Johnny Manziel was the first freshman quarterback to pass for 3,000 yards and run for 1,000 yards in one season. He holds numerous Division 1 FBS and SEC records. He was the first freshman ever to win the coveted Heisman Trophy, and was dubbed “Johnny Football” by the fans at Texas A&M. Even with all of his accolades, there are six reasons ‘Johnny Football’ will be a bust in the NFL.
There is every reason to believe he will be taken high on the first day of the NFL draft on Thursday, May 8. More than 50% of the teams are searching to fill their quarterback position. Some experts predict that Manziel will be chosen by the Houston Oilers as the number one pick in the entire draft.
So what makes analyst like ESPN’s Merrill Hoge say he has “bust written all over him?” Hoge says that for one thing, Manziel’s skill set “does not transition” to the NFL.
Hoge is not the only analyst who thinks Manziel might not make the grade in the big league. When all the opinions are in, there seem to be six reasons critics say he will not make it.
First, at six feet, one inch, he is shorter than most successful professional-grade quarterbacks. He will have trouble seeing over the huge offensive linemen blocking to protect him.
Secondly, his body is said to be underdeveloped, a problem with basically a running quarterback who needs to stay healthy and injury-free. He needs to work, they say, to develop his body, and learn to slide.
Which brings up point number three. Scouts say Manziel is too inclined to run at the first sign of danger. Where a Peyton Manning or Tom Brady stays in the pocket, scouting his receivers until the last moment, Manziel takes off at the proverbial drop of a hat. As a result, he tends to play his own offense. Critics contend that he also needs to work on play-action fakes, which would give him more time in the pocket. The offense at Texas A&M was built around his style; that won’t necessarily be the case in the NFL.
As a result of that A&M offense, which had Manziel working from a shotgun formation, he is not accustomed to standing under center. Learning a new style will require time and hard work, not one of Manziel’s strong suits, critics say.
In spite of all of his successes, many experts remain unconvinced that Johnny Manziel will make it in the big time. They count six reasons “Johnny Football” will be a bust.
Here are the final three: Critics say Manziel tends to throw off his back foot, a “no-no” for pro quarterbacks. As a result of this, he often under-throws his receivers, or overthrows on deep routes. He was lucky, they say, that he had a tall receiver in Mike Evans, who hauls in passes that would otherwise go uncaught or intercepted.
Reason five according to many scouts, are the intangibles. They give Manziel the knock on leadership, saying he doesn’t inspire his teammates to win. They say he is arrogant, a primadonna, and that he parties too much.
Finally, he lacks experience starting football games. He has played only two years of college football and has a lot to learn.
There may be upsides to Manziel. Scouts say he is a “dynamic athlete” who rises to the occasion to win games. They point to his two years of wins and record-setting performances. Still, when it come to the NFL and Johnny Manziel, critics say there are six reasons Johnny Football will be a bust in the NFL.
Commentary by B. David Warner