The five-foot-11, 202-pounder can play safety or cornerback, while also having the ability to contribute in the return game. Manning earned All-Conference and All-American selections as a junior after totaling 49 tackles, 4 interceptions and 3 pass deflections. He also averaged 12.8 yards on 19 punt returns with one touchdown and 26.8 yards on 13 kick returns with another score. As a sophomore he made 54 stops, 6 picks and 2 pass break-ups. He averaged 29.2 yards on 13 kick returns and one touchdown as well as a 22-yard average on 15 punt returns, with two more scores.
Despite having 4.48 forty speed, Manning is a little rough around the edges when it comes to his technique. Considering the level of competition he faced in Division II, his transition to the NFL could take some time. However, he should be able to contribute on special teams as a rookie.
If you're wondering how a talent like Manning ended up at Abilene Christian, he originally signed with Nebraska.
Some scouts see Manning strictly as a safety, while others believe he can also line up at corner. Other teams interested in him include the Rams, Buccaneers, Jets, Dolphins, Cowboys, Patriots and Eagles.
Scout.com ranks Manning as the ninth best safety prospect, earning a three-star rating. He could come off the board late on the first day of the draft or a potential steal if he lasts past the fourth round.
TFY Draft Preview Scouting Report
Positive: Athletic prospect with outstanding size/speed numbers. Fluid flipping his hips in transition, has a burst of closing speed and flashes on the scene. Quickly breaks to the throw, aggressive supporting the run and physical in all aspects of the game.
Negative: Not overly instinctive and struggles locating the ball or diagnosing the action. Wastes movement and needs a lot of mechanical work. Hesitant recognizing routes in zone coverage.
Analysis: A versatile defensive back who can be used at free safety or cornerback, Manning is a solid developmental prospect. The ability to break games open as a return specialist could help him sneak into the draft's first day.