Posted: 10:19 am Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Johnny Manziel: Great college player, bad NFL risk 

By Mark Bradley

This became the greatest moment of Manziel's greatest night. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

This became the greatest moment of Manziel’s greatest night. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Stepping back from the Atlanta Falcons and/or Jadeveon Clowney for a moment, we turn our attention toward Johnny Manziel, whom Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing believes ESPN is determined to make into the new Tim Tebow as a driver of 24-news cycles. And there are, I’ll concede, similarities. Both played in the SEC. Both won Heisman trophies early in their college careers. (Tebow as a sophomore, Manziel as a redshirt freshman.) Neither plays — or played — the way a classic pro quarterback plays.

I saw both as collegians at their absolute collegiate best. (Tebow against Alabama in the 2008 SEC championship game, Manziel in the 2013 Chick-fil-A Bowl against Duke.) Watching, I felt much the same about each: That if I were a college coach, I’d love to either as my quarterback, but if I were an NFL general manager I’d be leery.

The pro game is, as we know, different. It’s not as much about making great plays — though great plays certainly figure — as about making the routine ones and (this above all) avoiding the terrible ones. As a second-year pro, Tebow made enough great plays to get the Denver Broncos to the playoffs and beat the Pittsburgh Steelers once there. The playoff victory came in January 2012. It’s now 2014, and Tebow is no longer employed by an NFL team.

The comparisons aren’t nearly exact: Tebow was a tank; Manziel is a jackrabbit. Manziel throws the ball better than Tebow did, though still not as well as an NFL quarterback should and must. From Scouts Inc.’s Manziel assessment via ESPN:

Not likely to sustain NFL success until consistency of ball placement from inside pocket improves on all three levels and that will require greater discipline with lower-body mechanics. Has developed bad habits on vertical throws (and fades) of either throwing off back foot (with no weight transfer in follow through) or opening wide and falling away, which leads to ball sailing and/or accuracy issues.

Also this:

Makes more critical errors as a decision maker (throwing across field, up for grabs, ignoring checkdowns, etc.) than any QB we’ve ever stamped with a first-round grade.

I think Manziel can play in the NFL longer than Tebow. (Although that wouldn’t be hard, would it?) I would be surprised if he’s ever an All-Pro. I would be shocked if he wins a Super Bowl. This is apples-to-oranges, but I see in Manziel a lot of what I saw in Matthew Stafford, an SEC quarterback who did fit the physical prototype of an NFL quarterback. Stafford believed his mighty arm rendered fundamentals irrelevant; Manziel believes he can get away with anything, on the field or off, because he’s the famous Johnny Football.

For a GM, drafting a quarterback in Round 1 isn’t the same as drafting an offensive tackle or a defensive back. A Round 1 quarterback figures to be your starter someday, and the starting quarterback is the most important player on any roster. You have to be able to trust his talent, but you must also trust his judgment. I’m not sure Johnny Manziel’s talent fits the NFL, and I’m not sure he’ll be amenable to changing what he does for the greater good.

For all the comparisons to Tebow, I believe the more apt comparison — at least temperamentally — is to Matthew Stafford. I wrote back in 2009 that I wouldn’t have drafted Stafford No. 1 overall. I wouldn’t draft Manziel in Round 1 now.

From myajc.com: 10 reasons the Falcons need Jadeveon Clowney.

192 comments
AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

Go Get Clowney, quit talking about rising up and Rise Up.

Rick_James
Rick_James

@GTBob

"So UGA's talent has always been about 10 times as good as GTs but if CPJ went there it would fall to GTs level? If that were true then GT would be getting much worse talent than they have in the past, which they aren't. Sorry Rick, not many people are going to buy your theory that UGA would start recruiting in the 50's in ranking if CPJ went there. It's not even remotely logical"

Simply put Bob no 4 or 5 star offensive recruits want to play for Paul Johnson at Tech.So are you saying that those recruits would play in that offense just because he moves to UGA? That's insane.His recruiting classes would still rank in the 50's..So Murray's record and stats at Georgia dont qualify him as an NFL prospect but Paul Johnson's record indicates he would win at national title at Georgia? News flash Bob..Georgia Tech is Paul Johnson's last job at a major school.He's stolen enough money from Tech to not have to coach again but if he does it will be at a mid major or FCS school.And I'll bet you any amount you want that his contract at Tech wont be extended..Yeah we all know he's a great coach who's handcuffed by the academics at Tech.

