Johnny Manziel is one of the most hyped-up rookies in years. Everyone has their own opinion on the young quarterback: some say he’s too immature and not ready for the NFL, others would argue that he has the work ethic to succeed anywhere.
Despite the hype, Manziel dropped to 22nd overall and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns.
With the 2014 NFL season fast approaching, everyone wants to know how Manziel will perform at the next level and if he is as good as people say he is.
Manziel put up a total of 93 touchdowns (63 passing, 30 rushing) in just two seasons with the Texas A&M Aggies, led the team to an impressive 20-6 record as the starting quarterback, and won the 2012 Cotton Bowl and 2013 Chick-fil-A Bowl before declaring for the NFL Draft. In 2012 Manziel and the Aggies were the only team to defeat the Alabama Crimson Tide who would go on to win the National Championship that season; and Manziel went on to win the Heisman Memorial Trophy during that same season.
Manziel is undoubtedly one of the best college quarterbacks of all time, and he earned his reputation as an electric play maker because of his ability to avoid the sack, recover, and complete the pass deep downfield.
The biggest concern with Manziel is how well his talent will transfer to the NFL.
Manziel can be too eager to run at times: he often looks for his first option (which at Texas A&M was Wide Receiver Mike Evans), and if the first read isn’t open he likes to take off downfield instead of checking down to his second or third option. This doesn’t usually work in the NFL for long.
Manziel is not as athletic as quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick or Cam Newton, and so he will have to learn to rely more on his arm than his legs in order to be successful in the NFL. Defenders in the NFL are great at taking out a quarterback’s first option, so Manziel will have to get used to making that second and third read before just taking off.
The LSU Tigers defense is a good preview of what Manziel will face in the NFL, and he struggled tremendously against it going 16 for 41 and throwing two interceptions in Texas A&M’s 34-10 loss to the Tigers. LSU’s secret was jamming Manziel’s first option at the line of scrimmage so he would be tempted to run; but they were ready for that too: the Tigers defensive lineman stayed around the line of scrimmage to prevent Manziel from rushing. Manziel was forced to look to his second and third offensive options, and it didn’t work out in his favor. In order to succeed in the NFL, Manziel will have to use this offseason to improve his pocket passing and learn to pass first and run second.
Manziel is arguably to most NFL-ready quarterback to come out of the draft this season; however, he definitely needs to improve aspects of his game.
Many have questioned Manziel’s maturity and his ability to take over an NFL locker room and establish himself as a leader.
Only time will tell how Manziel will perform in the NFL both on and off the field; but if he can make the adjustments necessary for college quarterbacks to make the transition to the NFL and keep himself in line, you can expect another exciting season from Johnny Football.