The fun with Johnny Manziel never ends; or rather the news feed with Manziel never ends. Everyone has an opinion and they range from boom to bust, from first overall pick to a mid-round selection. The truth on Johnny Football is he is a Heisman Trophy Winner and as a big a star as college football has ever seen; but what team dares to risk their future on an undersized, undisciplined quarterback.
Count ESPN analyst and former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski as one who would pass on Manziel.
At least in the first couple rounds. Which is the exact opposite opinion most other NFL draft experts at ESPN. Manziel has had detractors before, but this is the first dissenting opinion on the Texas A&M quarterback as a first round pick. Jaworksi is as reputable a source as you’ll find in the media today when it comes to evaluating quarterbacks. He played the position himself for a long time and is known to watch as much film as anyone when evaluating a player. He does his homework.
The NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis recently did little to change people’s opinions one way or another. This might be because Manziel did so little at the combine. He did run the 40 yard dash and he did get measured, but he didn’t throw a single football. For the record he ran a 4.68 40 and he came in at slightly less than six feet tall and weighed 209 pounds. That is not exactly the prototypical size for NFL quarterbacks but others quarterbacks of similar stature have succeeded before.
The problem with Manziel in the eyes of Jaworkski and others goes far beyond his measurements. Johnny Football plays undisciplined and takes too many hits to survive in the NFL. It is fair also to question his judgement after an off-season last year that consisted of too many appearances on TMZ and too many days where he was trending on twitter for things that had nothing to do with how he played. Barry Switzer called Manziel arrogant and entitled. He also pointed out few college quarterbacks in history were as good as Manziel was.
On the flip side arm strength is not an issue. By all accounts he can get the ball where it needs to be on time. And for those who point to his family’s wealth as an issue, they apparently did not watch him play much. He never lacked for motivation at Texas A&M. He was loved by his teammates because he made plays, worked hard and won a lot. Respect from teammates is not a given; not for anyone. Respect is earned.
The question now is simply where Manziel lands and who will take him. What teams are they afraid to take him? Or afraid not to take him ? There is conforming opinion on the former Heisman Trophy Winner at this point. But one thing is clear.
They are a lot of people out there afraid of Johnny Football right now, afraid because Manziel is not a sure-fire success waiting to happen. The truth is there are too many attributes in question to compare him to a Andrew Luck or Peyton Manning. Those two had too much going for them to fail. And that’s what a team wants from a quarterback drafted in the first round.
But they’re also afraid because Manziel has consistently proven critics wrong people while performing the impossible. Does a team dare pass on Johnny Manziel, better known as Johnny Football, or will the truth come out?
By Mick Varner
Pro Football Talk