Johnny Manziel attended the NFL combine in Indianapolis this weekend. His official NFL audition was a bit of a disappointment. Manziel failed to measure up to expectations regarding his height and speed. Last week the quarterback promised he would measure in at six feet exactly.
Manziel’s draft stock probably won’t be affected drastically by his height and speed. However, it has to be disappointing to get the confirmation that he is shorter and slower than expected. Anyone with eyes could see that Manziel was going to join Russell Wilson and Drew Brees in the vertically challenged category for NFL quarterbacks. His official height is listed at 5-foot-11 and ¾ inches, just a bit shy of six feet.
Manziel’s height is a big concern for NFL scouts. They feel it can affect his professional potential. But he is still considered one of the top three quarterbacks in the draft right along with Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles.
When it comes to speed Manziel ran an unofficial 40-yard dash of 4.63 and 4.56. Many believed that Manziel would run faster than that. Seeing as he was such a prolific rusher at Texas A&M. But what makes the times not as relevant if he were at a different position, say running back, is the fact that it was elusiveness, quickness and instincts that made Manziel such a great runner. Manziel’s inability to measure up to height and speed expectations does not mean he is a failure.
Manziel’s forty times were the best of the quarterbacks who ran over the weekend. Fresno State’s Derek Carr came in with the second fastest time with a 4.65, followed by NIU’s Jordan Lynch at 4.72.
Manziel’s other notable measurements were his hands coming in at 9 7/8 inches. Many experts believe 9 inches to be the minimum standard for hand size for a quarter back. This is also an important number for NFL Scouts especially for shorter quarterbacks.
Manziel was racked with controversy for much of the last two years. Questions about his off field behavior and decision-making have been noted. Even though those questions will come up during his official interviews with teams, Manziel has done a credible job of not adding to the negative views. He has been a model citizen, hoping to distance himself from the past issues.
The most important gauge of Manziel potential effectiveness in the NFL will come on his pro day. That is when he will throw to a set group of receivers. He decided to not throw at the combine. Scouts and NFL brass will be looking at his mechanics, accuracy and overall throwing effectiveness. Expectations will be high for him. However, the magic of Manziel can really only be judged during live game action.
Manziel has an amazing ability in the pocket to feel the rush and then improvise accordingly. His quickness and elusiveness opens up plays down the field and he has a knack for getting the ball to the open receiver. NFL scouts should understand this. So no matter the results of the pro-day, Manziel may still be the first quarterback chosen in the upcoming draft even though he failed to measure up in some important categories.
Editorial by Tony Bowers