POAD2014
POAD2014

This article was about Johnny Manziel so who gives a damn about Box Score Murray.

Rick_James
Rick_James

@GTBob

"Maybe i'm not objective Rick, but most mock drafts have Murray going in the 4th round or later. It appears my subjectivity is closer to reality than yours. As for the CPJ statement, I stand by it. With UGA's talent, there is no limit to what he could accomplish. "

Thanks for making my argument Bob..Your opinion is based on your hatred of Murray and UGA so it means squat just like mock drafts..Paul Johnson would accomplish nothing at Georgia because because every member of the offense would transfer and he'd replace them with the same type talent he recruits at Tech.If anything Tech would probably start to dominate the series.If he's as great as you say he is a contract extention would be on the table at Tech.

gburgan
gburgan

Mark,  if Manziel is truly the next Tebow (or even similar), it begs the question... aren't college coaches doing these types of players a disservice by NOT forcing them to conform to a more acceptable style of play? 

jeffreyd
jeffreyd

I'm a little upset...I was looking forward to Joe Tess' take on this.

BillyPeeler
BillyPeeler

Mark, Manziel reminds me an awful lot of Joe Hamilton.  Both undersized, both very mobile, neither with a real NFL cannon-arm...both made some risky throws at times, but completed a few of them.  Manziel will probably be drafted higher than Hamilton was, but I see the same problems in the NFL.  You think he might end up playing in Canada?  His game seems perfectly suited for the CFL.

BrownianMotion
BrownianMotion

just draft "top rated" & "prototypical" QBs with a "strong arm" like Blaine Gabbert!!!  You can't go wrong----even better, just draft whover mel kiper says is the best!!  He knows his stuf!

Dawgonnit
Dawgonnit

Personally, I would take Manziel 1st in the draft.....he could be better than Montana but with better physical skills at some point.  Also would have put Tebow on my team last year if I was a GM...he is a winner no matter where he goes. They both have good arms, good feet and can develop the other skills for the NFL. They both have good heads on their shoulders.  Remember, Joe Hamilton, who was not doing that great at GT the first two years but then Fridge worked with him and the last three years he broke-out. Even the Falcons may do better with Manziel and Tebow on their teams.

Rick_James
Rick_James

@GTBob

"Sorry, it may hurt your feelings, but Murray may not be the best QB that ever lived that was just unfortunate to have a really terrible UGA team around him. It is more likely that he was a decent QB on a good team that needed a great QB to be a little better than they were."

The bottom line Bob is that you hate all things Georgia and cant be objective about anything regarding the program or it's players..Nobody is saying Murray is the best that ever lived he's just better you want to say he is..I have to keep in mind thet you're the guy who said that UGA would win a national title if they hired Paul Johnson.I have yet to see one person who argees that insanity.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

Agree with your analysis.  What you definitely proved with the article however, had nothing to do with Tebow, Manziel, or Stafford.   


And that is 




College football is a much more exciting unpredictable watchable game than the boorish staid NFL.


Delusionaldog
Delusionaldog

350,


Read and weep, "bro":


Last SEC title: 9 years ago.

Last BCS game: 7 years ago.

Last title game appearance: never.

Record against teams that finished ranked the last 5 years:  6-17

Record against winning teams the last 5 years: 16-22


POAD2014
POAD2014

@Rick_James @GTBob  even terrible coaches at UGa still got some great players to sign and that wouldn't change with CPJ in Athens.

Grant1296
Grant1296

Take your meds..

Hypocrite....

Grant1296
Grant1296

That's right POAD ...

Are you commenting on the article ????

Or the comments ???

Typical POAD ...

GTBob
GTBob

@Rick_James So UGA's talent has always been about 10 times as good as GTs but if CPJ went there it would fall to GTs level? If that were true then GT would be getting much worse talent than they have in the past, which they aren't. Sorry Rick, not many people are going to buy your theory that UGA would start recruiting in the 50's in ranking if CPJ went there. It's not even remotely logical.

creative
creative

Thanks for the dumbest post of the day

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@gburgan  

No - they are not doing them a disservice.  No HS player is forced to go anywhere.  HC's have their own style.  Should Chip Kelly have changed to a pro style offense at Oregon?  Playing in a spread didn't harm Cam Newton's NFL prospects.

