Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M


Browns, Round 1. Was a redshirt sophomore. In the draft, he could have gone anywhere from number one to number 62, probably. In most drafts, I would have viewed him as a 3rd-round pick, but, with the premium placed on the quarterback position and his hype machine in full drive before the draft, that was never going to happen. He certainly has the athleticism to make things difficult for NFL defenses, but his decision-making has a long ways to go before he can be safely put in charge of an NFL offense. Unfortunately, he won’t get that time to learn, and will probably be started right away over Brian Hoyer. His athleticism will probably give him immediate success, but not long-term success unless he fixes the other fairly gaping holes in his game.

Positives: Though his height and bulk are below average, he is built solidly. Above-average hand size. Throws with adequate arm strength and above-average velocity. If he is given time in the pocket, he is able to go through his progressions and find the open receiver. Throws deep passes fairly accurately. He is much more effective when he is able to improvise on the run. Very elusive in the open field and keeps plays alive very well with his feet inside the pocket. Moves around well in pocket and is able to step up in the pocket, reset his feet, and deliver the pass. Sees the field well enough to find open receivers. Good speed,quickness, and ability to change directions. Loves to run with the ball, and is a patient runner who follows his blockers. Runs strong and is willing to lower his shoulder for extra yards. Nimble and agile. Highly competitive and will get in his players’ faces. Good play fakes.

Negatives: Short for the position, with below-average bulk. Ran a spread offense in college and may not be ready to run an NFL offense right away. His playing style seems destined to get him injured in the NFL. Needs to learn to vary velocity and take some RPMs off of his short passes. Also lacks touch on deep passes, and will throw with an angle that gives defensive backs an opportunity on the ball. Consistently throws passes off of his back foot both in the pocket and under pressure. Under pressure, he will often just throw the ball up for grabs. Inconsistent mechanics, and doesn’t always set his feet when he’s going to throw – even when he has time to do so. Tends to throw behind receivers, with inconsistent accuracy on crossing routes. Inconsistent accuracy, especially when he steps up in the pocket, where he tends to overthrow his receivers. Below-average decisions on the run, and will throw passes across his body – he got away with this in college, but won’t in the pros. He’s a little late on recognition and anticipation. Takes many risky red zone decisions. Shows generally risky ball security on the move. Forces a lot of passes. Arrested for disorderly conduct and other misdemeanors in Summer 2012.

Projection: I wouldn’t draft him until the second round of most dynasty league rookie drafts, but, with his expected success out of the gate, you may draft him that low and then be able to trade him for a lot more — before the league catches up with him. Draft as an immediate and probably long-term QB2, hoping he works on his craft and can become a QB1 in the future.

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