Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M #2
Size/Athleticism: Vastly undersized. Short and somewhat skinny. He was fairly durable in two years at Texas A&M, but it won’t last with his size and his style of play. Athleticism is elite and has fairly been compared to Michael Vick. His ability to escape from a collapsing pocket and keep plays alive ranks among the best we’ve ever seen.
Arm strength/Accuracy: He’s a maximum-effort thrower. He can get the ball downfield on a rope, but he needs a clean pocket to be able to step into and use every ounce of his small frame to propel the ball. Accuracy is a strength when he’s able to set his feet and step into the throw. In a clean pocket he does a decent job placing the ball, especially on comebacks on the sideline, which he threw often to Mike Evans. Tends to struggle with accuracy when receivers are on the move (slants, go routes, etc) but it partially comes from a lack of experience due to the overload of comebacks and jump balls thrown in A&M’s offense.
Footwork/Release: Has a tendency to throw off his back foot when he’s moving out of the pocket, but other than that his mechanics are strong. When he has time, he sets his feet and shows a consistent weight transfer. He also has a very quick release, which aids his ability to make plays on the go.
Decision making: Among the worst prospects I’ve ever scouting in this area. Relied heavily on his receiver (mainly Mike Evans) to go up for jump balls and make plays. He got credit for a lot of spectacular plays because his receivers bailed him out, but the decisions behind those plays were often terrible and will rarely work in the NFL. To his credit, he does a nice job keeping his eyes downfield as he scrambles, but he needs to become more willing to check down, or even take a sack. This is an area that is fixable, because his biggest mistakes are usually just lofting the ball up into traffic—most quarterbacks who struggle with decisions trust their arm too much, Manziel just trusts his receivers too much. It may be an issue that he fixes on his own once he sees his receivers aren’t capable of making the same plays against NFL defensive backs. Also has a tendency to hold the ball far too long waiting for something to develop downfield.
Intangibles: Tough to judge from the outside, but there are obvious red flags that teams will want to consider. His public image as a guy who likes to party hard and live in the spotlight will definitely rub some teams the wrong way. He will need to answer questions about his lifestyle in interviews and how mature and committed he portrays himself will definitely play a role in how certain teams perceive him.
Durability: Started every game during his two years as a starter at A&M, but took a beating. It’s only a matter of time before he suffers a serious injury.
Comments: Manziel suffers/benefits from the Tebow effect. He’s so well known, so entertaining and so polarizing that it’s tough for people to objectively evaluate him. Putting the intangibles aside, his ability to extend plays gives him enormous potential. However, there are also obvious flaws. He needs to develop his accuracy and decision making skills in order to truly be effective at the next level in every situation. At this stage of his career, his best attribute is his ability to make plays once everything else goes wrong. Is that really a first-round worthy trait?