Johnny Manziel is NFL Ready, Believe The Hype

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    Updated: November 15, 2013
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    NFL scouts, you have to admire them. Them and college football draft guru guy. Their jobs are basically to put names on a board and say this guy is a can’t miss, or for teams to stay away from that guy because he’s not and NFL level quarterback. It is not an exact science, and teams more often than not are correct on their quarterback selection.

    But every now and then Todd Mcshay or Mel Kipper will have a particular player rated low on their draft board and their assessment leaves me scratching my head. Then when NFL draft day comes, a team will select a quarterback that has no business going in the first round and you think to yourself, did no one in that organization watch this guy while he was in college?

    Somewhere in 2005, the 49ers management sat down amongst themselves and came to the conclusion that Alex Smith should be selected the number one pick in that year’s NFL draft. They looked at Alex Smith and felt he was the man that was going to lead them to a championship. Twenty-three picks later the Green Bay packers selected Aaron Rodgers to be the heir to the Brett Favre thrown. How’d that work out for the 49ers? Not well. In fact, the 250th pick in that draft is the current starting quarterback for the Tennessee Titans (Jake Locker is hurt) Ryan Fitzpatrick.

    Fitzpatrick’s career numbers are: 95 touchdowns, 85 interceptions, 59% completion percentage and a 77 career quarterback rating. Again, he was picked 249 players after Alex Smith. Alex Smith’s numbers are: 90 touchdowns, 67 interceptions, 59% completion percentage, and a 77 quarterback rating. Very similar number for two players separated by six rounds of a draft. 

    There are other examples of quarterbacks like Jemarcus Russell, Christian Ponder, Brandon Weeden, Sam Bradford, and Tim Tebow who probably shouldn’t have been drafted anywhere near as high as they were. So don’t listen to everything an NFL scout or one of the college football draft guys tells you. 

    You have to watch for yourself and see if you honestly believe a guy can make it to the next level. The guy people are iffy on right now is a player that I am sure will shine in the NFL, Johnny Manziel.

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    This kid is an absolute rock-star on the football field. It’s amazing how athletically gifted he is. I have watched every game Manziel in this season, and I watched every game last season from the Texas A&M Aggies showdown with Alabama until their final game. For all the scouts and draft experts that have Manziel out of the top 10 for the next year’s draft, they prove that selecting an NFL caliber quarterback is mostly subjective.

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    If a scout can really tell me AJ McCaron is actually a better quarterback than Johnny Manziel, then I will show you a scout or a draft expert that has Crimson blinders on. McCaron is a good quarterback, but his height is the only thing he has over Manziel, period. 

    For two seasons Johnny Manziel has punched Alabama in the face, the same Alabama team that is being called a dynasty right now. If a player can give Nick Saban match-up headaches, you mean to tell me he is not ready to play at the next level? He plays in the toughest conference in college football and has video game numbers. 

    Every time I hear someone mention Teddy Bridgewater or Marcus Mariota as a better NFL prospect that Manziel I have to wonder where their assessments come from. Because it is not based on football acumen, I can assure you.

    Stanford has exposed Marcus Mariota in back-to-back seasons. When Mariota plays against a team with a physical style of play then the gimmick offense the Oregon Ducks run is dead in the water (no pun intended but HA). And as far as Teddy Bridgewater goes, he is an amazing talent and I believe he will get it done at the next level, but look at the conference he plays in.

    He plays in the American Athletic Conference, which is the equivalent to him playing college football Junior Varsity teams all season long. People keep pointing to the bowl game last season against the Florida Gators. Have people seen the Gators this season? They were trending down last year also so if that’s Bridgewater’s claim to fame than great, but he has not faced anywhere near the caliber of competition Johnny Manziel has played against.

    The closest thing there is to an NFL level conference is the SEC, and Johnny Manziel runs through that conference at will. Give Manziel a quality defense and I think the Texas A&M Aggies would run the table. Now, the only knock I have on Manziel is what I call the “Hail Eli” problem. 

    I take the name from years of watching New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning. In every game, Eli is good for at least one pass where his eyes are completely closed and he just throws the ball of for grabs like a Hail Mary pass, hence, Hail Eli. That sort of pass won him a Super Bowl; so I digress.

    Johnny Manziel also throws this pass once or twice a game. In college that’s fine because he has that Megatron like beast Mike Evans to go up and get it. In the NFL that pass will get him benched and benched for a long time once. That will not work against the best corners and safeties in the NFL.  

    Other than the Hail Eli pass Johnny Manziel is going to be just fine at the next level. He has pocket awareness, he can throw the ball well, he can escape pressure, and the kid is the ultimate competitor. Let me give you a list of quarterbacks and see if you notice a theme. Russell Wilson, 3rd round, Tony Romo, undrafted, Drew Brees, 2nd round, Aaron Rodgers late first round, and Tom Brady 6th round.

    Those are five of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and a number of bottom feeder teams passed up an opportunity to pick any of these men first. There are three Super Bowl winners in that five, a second year quarterback that may get the Seahawks to a Super Bowl this season, and if you had Tony Romo as far away from Jerry Jones and the dysfunctional Dallas Cowboys as possible, he may be elite.

    Johnny Manziel has what it takes to be a good NFL quarterback. So the Mel Kiper’s and the Todd McShay’s and the brilliant NFL scouts can all have their assessments. I only trust what I’ve seen. There is no better test than the eye test. And Johnny Football has consistently passed that test with flying colors.

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