Johnny Manziel Scouting Report: Does Johnny Football Have a Future in the NFL?
With Johnny “Football” Manziel putting on a clinic against Oklahoma in Texas A&M’s huge bowl win over Oklahoma on Friday night, many might wonder if Manziel has the goods to hack it in the pros in a few years.
He’s only a freshman and he certainly has some questions to his game, but if you’re crazy draft and NFL fans like us here at NFLSoup.com, it’s never too early to wonder if a stud college player can make it at the next level.
We already know he can light up the college football level, as he’s captured a Heisman Trophy, a bowl game, and has put Texas A&M back on the map. It’s only been one year, but Manziel has piled on ridiculous rushing numbers, while also playing at an extremely high level as a passer.
Let’s break him down as a pro prospect and see where he’d fit in at the next level:
* NFLSoup.com draft guru Keet Bailey contributed to this article
- Exceptional athlete
- Extremely mobile, one of the better running quarterbacks at the college level
- Can make something out of nothing, and does it on a game to game basis
- Keeps plays alive and has a knack for the big play at the right time
- Has shown the ability to make all the necessary throws
- Proven leader and winner
- Excellent football IQ
- Accurate passer who can throw from the pocket and on the run
- Ceiling is extremely high, as he is just a freshman
- Major upside for already solid footwork and mechanics
- Does not have great size or bulk
- Long term durability is very questionable
- Arm strength is not elite
- Struggled against elite defense (LSU), although he looked just fine against Alabama
- Not experienced yet (obviously)
- Footwork and mechanics are shaky at times, unorthodox style
- Can get sloppy and throw off back foot
- Relies on athleticism and play-making too much/must learn to read defenses better
Overall, Johnny Manziel is a terrific pro prospect who is held back by his size and an untested arm. I personally think his arm strength isn’t a huge negative, as he has time to get stronger and more consistent, and as it stands his arm is adequate, anyways. None of this really matters at the moment, as Manziel is a freshman and needs to play two more years before he can declare for the draft. That means his stock can rise and drop a million times before the end of his junior year. However, he’s already a top prospect in my eyes, and he’s a rare athlete at the quarterback position, while he’s not just a one-trick pony.
The best part about Manziel, however, is that he’s already so good and exciting at such a young age. He’ll have another two years to get stronger and prove his critics wrong in a lot of aspects. If he can refine his mechanics and footwork and keep playing at a high level (while proving he’s durable), his main knock in the end will be his less than ideal size. But considering guys like Drew Brees, Michael Vick and recently Russell Wilson are wiping away height issues, that may not be as big of a deal as some may try to make it out to be.
This is probably a knee-jerk reaction and I may be a prisoner of the moment, but I view Manziel as a potential franchise quarterback at the next level. I think in time he will develop into a first round prospect and could be a special player in the NFL if he stays on track.
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