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Johnny Manziel. He is the quarterback who hasn’t taken a snap yet in the NFL, but is the most talked about player in the league. That’s not a good thing. From his weekend trips to Las Vegas to party to hanging out with celebrities to his off-field escapades during college, Manziel is a lightning rod. He is blessed with great playmaking ability which led to him winning a Heisman Trophy. He has that gun-slinger mentality and is not afraid to take chances. He is also barely six-feet tall, doesn’t have a large build and has his team owner already worrying about his excessive partying. With a small frame and the inability to stay out of the spotlight, Manziel won’t last long in the NFL. Heck, the first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns may not even start this season.
Johnny Manziel took the football world by storm in 2012 during his redshirt season at Texas A&M. The playmaking quarterback ran and threw all over the SEC, becoming the first freshman in NCAA history to throw for over 3000 yards and run for over 1000 yards. Manziel totaled 47 touchdowns on the year and following an upset of number-one ranked Alabama, “Johnny Football” was born. After having one of the greatest seasons in college football history, Manziel was thrust into the spotlight. He was seen all over the news partying, hanging out with celebrities and sitting courtside at the NBA Finals. An ESPN The Magazine story portrayed him as a spoiled rich kid who had a short-fuse temper. Before the start of the 2013 season, the NCAA had an investigation into Manziel signing autographs for money. He was cleared but he now had character concerns heading into his seemingly final season before the NFL.
Manziel had another excellent season at Texas A&M, throwing for 37 touchdowns and showing an improved arm. He was still that mobile quarterback who wasn’t afraid to take a risk and did suffer multiple injuries on the year. He didn’t win the Heisman Trophy but had numbers worthy of consideration. After the season, Manziel was off to the NFL and leading up to the NFL Draft all the talk was on him. On draft night, he was on the board for a while before the Cleveland Browns traded up into the late first round and selected him.
Why won’t he succeed in the NFL? Not too many small quarterbacks succeed in the professional ranks. Drew Brees and Russell Wilson have Super Bowl rings but they are different. Brees is a pocket-passer so he doesn’t get hit very much. Wilson is mobile, but he doesn’t take many risks and is smart when taking on contact. Manziel isn’t afraid of contact, goes for the extra yard and will throw it into traffic. That may work in the collegiate ranks but in the NFL, defensive linemen and linebackers will be licking their chops when he comes running at them. NFL players are bigger, stronger and faster. Players in the secondary will intercept the ball when thrown into traffic. Manziel can’t take the punishment at the next level and has to be smarter when throwing the ball.
How about his team? The Browns were expected to be improved with the emergence of All-Pro wide receiver Josh Gordon and a solid defense. Gordon, however, will be suspended for the year and who knows if he will ever be back. Manziel had better weapons at Texas A&M throwing to first-round pick Mike Evans, handing it off to the Seattle Seahawks Christine Michael and being protected by first-round tackles Jake Matthews and Luke Joeckel. Was he a product of the people around him? Maybe. How about Brian Hoyer? He is currently the projected starter for the Browns and is well-liked by the coaching staff. Manziel may not even beat him out for the starting job.
How about off the field? It’s clear that Manziel can’t stay out of the spotlight and eventually NFL front offices will get sick of it. Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam already has spoken up about his dislike for the excessive partying Manziel does. But “Johnny Football” won’t listen and that’s why he won’t last long in the NFL.