In case there was any doubt left, the wait is over: Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, aka Johnny Football, formally declared his entrance into the 2014 NFL Draft back in January.
The draft boards of sports pundits have been lighting up for the past few months in an effort to prove that they can guess the picks of the 2014 NFL Draft. Questions such as:
- What team will pick whom?
- What team will trade picks?
- What team will draft players to trade picks for later?
- What team will trade picks to draft players to trade for picks later?
- Why do we watch a three-day televised event that showcases people saying other people’s names?
One of the college players involved in this sports frenzy is former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, aka Johnny Football, who declared his entrance into the 2014 NFL Draft back in January. This lead to even more questions to annoy guesstimators, such as:
- Which teams need Manziel?
- Which teams will trade up for Manziel?
- Is Manziel the best quarterback in the draft?
- Will Manziel’s skillset translate into the NFL?
The only question I have which leads to the answer of all the others is, “Can Manziel survive the NFL?”
No one can doubt that Johnny Manziel blew up on the NCAAF scene last year on his way to becoming the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner. A redshirted freshman the year before, Manziel collected a stat-line of 3,706 passing yards with 26 touchdowns and 9 interceptions and 1,410 rushing yards with 21 touchdowns, as well as a registered trademark on his nickname. Whether or not he will officially chance his name like Chad Johnson remains to be seen.
There is no question that Manziel was exciting on the college level. Some of his runs and throws seemed super-human.
But that was college. This is the NFL.
Throwing the ball off your back foot for a touchdown while being sacked doesn’t happen very often in the NFL. In fact, any ball movement by the quarterback that doesn’t translate into “cradle the ball, cock your arm back, and follow through” usually ends with a touchdown for the other team. Just look at Michael Vick and, to a lesser extent at the moment, Geno Smith. Smith tried to pass the ball behind the back to himself while in his own end-zone. Touchdown? No. Safety? Absolutely.
Another issue with Manziel has to do with health. Sure, when you’re running away from 240 pound linebackers that can’t run like they hit, it’s a little easier to try some footwork reserved for basketball. But add some speed to those linebackers, and you’ll be wearing Teflon and playing half-seasons like Michael Vick before long.
Manziel already got himself hurt at the college level doing cuts. Imagine if those linemen were a bit faster and hit harder.
Then again, he may not have had the chance to get hurt, as he would have been stripped of the ball well before that.
Johnny Manziel will be an NFL quarterback, but the idea that he will be a first round pick is questionable. The idea that he will be the #1 pick is ridiculous. It’s not because there are no teams that need a quarterback. The draft order is top-heavy in quarterback needs.
- Houston Texans: need quarterback
- St. Louis Rams: may need a quarterback later
- Jacksonville Jaguars: need a quarterback
- Cleveland Browns: always need a quarterback
- Oakland Raiders: always need a quarterback
That doesn’t include Minnesota at #8 and Tennessee at #11. But these teams have been to the 1st round quarterback rodeo before, and have been burned every time they picked the flashy player. Don’t expect it this time around. At least until #11.