Tebow went to Florida to play for Meyer because he ran a spread - not despite it.

Dawg350
Dawg350

Bucky

Who gives a crap!

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@Dawgonnit  

You would have had Tebow on your team in 2013?  I guess Bill Belichik isn't as good an evaluator of talent as you.  I mean - what the heck has he ever done in the NFL?

GTBob
GTBob

@Rick_James Maybe i'm not objective Rick, but most mock drafts have Murray going in the 4th round or later. It appears my subjectivity is closer to reality than yours. As for the CPJ statement, I stand by it. With UGA's talent, there is no limit to what he could accomplish. 

Dawg350
Dawg350

Bucky

For the millionth time! The buckeyes haven't beat a top ten team since 2006! Get that into your brain less head bro! Your team is a joke....y'all are fools gold built on a weak schedule. Clemson and Michigan st exposed y'all for what you really are....nothing but a bunch of pretenders! 1993 citrus bowl UGA 17 OSU 10! Book it!

MikeS777
MikeS777

@Delusionaldog  Im glad you could include the rebuilding years of 09 and 2010 in those stats.  Im pretty sure you could water down any coaches resume if you include rebuilding years.  But then Urban Meyer and Nick Saban don't stay around for that do they?  That's when they start talking about retirement or other opportunities.

POAD2014
POAD2014

@Grant1296  I already comment on JFF and what I think of Drafting him.

Somehow this turned into a commentary about a late round QB pick and great is is supposed to be.

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

@PaulinNH

$Cam Newton is 6-6 250lbs., playing in a gimmick offense doesn't hurt him as much  it does the typical college QB that is 6-2 210lbs.

There will always be a rare exception to the rule on occasion.

MikeS777
MikeS777

@GTBob @Rick_James  You mean if they don't transfer out?  He would do fine until those he inherited graduated.  Basically none of the players UGA recruits would come to UGA to run the option.  Stafford didn't even know anything about the UGA/UF rivalry or UGA in general.  He just knew Mark Richt was there, and his reputation at developing QBs.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Dawg350  

Wrong again, 350. It was 21-14. Do you just make crap up and pull scores out of the air?

GTBob
GTBob

@MikeS777 Most coaches don't rebuild in the 9th and 10th years of their tenure.

POAD2014
POAD2014

@Grant1296  what name did I call you? I didn't call you any names. I questioned you mental abilities that is not name calling.

Grant1296
Grant1296

LMFAO...

There ya go with the name calling..

But, when I do it your all over me...

POAD2014
POAD2014

@Grant1296  are you that dumb? Why wouldn't I mention Box Score when having this discussion with you?

I don't hate Box Score I'm just not a delusional UGa fan that thinks the guy walks on water.

Grant1296
Grant1296

Then why do you keep mentioning his name POAD???

I realize you hate the young man...

He always destroyed your football team...

But like you always say that's nothing to be proud of...

Damn POAD ...

Get a grip on yourself...

POAD2014
POAD2014

@Grant1296  that is why this is a BLOG to give an OPINION on where Johnny Football should be drafted and if he will be good.

Box Score has NOTHING to do with ANYTHING Bradley posted.

Grant1296
Grant1296

No one really knows what any player will do in the pros...

Unless of course your a NFL genius like you POAD ...

You need to put in your vast resume to an NFL team...

inoto20
inoto20

@GTBob @MikeS777

You're an idiot. 1/2 of the players on uga's team have aspirations to play in the nfl. That isn't happening with pj as coach.

GTBob
GTBob

@MikeS777 It has nothing to do with what I want. Auburn is a spread option team with a lot of the same plays that GTs spread option attack uses. The main difference is they run up tempo out of the gun and GT uses a slower tempo from under center. Try to watch some Auburn games every once in a while. It may be a shock for you. They were ranked 118th in passing attempts in the country. Slightly above GT. You don't modify your offense that much because of a hurt shoulder. They had a specific set of option plays they ran and they ran them well because they had the horses to run them.

