Draft Evaluation: Johnny Manziel

Matt Cloud breaks down the draft's most polarizing quarterback prospect, Johnny Manziel.

Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

5' 11" 207 lbs - Sophomore

2013 Accuracy Chart:

5 Games vs: Duke/Alabama/LSU/Vanderbilt/Auburn


Throw Type

Throws Left

Throws Middle

Throws Right

Passes 20+ yards

2 for 6 - TD

4 for 13 - 2 Int's

11 for 22 - 4 TD/2 Int's

Passes 11-19 yards

10 for 13 - 2 TD's

11 for 14 - 4 TD


7 for 9

Passes 0-10 yards

17 for 21 - 3 TD


7 for 14

18 for 28 - 2 TD

Passes Behind the Line of Scrimmage

13 for 14

6 for 7

14 for 18 - 2 TD

Anticipation - Grade = 9

Throws the ball in spots where only target can make a play. Versus Alabama and Duke, player did very well using the sidelines to keep defenders from playing the ball. Consistently threw to targets back shoulder and kept the ball in an area for target to high point. Kept the ball low & anticipated where targets would break open over the middle as well as on out routes.

Vision - Grade = 8

Very rarely makes the wrong read. Does a good job of allowing plays to develop while quickly scanning the field and finding the right target. For the most part, player keeps his eyes in the middle of the field, freezing the Safety, though at times will lock onto a specific target and allow the defense to read his eyes. I noticed this more specifically on underneath routes / drag routes.

Many folks make a very bad assumption & think that a very good Mike Evans is what makes Manziel good & that Evans is his only target. Contrary to that belief, 4 of the Aggies WR's had 50+ receptions, 600+ yards, and 5+ TDs each. Mike Evans led that group with 69 catches, 1,394 yards, and 12 TDs.

At times, Manziel has the tendency to pull the ball down a bit quicker than he should, which does allow for him to miss on some potentially big, game changing plays on the field.

Mechanics - Grade = 8

Good spin on his passes, does well following through on his throwing motion, and drives through his passes. On average, his throws lack proper footwork as he tends to be flat footed when he passes the ball, yet still gets it out quick/accurately/& with good velocity. Needs to work on throwing his fade routes. They often lack touch & he tends to get too much air under them. The same can be said for his deep passes, which at times have too much air under them, which can give defenders time to recover.

His accuracy in the money range is RIDICULOUS. In the games charted, he was 28-36 with 6 TD's & 1 INT, a completion % of 78% in the 11-20 yard range.

Leadership - Grade = 7

This category is two fold:

On the field, he has the qualities you desire in a Franchise QB. His teammates tend to listen & follow his lead. You can see that players believe in him & he brings a spark to the offense, especially in adverse scenarios.

Off the field, he has shown immaturity and a lack of accountability. Unfortunately, in that aspect, he is what you expect out of a 20 year old college kid. Could potentially require a year of learning simply to allow him to mature.

Decision Making - Grade = 7

This category has dependencies. His decision making when it comes to the routes & which target to hit, I would give him an 8 - 10. When it comes to decision making of whether to pull the ball down and run, force a pass between defenders, or just get rid of the ball, I'm giving him a 6. While it ended up being a 20+ yard completion, a play versus Alabama is one that just will not fly in the Pros. Manziel rolled left and felt pressure off the edge. As he tries to escape, the rusher gets Manziel in his grasp. Manziel was able to escape, goes back right, and while close to being hit again, chucks the ball up in the air in the vicinity of a WR & by sheer luck, completes the pass. All too often, Manziel will make those type of "plays", yet when translating that to the Pro game is a bad decision and most likely an interception.

Where Manziel can make a drastic improvement is in throwing the ball away. It seems as if the young man works his ass off scrambling & in turn wants to reward himself and his teammates by making a play. What he needs to understand is that he made a play simply by eluding the rush and not taking a sack. Manziel needs to start throwing the ball away more often instead of trying to force a play to be made, where he normally commits his biggest mistakes and throws interceptions.

Mobility - Grade = 10

Of the Quarterbacks in this draft, Manziel has the best Rushing ability, the best Escapability to a pass rush, and is the Overall most mobile QB of the Group. Manziel does very well getting outside the pocket, finding open throwing lanes, and loses very little velocity on his passes when on the run.

Clutch - Grade = 10

There isn't much more needed to see for this category if you watched the Chick Filet Bowl versus Duke in 2013/14. Manziel led the Aggies back from down more than 20 points in the 2nd half to win the game. This is definitely a QB who can put the team on his shoulders and lead them through adversity.

Pocket Presence - Grade = 8

Manziel seems to feel pressure well. In anticipation, he will slide, step up, or roll out of the pocket to elude the pass rush. He has shown a very good feel for the pocket against some of the best defenses college football and the SEC has to offer.

GRADE = 67 of 80



Summary: Much of what you hear negative regarding Manziel is media driven and doesn't show up on tape. What does show is a kid that plays with a ton of heart, no quit, & a desire to win at all costs, the intangibles that not every QB is equipped with as well as the important ones that make his Leadership Qualities much better than the rest of the QB's in this draft!

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