Johnny Manziel was probably penciled in on the lists of many teams lists of eligible players for the 2014 NFL Draft, but they have been undoubtedly wondering whether they would be hiring Johnny “Football” or Johnny “Trouble.” Whether it is questioning what he has been or what he could be, Manziel can’t hide from big questions and comparisons. From past legends like Fran Tarkenton, to Brett Favre, arguably the best quarterback to ever play the position, he is being compared to every quarterback among them.
The former Heisman winner has the talent to be a top ten pick in the coming draft. With his added flair and competitiveness, he could very well be someone’s next franchise quarterback. The question is, however, who’s going to take the leap of faith? Any team willing to take the leap on Manziel will have to look past the off-the-field antics, the random controversial tweeting, and the frowned-upon social media build-up. They must draft him for one, sole reason; to play football. While Manziel brings baggage, he also brings fans to the stands. He could potentially be the quarterback who will lead the brave team that takes him for the next decade.
There are five teams in the top-10 this year that could be searching for their next man under center. There are four prospects being considered, Manziel being one of them. Will the Texans bring the native son home to Houston? Will the “Dog Pound” bring Johnny Football’s talent to Cleveland? Will the Vikings be able to finally win a Superbowl with their version of Fran Tarkenton 2.0? Fran is already calling for it in Minnesota, but we, unfortunately, won’t know Manziel’s path until May. The three other prospects could be just as good as Manziel, if not better. Each have their own traits and unique talents to put them in the position that they are fortunate enough to be in today, but Manziel is the only with a few concerns not stemming from football.
He may have accepted payments and violated NCAA violations. In addition, Johnny might have said a few things on a crazy night or two he may wish the social media never saw. The controversy that surrounds his name may sway some coaches’ minds, wondering whether Manziel is bringing Johnny “Football” to the NFL, or just the troubled media darling. When it comes to putting it all on the field and watching Johnny Football hit the “juke and spin” button like he’s playing Madden, he makes the decision difficult. It’s hard to leave a talent like that on the board, knowing he’s the best football player available.
It hasn’t gotten to the point where college prospects announce whether or not they will be attending either pro days or the NFL Combine yet. Many will be wondering if they’ll have to create a new offensive system for Manziel, or if he can line up under center. Mechanics will be in question, and will need to be seen by prospective coaches, along with his touch and accuracy on the deep ball. Johnny will have to test well and show teams in his interviews that he’s matured from his past mistakes.
When it’s all said and done, it’s not just a game anymore for Manziel. Football becomes an everyday job on and off the field once he hits the NFL. Veterans won’t care whether he can sign autographs or can go hang out with Drake. They want a leader for their football team, and Johnny Manziel will hope to prove to everyone in the NFL that Johnny “Football” is more than just a name, that he’s their franchise for years to come.
by Justin Huffman