MikeS777
MikeS777

@GTBob @MikeS777 Just because you want it to be the case, doesnt make it so.  Meyer runs option plays too, but that doesn't mean he runs the triple option either.  Cam Newton ran the same offense in 2010.  Malzahn ran the same offense at Arkansas St. in 2012 and was one of the top passing teams.  They were passing a lot more until Marshall hurt his shoulder.


They dont line up the same, they dont block the same, they dont read the same, its not even close to the same as what Johnson does.

GTBob
GTBob

@MikeS777  That is garbage and you know it. Auburn runs a lot of the same plays GT does just out of the gun. They seemed to do ok this year but maybe you are right, and they will be terrible in 2014 because of the incredible unstoppable SEC defenses.

MikeS777
MikeS777

@POAD2014 @MikeS777  Thats my point.  The Size and speed combination of top SEC defenses is too much for an option.


And no, Auburn did not run Johnson's option offense.  Auburn has been running basically the same system since 2009 except for the one year Malzahn was gone in 2012.  The only reason they weren't throwing more is because Marshall hurt his shoulder.  Its closer to what Meyer run's that what Johnson does.

GTBob
GTBob

@MikeS777  We got blown out by LSU because we turned the ball over 5 times in the first half. They didn't really stop us that much when we actually hung on to the ball similar to how UGA hasn't stopped us much the entire time CPJ has been here. There isn't a coach in the country who couldn't pull in top 15 recruiting classes at UGA if they are somewhat trying. Auburn is running an option offense with little passing and they seem to be doing just fine in the big bad SEC and their recruiting hasn't dropped.

POAD2014
POAD2014

@MikeS777  any coach at UGa can get players who are you kidding?

Looks like AUBURN didn't get the message on winning the SEC with the option.

LSU won because of SIZE alone and nothing more.

MikeS777
MikeS777

@GTBob @MikeS777 No he can't Bob.  UGA knows this and the fact they would have no shot at even getting to the SEC title game running the option.  Whether they are getting them or not, they want SEC titles.  They aren't going to run an option against South Carolina, Florida, LSU, or Alabama.  Johnson got blown out by LSU in the bowl game and it wasn't even a good LSU team.  The defensive fronts in the top half of the SEC are too strong for it.

GTBob
GTBob

@MikeS777 CPJ would do fine recruiting at UGA. The coach means very little these days. Kids just want to drink, get laid, smoke some dope, and sleep through class. As long as UGA provides that, it doesn't matter who the coach is. If he can get top 50 classes at GT then he can get easily top 15 classes at UGA.

Dawg350
Dawg350

He is your wife you spine less billy goat!

Dawg350
Dawg350

Dawg nole

My bad I got the score wrong...well ya know it was all the way back in 1993. Btw...Thomas brown is your daddy!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@GTBob  

Beamer's facing exactly that--even deeper into his tenure.

GTBob
GTBob

@MikeS777 Those guys you think weren't very good would have been some of the best players on GTs team. We had Dwyer and D. Thomas. After that the team was basically equivalent to your scout team.

MikeS777
MikeS777

@GTBob @MikeS777  They beat Tech because Wommacks D was just as terrible as Willie Martinez.  Tech let Ealey and King run all over them, two average RBs who were not as good as Dwyer.  UGAs D wasnt star studded.  AJ Green was the only one who was heads above.  Joe Cox was a good but not great QB.

Also Meyer's 8 win season was just the start.  He didnt hang around to see what's left.  He only won 7 regular season games that year.

6-8 win seasons (including bowl games) are considered rebuilding for programs that get used to winning 10+ games and competing for conference titles.

GTBob
GTBob

@MikeS777 @GTBob  I was talking about Meyers 8 win season but yes, it applies to UGA's 8 win season also. Rebuilding implies that the team has a complete lack of talent or is bringing in a completely new system, all new coaches, etc. Having one down year and then bouncing back with mostly the same players isn't a rebuilding effort. It just means you had a bad year. You know why UGA beat Tech in 2009? Because they had 10x the talent Tech had. It didn't matter if Tech was having a good season and UGA was having a mediocre one. The real question is, why was UGA having a mediocre one. The only answer is poor coaching. 

MikeS777
MikeS777

@GTBob @MikeS777  Bob you realize it was an 8 win season only because they managed to upset Tech and get to a toilet bowl right?  Otherwise they were looking at 6-6 and a different toilet bowl.  They lost to Kentucky and got blown out by Lane Kiffin's 7 win UT squad.  Then you follow that up with a 6-6 2010 season and a bowl loss to UCF?


