Johnny Manziel – QB – Cleveland Browns – Rookie – 5’11”, 205 lbs
2013 Stats: 69.9 Completion %, 4114 Yards, 37 TD’s, 13 INT (Texas A&M)
Pluses – Manziel is a fierce competitor who thrives in clutch moments. He has well above average arm strength and can make throws across his body and from sideline to sideline. He lives outside the pocket and is very dangerous while on the run. Manziel has a flair for the dramatic and longs to be in the limelight. He is the type of player that can transform an organization. He wants to be a superstar but sometimes that is just not enough. Manziel would fit best in a spread offense but will not get that opportunity early on in Cleveland. His legs will be an asset but could also wind up being his undoing. No matter what Johnny Manziel's presence will be felt in Cleveland. He is a vocal leader and it will not take him long to become a leader on the Browns. There will be a lot of media attention surrounding him and the team in 2014.
Minuses – For as much upside as Johnny Manziel brings to the table there are some very glaring limitations as well. He is undersized and not well built for a modern day QB. He excelled at the college level because he challenged defenses more than most collegiate QB’s do. That will not be enough in the NFL. He is not going to be a great pocket passer unless he makes some major adjustments to his mechanics and style of play. If he tries to run as much as he did in college Manziel will have a tough time staying healthy because NFL defenses will break him in half. Many want to compare him to Brett Favre but that is a once in a generation type of player. The fact is that Manziel isn’t a great passer and will struggle to be league average. His prowess for the limelight could also be a big distraction and cause him to not develop as much as he’ll need to in order to have a long, successful career.
Summary – Johnny Manziel was a dominant college quarterback who made everybody around him better. He is known mostly for making big plays after his initial reads have broken down. Many of his highlights show him on the run bouncing off of defenders and extending the play. This will not work at the next level. In Cleveland he is going to have a rough go without the likes of Josh Gordon or any other top end wide receivers. The final verdict on Manziel’s career will come down to his maturity. At the present time he is too much of a rebel and playboy to make football the center of his life. It came easy to him at Texas A&M but won’t in Cleveland. Being undersized and smallish in build is going to make it real difficult for him to succeed on desire alone. He is going to have to become a Peyton Manning or Drew Brees type that builds and runs his own offense. But truthfully, I just do not see that happening. He will not win the QB1 job in training camp this year and thus is only a real option in larger keeper and dynasty leagues.
6 Games, 1387 Yards Passing, 7 TD’s, 8 INT, 185 Yards Rushing, 2 TD’s