Last week Erik Bartlett wrote a story about Johnny Manziel and said that the Raiders would be foolish to not draft him if he was still available at the five spot.
Although I do agree with Mr. Bartlett that Johnny Manziel “..can make plays that no other college quarterback, much less any current NFL quarterback can make” I do not agree that if he’s there, the Raiders should pick him up. Here are three reasons why the Raiders should SKIP Manziel and stick with Sammy Watkins.
1. His height and overall size.
Manziel came into the NFL combine at 5′ 11 3/4″ inches tall. However if you type in “Johnny Manziel Height” into Google, you’ll get 6′ 1″, which is strange and some what odd as somehow Manziel has grown a few inches in a few months. Manziel’s small frame is definitely on the short side for NFL quarterbacks.
Now I know a lot of people will start to defend him and say “well look at Russell Wilson..he’s 5′ 11″. Look what he did.” Is Russell Wilson your typical quarterback? No. He’s one of the smartest Quarterbacks in the league. He’s also a lot more muscular than Manziel and can brush defenders off. A majority of Johnny’s amazing plays from college involve him running around and jumping out of the way, making great spin moves to elude defenders. In the NFL, the defensive players are way faster, stronger and taller than the kids in college. Johnny will get destroyed on his first scamper out of the pocket and there are some grizzled vets in the NFL who would love to introduce Manziel to the league.
While running out of the pocket is something that all fans love, it’s not something that an offensive coordinator typically likes to see. They like to see their quarterback read through their progressions and then only if necessary, run out of the pocket. Coordinators like to hold the Quarterback keeper as play that they like to pull out once and a while. In the play above you can see that Johnny was on one of his typical tuck the ball and run plays but then when he was tackled, he grabbed his knee. If this kind of stop happens just once a game in the NFL, Manziel’s career in the NFL could be really short. If he continues to run out of the pocket as his first instinct, opposing defenses will hone in on this and will be ready to react and make sure he stays in the pocket until he is sacked.
For other quarterbacks that are known to be good runners (i.e. Vick, RG3 and Wilson) their teams have tried to work on the quarterbacks passing velocity and accuracy. Unfortunately, the Raiders do not have a solid offensive line that can give Manziel the time to develop this part of his game and will let him get sacked before he has enough time to react which could lead him to a short career.
3. Off Field Distractions
This one is a rough one. We understand that Manziel is only a kid who just turned 21 a few months ago and was put on this carnival ride from all the major news outlets. He was thrown into the public spotlight because of his play. However instead of being a responsible adult and handling his business, Manziel started hanging out with celebrities, taking photos of him flashing cash at a casino and then there was the whole autograph signing fiasco. If all this stuff occurred under the watchful eye of a storied program like Texas A&M, what can happen when he’s left alone to his own devices. How long will it be until we hear ” Johnny Manziel was detained today by Alameda County sheriffs at the Oakland airport.” Or when will we hear that he’s been seen hanging out on Cal Berkeley’s campus with some college girls? Maybe it will be the traditional DUI 911 call that we have all become so numb to after all the NFL players have been doing it lately.
When Manziel visited the Raiders last week, the Raiders said that he appeared to be a “good kid and humble.” Was that really Johnny Manziel there? Or was that Johnny Football on a job interview and showing off his best side?
I have no doubt in my mind that Manziel will be drafted in the first round. However with these three reasons and with the Raiders non-need of a quarterback in the first round, the Raiders would be well served to get Sammy Watkins. It would be best to give Matt Schaub a new target to concentrate on. If the Raiders are looking for a quarterback, they should be looking at Blake Bortles, Derek Carr or AJ McCarron who are more the typical size and have less distractions than Manziel.