has announced that he will enter the 2014 NFL Draft, per multiple reports. Manziel finishes his two year career as a starter for the Aggies with a 20-6 record, wins in both bowl-game appearances, 7,820 yards and 63 touchdowns through the air, 2,169 yards and 30 touchdowns on the ground, and with the honor of being the first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy.
There’s no denying Manziel’s accomplishments in the college ranks, but the jury is still out on how he’ll perform in the pros. Some people question whether or not Manziel was somewhat a product of the system at A&M and others wonder how his size will affect him the NFL. Projected to be one of the top-10 picks in the draft, there are quite a few that believe he has bust potential.
If you ask me, though, Johnny Football is going to continue being productive once he makes it to the NFL.
I understand that there are drawbacks when it comes to Manziel as a pro quarterback, but I also realize that talent often trumps some of those shortcomings. After all, if you’re talking about Manziel’s size, there are two quarterbacks named Russell Wilson and Drew Brees currently in the NFL with similar measurements that are doing pretty well for themselves.
Manziel is a special talent in terms of what he can do under-center. He has elite playmaking ability because of his quickness and speed. He can extend plays against a heavy pass-rush, take off for big chunks of yardage, and break big plays out of nowhere. Factor in that with at least solid arm strength and solid accuracy and he has what you need to be a quality NFL quarterback.
The biggest factor in Manziel succeeding in the NFL is probably the situation that he winds up in. One of the reasons a player like Wilson has had success in the league so quickly after entering the NFL is because Pete Carroll designed an offense that suits his quarterback rather than asking Wilson to unrealistically adapt to another system. That’s something that Manziel will also need. He’s not a conventional quarterback and trying to make him run a conventional offense that doesn’t fully utilize his skill-set won’t end well.
With the offensive minds circulating around the NFL, I think Manziel will come in and be set up to succeed. There may be some growing pains, as there almost always are, but Manziel will be successful at the next level. Like him or not, Johnny Football is going to be around for quite a bit longer, this time in the pros.