Most NFL Draft prospects at the quarterback position are polarizing, except in the case of a prospect who is viewed as “safe”, which is a rare occurrence. Johnny Manziel is the exact opposite of “safe”, and he’s as polarizing as it comes. It goes beyond his off-field exploits before the 2013 season started, as those rightfully have nothing to do with his draft stock. No, Manziel’s playing style, college success, and talent make him such a polarizing prospect, and there’s a chance he ends up going No. 1 overall. Iit would be a shock if he slipped out of the first round, and he is a likely top-ten pick.
As with polarizing QB prospects, there are some analysts who are incredibly low on Manziel while others are incredibly high on him. There has been more recent buzz growing in favor of Manziel than ever before, and you can count the NFL Network’s well-respected Gil Brandt as one of those people who is “incredibly high” on the Texas A&M Aggies product. In fact, Brandt is as bullish on Manziel as they come, since he ranked the redshirt sophomore as the top player than the class. He even insinuated that Manziel will be a better player than Minnesota Vikings legend Fran Tarkenton, and that statement is only more charged since the Vikings are among the teams looking for a franchise QB. Most people believe the Cleveland Browns will end up with him, but it’s really anyone’s game at this point, especially since the Browns-Manziel talk could easily be a smokescreen.
Brandt told the MMQB’s Peter King, “You are going to get 110% out of this guy every day of his life, every play of his life. If you don’t have a quarterback, and you want one, I believe this guy has a great chance to be good for a long time. This guy had an inferior team. And he beat Alabama, he beat Oklahoma. He’s down 29 to Duke in the last game of his college career, and he’s on the sidelines saying, ‘There is no way we are going to lose.’ This guy’s a better version of Fran Tarkenton.”
“The one thing coach [Tom] Landry told me a long time ago is you look for the good, not for the bad.”
He also lost to LSU twice against a defense that specifically game-planned to keep him in the pocket. You don’t think NFL defenses will do the same? Manziel has incredible upside, but he has so much downside that it’s a stretch to compare him to an NFL legend, especially since Manziel has never taken an NFL snap. There’s no denying his raw talent, but it takes a lot more than raw talent to be a successful NFL QB. Maybe the thing that concerns me the most about Manziel is the fact that he rarely makes the right read when in the pocket and seems unwilling to find the open receiver, work through his progressions, and make the easy throw. His playing style is exciting, but it makes him a big gamble. Brandt’s one of the best in the business, but I disagree with him here.