The only reason you can even try to say it was a down year is the fact they went on that 10 game winning streak in 2011 after losing the first 2.   But clearly that was as much because of the level of competition as it was UGA actaully turning a corner.  I think Auburn and Tech were barely ranked when they played them.  Everyone else wasnt. 

GTBob
GTBob

@MikeS777  It doesn't matter because going 8-5 isn't really a sign that the entire program needs to be scrapped and rebuilt. Sometimes 8 win seasons happen to good programs. A couple of tough losses and you fall into a slightly substandard season. Im not sure you actually know what rebuilding is.

MikeS777
MikeS777

@GTBob @MikeS777  It happened to Urban Meyer in year 6 at UF, but I guess that doesn't matter.  Gary Pinkel at Missouri just got off the hot seat because they have had a few rough years after a good stretch.  

Bowden ran a program the likes of which we might never see again.  Saban at Bama might be the closest thing if it lasts long enough.  Trying to pretend FSU is the norm is absurd.

Bottom line is Richt had major staff turnover after year 4 and 5, just like Meyer who had a rebuild job by year 6 at UF.  Beamer has had Bud Foster anchoring the team with a good defense the whole time.

GTBob
GTBob

@MikeS777 @GTBob  The boosters got impatient because it was obvious that Bowden was well past his prime. There was no rebuilding occurring. It's not some big coincidence that FSU became an national contender almost instantly after he left. That isn't nearly the same situation that Richt had in 2009-2010. The same is about to happen to Beamer.

MikeS777
MikeS777

@GTBob @MikeS777  Also, Bowden got forced out at FSU because they hadn't been relevant for 5 or 6 seasons.  The boosters got impatient on the rebuild.  Paterno's Penn St. teams hadn't been that good for most of the past couple of decades.

MikeS777
MikeS777

@Delusionaldog @GTBob @MikeS777  yeah I think I would call that year more than a down year.  If they didn't upset Tech in 2009, that would have been another 6 win regular season as well.

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

The Tide crashed and burned no doubt. Funny now that AU and OK getting all the loving now that they beat Bama. Imagine that.

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

JMO but this will be Frank's last year regardless to his W/L record. He has a chance to take the Bama job when we hired Franchione but passed due to the NCAA problems. I believe he would have done very well with the Tide.

Delusionaldog
Delusionaldog

@GTBob @MikeS777  We'll GT after the 6-7 Liberty Bowl fiasco of a season he may have a point.  Know what I'm saying?

GTBob
GTBob

@MikeS777 Down years are really different than rebuilding the program which is what you are claiming UGA had to do. If you usually have 10+ win seasons and an 8 or 9 win season pops in there, you aren't rebuilding. Also, Beamer isn't going through rebuilding at VT right now. He is going through the end of his career. Same as Bowden. None of those coaches ever had to rebuild their program long into their tenure.

MikeS777
MikeS777

@GTBob  And who's this Top Tier program that never had to rebuild?  It doesn't exist.  Paterno at Penn St., Bowden at FSU, Beamer is going through it at Va Tech, Stoops has had down years at OU, the bottom fell out of UF in Meyer's 6th year...

GTBob
GTBob

@MikeS777 Like Delusionaldog alluded to, can you name some other top programs coaches that had to completely rebuild their programs far into their tenure?

MikeS777
MikeS777

@GTBob @MikeS777  So loosing high quality assistants, recruits leaving early, and other programs getting better never affects a program right?  

GTBob
GTBob

@MikeS777 You missed the point. A coach shouldn't have to rebuild his team he has been building for several years already. That just means he didn't build it very well to start with. You don't get a break from bad years by calling them rebuilding years. 

MikeS777
MikeS777

@GTBob @MikeS777  That makes no sense.   You can't put a time table on when you will have to rebuild.

Dawg350
Dawg350

Wooly

Down goes Fraizer? Kind of like what The sooners did to the roll turds huh? Lmao!

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  1. […] Mark Bradley of the AJC says that Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel was a great college player, but he’s a bad NFL risk. There is sure a lot of talk that Johnny Football could end up in […]