Before I say anything else, let me just address the title of this FanPost. When I say "The Definitive Argument," I don't mean that my argument is definitive and supercedes everyone else's. What it means is this is the final piece of information I heard about Johnny Manziel that it made it definitive, in my mind, that we should draft him, once I combined it with the other information and pro-Manziel arguments I already had.
And I've written some of those arguments here before. I even wrote a long fan post about how I didn't feel like offensive-linemen were enough of an impact position to warrant taking with the 2nd overall pick, and that who among us here would ever trade Robert Quinn for an offensive lineman, for example? Any offensive lineman. Quinn of course would equate to Clowney. And since back then it seemed like there was no chance we were going to draft Johnny Manziel, I mentioned names like Clowney and Sammy Watkins, and that we wanted to not just get a top prospect at this position in the draft, but a top prospect with superstar potential at a high-impact, star position. And then at the 13th pick, the philosophy would be a little different, where if we could get the #1 rated prospect at a position of need for us, regardless of the sexiness of the position, that would be a great pick. So Greg Robinson at #13, I would be all for, although that's not likely to happen. But Clinton-Dix, for a more realistic example, would be a very good pick. And probably a much better pick than drafting the third rated offensive lineman if the first two are already gone. You still want to get a star at #13, the best player of his kind in the draft.
But back to the #2 pick. Manziel was always the obvious choice for me as a Rams fan, and now that it seems like our brass may be interested, I'm going to touch on what are, to me, the most compelling arguments in favor of drafting Johnny Manziel.
First, I just think of that old motto: "Keep it simple, stupid." Any casual college football fan who watched some games the last few years knows Johnny Manziel is the best, most dynamic quarterback in college football, and probably the best player. It's only some of these experts who overanalyze every little detail, who are actively looking to find flaws, that are finding some. Now this can be a good trait to have as a talent evaluator, but in this case I feel like they're just overanalyzing and overcomplicating.
Why? Well let me relay the stat i heard today that inspired me to write this FanPost because it about says it all. Apparently Johnny Manziel, despite concerns about his height, not only had less passes batted down this season than Blake Bortles, and in fact one of the lowest percentages of passes batted down of any college quarterbacks, but Johnny Manziel's pass accuracy from the pocket was the highest of any power conference college quarterback.
So what did we already know about Johnny Manziel? I mean all of us? Manziel is the best running QB in the draft, and the best mobile passing QB in the draft. Right?
Well, it turns out he's also the best QB from the pocket too. And that's where the "keep it simple, stupid" mantra comes in. I didn't have to analyze him for hours to see that his mobile-game is awesome, and his accuracy is awesome. And he has arm strength. Even when you get more technical, something like release time, that's good too. But just at a basic level, we have a quarterback who is by far the best running QB in the draft, and also either the best passing QB in the draft, or if he's not, that's just because someone else turns out to be great too. But the point is Manziel is an excellent passer as well as an excellent runner. What else is there? Even his hand size is awesome. Best runner, best passer. Best mobile-passer, best pocket-passer. Best best best. Simple. Besides two inches of height, he has absolutely everything.
Now, to the crystal ball. Is his durability concerning? Yes, you're always concerned about that when investing so much into a player. And will he make some bad decisions and maybe throw some interceptions? Yes, it's going to happen a few times. But Brett Favre threw some interceptions too, just for example, and overall Manziel's TD to interception ratio is very good.
As for the durability issues, RG3 just survived the entire season despite playing on one leg. He's now completed 2/3 seasons without injury. Russell Wilson is 2/2 without injury. Colin Kaepernick hasn't gotten injured yet. So it's not like these mobile quarterbacks are falling down left and right. And everyone is obsessing about how the running ability of these quarterbacks has them leaving the pocket and putting themselves in the open field where they can get injured, but they're forgetting that their mobility also allows them to avoid tons of sacks. Sam Bradford isn't mobile at all, and he got injured last year. Maybe if he'd had Manziel's speed, he would have gotten to the sideline much quicker and avoided any contact. The bottom line is you can't predict injuries. Johnny Manziel played every game at Texas A&M, and he doesn't have a serious injury history, so I'm as comfortable there as anyone could be comfortable about their quarterback in a game like football where so much rests on one player. But no one had a problem with RG3 getting picked 2nd overall, and I don't see the difference.
Which brings me to point three: Johnny Manziel is Robert Griffin III, or some mixture of RG3 and Russell Wilson. I get so perplexed watching so much praise given to Wilson and RG3, but then so many concerns voiced about Johnny Manziel. Manziel reminds me so much of RG3, except maybe he even has better accuracy. I have to wonder if this is all just about his height, how RG3 is two inches taller and that makes all the difference to these scouts, except that once again, Manziel rarely got his passes knocked down in college. So I'm not overly worried about that. And outside of his height, Manziel's play on the field is so similar to RG3's, it's scary.
