If last year was the Johnny Manziel hype train, then perhaps this year will be the hate train. It’s sure shaping up that way, as another in a slowly growing collection of lukewarm analyses of “Johnny Football’s” football abilities has just popped up online.
This time, NFL.com and NFL Network analyst Bucky Brooks is the source. In an essay delving into Manziel’s prospects as a professional football player, with in-depth looks at his athleticism, arm talent and pocket presence, Brooks concludes that Manziel is just a “marginal” prospect and not the slam-dunk first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft some have pegged him to be.
Brooks concedes that Manziel’s improvisational playmaking abilities are impressive — and no one who watched the kid play last year could argue that — and describes him as “one of the most electrifying college players I’ve seen.” However, he argues that Manziel simply doesn’t possess the “three or four blue-chip traits” found in all top quarterback prospects.
Citing Manziel’s lack of size and discipline in the pocket, as well as his relatively weak arm, Brooks argues that the Texas A&M sophomore’s best pro comparison is Doug Flutie, a player who was also known for electric improvised plays, but who had to spent many years in the CFL before he finally had some success in the NFL. Brooks dismisses the notion that Manziel’s potential puts him closer to current Seattle Seahawks starter Russell Wilson.
Now, many will argue that Brooks’ article is pure clickbait — an attempt to rile up the Aggies faithful during a slow time in the football news cycle — and they might be right. Still, it’s difficult to disprove much of what Brooks is saying. Until we see another full season of Manziel’s play on the field, and the development one would expect from a player going into his sophomore season of college ball, it’s a big leap to say that Johnny Football can make the transition from Saturdays to Sundays with the level of success he’s experienced thus far in his career.
Of course, that’s why they play the games. None of us can say with any certainty whether Manziel will be able to recapture the magic of his historic 2012 Heisman-winning season.
Texas A&M opens the 2013 season at home vs. Rice on August 31.