Most of us are aware of the fame Johnny 'Football' brings to this draft, and with good reason: A long stream of college records broken, big games won and a Heisman trophy as a freshman. That last bit is particularly impressive, since he's the first ever freshman to win the coveted Heisman.
But, just how will this translate to the NFL?
Several experts have been quite harsh on Manziel as of late.
"He played two games this year, LSU and Missouri,(and) if those were the first two games you put on and watched, you'd say he was almost undraftable. He was so bad in those two games, that you'd struggle to figure out, can I even draft this guy?" - Greg Cosell (as quoted by Chase Goodman here)
Notice that he doesn't have Manziel merely dropping to the second or third round... He says undraftable? Our own esteemed misone, ( here ) implies that Manziel shouldn't be drafted in the first round.
On the other hand, you have another host of experts - including Roger Staubach and SBNation's Ryan van Bibber -who have claimed him as a top pick. In Roger's case, number one overall. Indeed, he has been mocked multiple times to the Houston Texans. Not only does Houston need a quarterback, but he has the added allure of being a hometown hero.
The fact is, drafting a new franchise quarterback - as Manziel presumably would be - is a daunting and stressful decision for NFL owners, GM-s, and head coaches. For a myriad of reasons, it is not a choice to be made lightly, and not the least of these is money. Even under the truncated contracts for rookies with the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA), top draft picks - and especially franchise quarterbacks - are a tremendous investment. Far beyond the players salary, the organization assumes a great deal of financial responsibility and time (time=money, of course) into such a player. Get it right (see: Andrew Luck), and your team is an overnight contender. Get it wrong, (see: RGIII) and you put your team in a hole for years.
Money aside, can he play?
Watching the above video, it is no wonder Johnny "Football" has amassed such a following. This kid is exciting to watch! Athletic, aggressive and fearless, he's relentless in pursuit of yardage. I do love his panache and openly fierce competitiveness.
I don't like many of his decisions. Bad decisions in a quarterback are fatal, and Johnny Football plays undisciplined and juvenile at times. Two examples would be:
1. Consistently throwing into coverage. I can forgive some of this, as it has to happen sometimes. There comes a time when you just have to trust your receiver to make a play. With 63 TDs vs 22 INTs career, his stats do not really reflect him paying for that very often, but watching his tapes... Damn! It happens a lot.
2. His famed ability to run. Oh yes, he has had success here, but it's rashly, oft times hastily decided. It has worked for him and he has turned many would-be sacks into positive gains.
In both cases, as I watch his films, over and over I think to myself, "That would never happen in the NFL" or, "My God! That is a linebackers wet dream!" As one YouTube user put it, "1:30 do that in the nfl it'll be your last play of your career". The very poor sentence structure doesn't negate the truth of the comment. Geez! Douglas M is making me channel my inner editor.
Johnny "Football" Manziel has been compared to Russell Wilson and Tim Tebow. I choose neither. I compare him to RGIII of the Washington Redskins. A brilliant athlete at the collegiate level, but one who could quickly fold in the NFL. He will, most certainly get his shot. Some quarterback-starved team will give him a chance, but in three years, he has a chance to be a Trivial Pursuit question: "Whatever happened to Johnny Football?"