2014 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Texas A&M Quarterback Johnny Manziel
To prepare for the 2014 NFL Draft InsidetheFilmRoom is breaking down the best 5 prospects from every position. This week we are examining the top quarterback prospects and we are focusing our attention on Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel today.
Unless you have been living underneath a rock for the past two years you know the story of Johnny Manziel. He redshirted at Texas A&M, almost got kicked off the team for a bar fight, won the starters job as a redshirt freshman, led the Aggies to an incredible win against #1 Alabama and was the first freshman Heisman winner ever. Oh and he became Johnny Football along the way.
While his story and cultural influence are truly incredible, his decision to enter the NFL draft has raised some questions. Mainly, can he possibly succeed in the NFL as a 6′ foot gun slinger with his rock star status?
Naturally, his unorthodox style has spilt pundits into believers and non believers. In fact I would argue that Manziel is the most polarizing prospect in NFL Draft history (something that is surely effected by today’s crazy 24/7 news cycle). One on hand he possess a rare blend of elusiveness, play making ability and moxie that turned him into the most exciting– and very successful– player in college sports. On the other he is reckless with the football, lacks ideal size and a is magnet for bad publicity.
Likely he will land somewhere in between and to find out exactly where let’s examine his game tape to find his strengths and weaknesses.
Elusiveness: Explosive quickness and acceleration, slippery, very difficult to bring down in the pocket, has perfected the baseball turn to elude rushers, seemingly has eyes in the back of head, feels pressure extremely well, can look like a greased watermelon and can make defenders look downright silly.
Play Making Ability: Hands down the best improvising quarterback in recent memory, excels when the play breaks down, can hurt teams with his legs or arm, often makes spectacular plays from absolutely nothing, is extremely unpredictable and forces the defense to cover the entire field.
Arm Strength: Has the power to rip the ball down the field and the raw arm strength to power in throws when off balance or moving, has good zip on short/intermediate passes, big hands allow him to manipulate the ball well and has the potential to improve his range/accuracy if he fixes his footwork.
Dynamic In Space: Elite quickness and speed for a quarterback, plays way faster than his 4.68 40, has explosive acceleration and lateral agility, remarkable maneuverability in space, electric with the football in his hands, ran for over 2,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in his two seasons at Texas A&M and was the most exciting player in sports.
Moxie: A true competitor with no quit in him, has the confidence you might not like personally but love in your quarterback, plays with his heart on his sleeve, strong believe in himself, despite his off the field incidents he was the leader of Texas A&M and you want the ball in his hands with the game on the line.
Size: Is under 6 feet tall and only 207 pounds, worries whether he can handle the punishment of an NFL quarterback, relies on his feet to create throwing lanes and his style leaves him open for a bunch of hits.
Footwork/Accuracy: Tends to fall away when he throws, rarely steps into his throws, effects his accuracy greatly, is actually more accurate on the move than stationary, needs serious work on his lower half fundamental but he did show improvement at his pro day.
Gun Slinger: Willing to throw the ball anywhere, lofted the ball over the middle on a number of occasions, forces passes often, relies on his wide receivers to bail him out, questionable decision making, swings for the big play all the time, tries to do too much at times, looks uncomfortable in the pocket, his dynamic play making ability is a double edged sword and is generally reckless with the football.
Rock Star Status: Became Johnny Football and was the center of multiple controversies, likes to be the center of attention, walks the line between confident and arrogant, overall maturity is a concern and isn’t currently the ideal face of a franchise.
Overall: As the center of the college football universe for the past two seasons, Johnny Manziel has been examined as closely as any other prospect. Yet despite the intense scrutiny and media attention there isn’t anything close to a consensus on his NFL potential.
There are some that fall in love with his improvisational style that was extremely effective at Texas A&M and think he will be able to adapt his game to the NFL. And then there are others that see fatal flaws in his size, footwork and attitude that think he is in for a rude awakening in the NFL.
Personally I go back and forth between the sides. I see his raw ability and think of an RGIII/Tony Romo combination — a player that can challenge defenses with his legs and create big plays out downfield of nothing– that could become a truly unique quarterback. And then I watch the two LSU tapes where Les Miles limited Manziel to the pocket– he looked uncomfortable and struggled mightily in both loses to LSU– and its hard to think Manziel can succeed in the NFL.
Luckily for Manziel it only takes one team that believes in him. And there certainly are teams that would be willing to risk a top 10 pick on a potentially franchise changer in Johnny Football.
Prediction: Top 8 Picks
Other 2014 Quarterback Scouting Reports: