As the 2014 NFL Draft approaches, questions continue to come up about whether Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Johnny Manziel is worth using a high draft pick on.
Manziel turned lots of heads really early in his career at Texas A&M, but the questions are more concerned with his character off the field even more than his ability to be successful on the field. Come May 8, 2014 the sports world will find out whether the Houston Texans will take "Johnny Football" No. 1 overall, or how far he may slide.
"I'm not the kind of guy that causes any problems with my team, or in my lockerroom, or with my coaches, I don't want that," Manziel told ESPN's Jon Gruden when asked about all the fame and popularity he already receives.
The questions on the field surrounding Manziel focus mainly on his height and his decision-making. Standing at around just six feet tall, he is considered "too small" by many to be a capable NFL quarterback. However, with the success over the past few years of fellow smaller quarterbacks Drew Brees and most recently Super Bowl champion Russell Wilson, scouts and teams are starting to worry less and less about the height of a quarterback and more about their ability to make plays. Manziel showed throughout his college career that he was able to make sensational plays with his feet, which disregards some of those concerns about his height. Also, Manziel made a lot of decisions during his college career, which made a lot of people scratch their heads, but at the end of the day Johnny Manziel won football games and that is what really matters.
"I wanna win. I will do anything for those guys [his teammates]," exclaimed Manziel.
Off the field Manziel has had a few issues that really cause some unsettled feelings for scouts. In 2012 he was arrested after getting in a bar fight and then showing a fake ID to College Station police. Questions popped up immediately about whether Manziel was too immature to be a leader in the locker room.
There is no doubt Manziel has room to grow on and off the field, but it appears that Manziel might be worth the risk. Whether it's the Texans #1 overall, the Jaguars at pick no. 3, or the Cleveland Browns at pick no. 4, Manziel should be taken off the board by one of these teams based on what he displayed throughout his career at Texas A&M.
There is no guy in this years draft that Houston will undoubtedly take, but it seems like the two front runners at the end of February are Jadeveon Clowney and Johnny Manziel. Putting Jadeveon Clowney opposite of pro-bowler J. J. Watt makes for a pretty scary tandem to attack opposing quarterbacks. However, with Case Keenum the current front-runner for the QB job, taking a guy to put under center might be a good idea for a team that went 2-14 last season.
It might be most intriguing to see "Johnny Football" in a Cleveland Browns uniform next year though to see if he can revitalize a franchise that has had so much inconsistency at quarterback since Bernie Kosar left town. The Dawg Pound needs someone to root for and Manziel could be that guy. With a strong defense and targets such as Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron, Manziel has a real shot to thrive in Cleveland.
All in all, Manziel is best compared to 2-time Super Bowl Champion Ben Roethlisberger because of his ability to move around the pocket and make incredible plays. If he can keep his head on straight, which it seems he just might be able to, Manziel is well worth the risk of selecting him high in the 2014 NFL draft.