Johnny Manziel: A general manager’s nightmare, living your dream

Enter Johnny Manziel. The NFL draft’s ultimate gamble.

Hate him or love him, there’s no question Johnny Football is one of few special players college football has ever seen. His wizardry with the pigskin mimics that of Brett Favre or Mike Vick. Ironically, the resemblance doesn’t end on the field. Manziel’s distractions have made him a liability. Big enough, that some have predicted a free fall out of the first round.

j football 3After his historic 2013 season, Manziel’s fame sky-rocketed to epic proportions. So much in fact, that Manziel himself was consumed by it. His offseason was booked full of celebrity-filled parties all across the nation.

Manziel let us all know about it; from Twitter to Instagram, he was constantly sparking controversy. Networks like ESPN became a leech to Manziel. A “Tebow effect” ensued where almost every time you looked at a screen Johnny Manziel was there.

That’s why people hate him. They’re sick of his actions (an appropriate noun substitution). America expects their star athletes to present themselves in a professional manner like Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. Well guess what; he was 20 years old, get over it.

It’s not like Manziel gave up on football. Prior to Manziel’s 2013 season he spent time in San Diego working with quarterback guru George Whitfield Jr. to take his passing game to the next level. It paid off, too.

According to ESPN’s new QBR metric, Manziel sported a 88.3 ranking, the highest out of any quarterback in this year’s draft. In 2012 Manziel led all quarterbacks in QBR rankings. Signifigance? Well, Pat McManamon of ESPN revealed that every player that led the nation from 2008 to 2011 is currently an NFL starter.

The partying is a part of college; let him go crazy. To think Manziel’s the only one slamming beers is just ignorant. Johnny’s problem was that he was dumb about it. For example: showing up to University of Texas Frat party while flaunting a Tim Tebow jersey. Now as awesome as that might be, Manziel was basically beaconing himself. The Tebow jersey alone draws enough attention, but when the person wearing that jersey just so happens to be the reigning college football player of the year, the party instantly belongs to him.

The power of social media now allows a keg stand to go viral in a matter of minutes. Johnny learned this the hard way when he was photographed signing pictures with South Florida autograph broker Drew Tieman. Luckily for Manziel, the NCAA was unable to make anything of it and Manziel was benched for only half a game.

Live and learn. Now that Manziel is officially turning pro the excuses are over. NFL teams want to know what side of Johnny Manziel they’re going to get. The one front row at a Drake show, or the one front row of the film room. Manziel has tried to help his cause by going on a Twitter hiatus until draft day.

It may be a little late for Manziel to completely change his image. Some people really do hate the guy. At this point, there will be disapproval with almost any decision Manziel makes. Like Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer’s take on Manziel’s pro day.

“The huddles and the different things and the music. The sideshow stuff.” Via Houston Chronicle.

Really? Huddles and Music? I for one am a big fan of Zimmer but for him to knock on Manziel’s pro day is a bit over the line. If anything, the huddles and music create more of a game-like presentation. Normally, I would view these type of comments as a smoke screen to decoy teams from real opinions. However, after watching Mike Zimmer on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” I get the impression that he’s a zero BS type of guy.

j football 2It almost seems as if Zimmer was looking for anything to criticize Manziel, who was stellar during his pro-day performance. Manziel connected 61 of his 64 passes while showing arm strength superior to that of Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater. Add Manziel’s 4.68 40 in the mix and you have in my opinion, the highest potential of any quarterback in the draft.

Yes; I’m a Johnny Manziel fan, real shocker.  I’d love to see his game transition to the next level. That still doesn’t mean I don’t disagree  with his flaws. Like many, I can’t imagine Manziel running round the field as he did in college. When I picture Manziel in the NFL I go back to a play when Robert Griffin met  6-foot-four, 340 pound Haloti Ngata while improvising down the field.

Ouch.

Now replace RGII with the  sub-six-foot Manziel. I personally don’t see him getting up. I do see him making some changes though. Whether it’s sacrificing a few yards by sliding, or electing to make pass-first, Manziel will learn what he can and can’t do.

Johnny Manziel is a winner. All antics aside, he’s football first. Give him the ball, and he’ll do whatever it takes to win. Manziel dominated in college football’s best conference while accumulating record-breaking stats. If I’m an NFL general manager I’m taking the risk on him. If I’m worried about him getting hurt why draft anybody? It’s the NFL, everybody could get hurt. When I see Johnny Manziel I see a leader who not only brings life to a team, but to a whole city.

Plain and simple, there isn’t a more entertaining player. Johnny Manziel is fun to watch and I don’t want the fun the end. I hope you appreciated the two years Manziel had to offer, because there may not be another one like him.

  • Claire Bartell

    Cole -get your facts straight. JM did not party across the nation. Just because he went to some sporting events and met some players in the locker room doesn’t mean he was partying with them. Since when is it risky to go to a concert and sit in the front row? This is a old storyline please move on.

  • Cole Stevenson

    Go ahead and Google Johnny Manziel Las Vegas. Then Johnny Manziel after the Chic-fil-a bowl. Then there’s the whole Manziel being sent out of of Manning camp in Louisiana. When you’re done with that look up “Wade Brown epic vodka vine.” I believe you took the front row of Drake line a little to literal. I was getting at teams wanting him to be football first, which many don’t believe he is. Appreciate the criticism and thanks for the comment!

  • Anthony Ciora

    The next Matt Leinert.