Height: 5-11 3/4. Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel should choose this number for his new NFL jersey and not just in honor of his official NFL combine height measurement. For he is stuck, yes, he is absolutely stuck with this number for the rest of his NFL career, win or lose. And, the NFL general manager who selects him should tattoo this number across his forehead; as well, because he, too, is going to be stuck with it for the rest of his NFL career, win or lose.
And, of course, the questions about Manziel extend well beyond his physical measurements. There are (serious) questions about his deep ball accuracy and overall arm strength. And, there are some (legitimate) concerns about his off the field behavior, and his ability to be the face of an NFL franchise. But, above all else, is he someone that you can build a team around for the future?
No, Johnny Manziel isn`t.
He is a quarterback that will have the best chance of success on an established team with a strong supporting cast. Certainly, this is also true for any other NFL rookie quarterback. But, he is going early in the NFL Draft, and there is little doubt about that. For Manziel, it means that he will simply not survive the physical beatings he will take at the NFL level on a bad team with his borderline reckless playing style. He will be best served to sit on the sidelines as a backup on any bad team that drafts him. The team could then let a serviceable journeyman take the weekly beatings and abuse while the team continues to upgrade the talent on the team. But, would the highly outspoken Manziel accept being a backup for a year or even two?
No, Johnny Manziel wouldn`t.
Pre-NFL draft Manziel has unleashed a series of self-promoting quotes as to his NFL readiness from day one. One cannot fault him for an aggressive public relations attempt to make himself more money in the NFL. But, he has set in motion a tough decision for any NFL franchise. In today`s `win-now` NFL culture, the gun-slinging Manizel, with all of his bravado, is going to be very tempting to play early and often. And, even if a struggling NFL team were to show some patience with him by keeping him on the sidelines, Manziel would likely not be up to playing the dutiful backup as the losses mounted each week.
Manziel is a top ten NFL draft talent that needs to play on a team on the rise filled with playmakers. But, instead, he destined to be stuck on a desperate team devoid of real talent, and in need of him to play at a superhuman level on each and every play to remain in every ballgame. Manizel is a risk taker. And, there is little doubt he will help any team immediately improve their offensive play on the field (see: RGIII). Unfortunately, if he takes those same high risk chances again and again on a horrible team, it sets Manziel up for a serious injury (See: RGIII).
Of course, the NFL quarterback position is one fraught with considerable risk on any team, good or bad. But, the uniqueness of Manziel`s skill set and maverick mental character with which he plays makes it unlikely that he will last very long without a major injury. And, it makes it even less likely that a far less talented backup quarterback would be able to have any appreciable success in his absence (see: Kirk Cousins) on a team designed and playing to Manziel`s abilities. As well, it quickly puts any team Manziel is playing for right back into the top of the NFL Draft (see: Washington). And so, in the end, can he measure up to what will be inevitably asked of him on a bad team?
No, Johnny Manziel can`t.