As a member of the media, it irks me to no end when my press brethren try to turn an opinion into a fact by overhyping something — or in this case, someone. A certain boneheaded “expert” declared Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel as the first overall pick in his mock of the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. The problem is he doesn’t really think that, but his employer wants that polarizing opinion to be presented as fact: They want you to believe NFL teams are actually considering drafting Johnny Football with the top selection this year. Don’t fall for it.
Indeed, Mel Kiper Jr. made headlines Wednesday when he announced on ESPN that he’s projecting the Houston Texans to take Manziel with the first overall pick in early May. Obviously the network known for overindulging in polarizing athletes like Tim Tebow and Manziel put him up to it because he was squirming uncomfortably on television while he stated “his opinion” with a look on his face similar to that of someone on the witness stand who’s being paid or bullied into stating something that’s not true. In reality, that comparison is right on the money.
There’s no mystery with Manziel; here’s how it’s going to happen: He’ll do fairly well in his first three games as a rookie by running around and making a few lucky plays. Then about the fourth game of the season, he’ll get cremated by a good defense and every other team will see how to stop him, which will be relatively easy considering he can’t read a defense.
Seriously, watch any highlight reel on YouTube of Manziel and you’ll see that he always throws to his first read unless he scrambles. And don’t give me that garbage about him being able to scramble all the time — that doesn’t work in the NFL. Ask Randall Cunningham, Vince Young and every other running quarterback who couldn’t win a game when he was forced to stand in the pocket and read coverages.
In addition, Manziel’s size and poor technique will certainly hurt him. Sure, he’s “short” by NFL quarterback standards, but don’t compare him to Drew Brees or Russell Wilson — those guys have superb technique and can read defenses as well as any passer in the league, save Peyton Manning. They release the ball high to make up for their lack of height and Manziel doesn’t do that.
All of these things aside, some will still argue Mr. Football can play in today’s NFL because of the read-option offenses that are being integrated. Sure, teams are using it successfully (and sparingly), but no team has adopted that as its entire scheme like many college programs have already done. Folks, that doesn’t work in the NFL. How many players like Cunningham and Young have to fail before everyone will realize (and remember) that?
Manziel will fail in the NFL. Period. Nobody actually thinks he’ll go first overall in the draft, so don’t believe the lies. Let there be some integrity that remains when it comes to this time of the football year.