If you look just at the numbers, Johnny Manziel is one of the greatest college football players to ever play. In two years at Texas A&M, he threw for over 7,000 yards, 63 touchdowns, and added another 30 touchdowns on the ground. Although, despite all of these amateur accolades he still finds himself in the position of having to convince NFL teams that he is a franchise quarterback. His pro day on Thursday was another piece of evidence in his case to be the number 1 pick.
The Huston Texans own the number 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft and Manziel, hailing from Tyler, Texas would love to remain in the state in which he grew up in and played his college ball. He opted not to throw at the combine in February and instead, wait until his Pro Day. During Pro Day, Manziel showed all the scouts and coaches what it is that makes him “Johnny Football.” Even former president George W. Bush was on hand to watch Manziel run his script of different pro style passes and he certainly did not disappoint. He chose to throw in pads, something that most other quarterbacks do not and completed 35 straight passes until his first incompletion. He ended the day completing 61 of 64 passes and showed fantastic accuracy on both his deep and intermediate passes. Manziel was definitely prepared to show what he could do, and according to NBC Sports told NFL Network, “I can make any throw on the field and hopefully compete with anybody.”
One new coach in particular, Mike Zimmer of the Minnesota Vikings, talked to USA Today about how this decision shouldn’t be only based off his skills on the field. A player needs to show character while playing, but also as a person. He states, “I want to talk to the custodian. I want to talk to his teammates. I want to talk to his landlord. I want to find out those things,” Zimmer said Wednesday. “We’ll know what kind of football player he is by the end of the day and how he does with all that other stuff, but it’s all the other intangible things.”
When asked about what they think of Manziel, some Bloomsburg students showed high hopes, while others showed concern about the college star joining their favorite NFL teams. Zach Webb, an Eagles fan and junior here at Bloomsburg University, expressed his support and said; “I think Manziel would make a great quarterback in the NFL. It’s simple, just look at his record. I know I’d be pumped if he was signed onto the Eagles.” Another Junior and NFL fan, Jake Muha, explained that he’s done a lot of research on him, and just doesn’t think a quarterback at under 6-feet tall will make the cut. He said, “I believe he’s talented and definitely deserves the attention he’s gotten from playing college football, but his height is too much of a factor for coaches to look past. It’s one of the most important things they look for in a quarterback and I don’t see many taking the risk.”
While the doubts will remain until he starts in his first professional games, there is no doubt that Johnny Football is about as polarizing as an NFL prospect any of us have ever seen. His playing style screams “Boom or Bust” but the reward most certainly outweighs the risk. He will be a top 10 NFL pick. Now it’s just a matter of who is going to take the risk on Johnny Football.
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