The fourth reason: who won the RG3 trade? That's the question people will ask for years. Since the Redskins had such a bad year in 2014 and we lucked into the 2nd overall pick, Rams fans are feeling pretty good about the deal. We traded the 2nd overall pick for tons more picks, including another 2nd overall pick. We rule! But what happens if out of all those extra picks we got, we still don't end up with an elite quarterback? And what happens if Bradford never turns into one? Assuming his knee gets back to 100% and he doesn't keep getting injured, the Redskins have a franchise quarterback for the next decade. They even managed to make the playoffs on his shoulders his rookie year, while we haven't made the playoffs once with Sam Bradford or even managed a winning record.
Which brings me to this question: how badass would it be if, after all the extra picks we got from the Redskins in exchange for RG3, we were able to finish the transaction off by getting our own RG3 on top of it all? We'll be able to say not only did we get all this extra help at all these different positions in exchange for you getting the star quarterback, but we still got our star quarterback anyway, and he plays the same style as yours and he's just as good? That is the way to end this trade because without a great quarterback, nothing else really matters that much in the NFL.
Lastly, our division matters. We're going to be competing against Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson for years. Even if Sam Bradford does develop into a top grade pocket passer, which he's shown few signs of doing in five years, do we really want to be left fighting that uphill battle every year of trying to outgun two of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the NFL without having one of our own? Seattle and San Francisco fans are in love with their quarterbacks, how multi-talented they are, how exciting they are, how they can make plays from thin air. Isn't it time we got ourselves on equal footing by acquiring one of our own? And it's not just our division that's trending this direction, it's the NFL. Even in the past, which people largely think of as being dominated by pocket passers, it was quarterbacks like Joe Montana that won tons of Superbowls. Brett Favre was another dominant force. Steve Young won one. Being mobile has always been a good thing, because even if Sam Bradford turns into Peyton Manning, and again he's shown no signs of doing that, but even if he did, you're still at risk on any given sunday of something happening like what happened to Peyton Manning in the Superbowl this year. Even if you also have a great offensive line, you might just come up against a team whose pass rush is even better, and whose secondary is even better, and your QB is in a position where the only route to victory is being able to escape the rush and either buy time for his receivers to get open, or run the ball downfield himself. And Sam Bradford is never going to be able to do that.
In closing, everyone knows Johnny Manziel is the most mobile quarterback in the draft, but the stats say he's also the best pocket passer in the draft. Essentially, outside of concerns about his size and his durability, he is fantastic at everything, and the best at everything in the draft at the QB position. Even his arm strength and his wonderlick (spelling) are among the best. And when I watch him play, I see all the same talents that RG3 and Russell Wilson have. This is a star NFL QB in the making, and I believe drafting him would really solidify us as the winners of the RG3 trade if we could top it off by getting our own RG3 in addition to everything else we've gotten in that trade, not to mention I just don't want to be that team, or that fan, that has to root for his team going to war against two of the best dual-threat QBs in the NFL for the next decade with Sam Bradford as his quarterback. I just don't see how the matchup of Bradford against Kaepernick, or Bradford against Wilson, is ever going to flatter us. We're supposed to have that legacy of the greatest show on turf, and yet there's zero question who the two best shows are in this division: Kaepernick and Wilson. I just feel like if we don't take this opportunity of our own, that has fallen into our laps here, to get a true star QB like that of our own, that we will always regret it.
Now, if we can somehow get Manziel with that 13th pick, or use that 13th pick to trade up and get him, while still taking Watkins or Clowney at #2, that's what I really want. Can you imagine both Clowney and Manziel, or both Watkins and Manziel? That is star power. That is impact. But in any case, all those reasons are why I feel like Johnny Manziel presents a very unique opportunity for us to get our own RG3/Russell Wilson who can actually compete with Kaepernick and Wilson.
I'm sick of all these debates about whose QB is better, San Francisco's or Seattle's. I'm sick of that being a two-team debate that we are completely left out of. They have these two young, mobile, exciting star young QBs who have both done more in a couple seasons than Bradford has in five. And it's not close. Bradford just isn't what their quarterbacks are. Maybe he can still develop, but so far he hasn't even been a very good passer, and certainly he will never be a top dual-threat quarterback. Manziel already is. If we draft him, we will be in the same club as Seattle and San Francisco. The combination of Manziel and Tavon's speed might be the highest QB/WR speed-combination in the NFL, and if our offensive coordinator learns how to do his job, that's something that can leveraged in the playbook to create some huge plays. No I'm not talking about a double reverse to the quarterback, but whether they're called plays or improvised plays that get Manziel out of the pocket, potentially taking up a defender, and gets Tavon into open space running in stride, I can see that being an explosive combination. And if we can get Watkins on top of Manziel, look out. Finally, we will live up to our moniker again. Finally. Because Johnny Manziel defines the term greatest show on turf, or grass. He is a show, and he can do it at all. Anyone can make mistakes, but at least we know he can also make amazing plays with regularity. Sam Bradford is not a show. So far, he's not even a winning quarterback.