There Apparently Wasn’t A Combine Drill To Test for This…

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Is Johnny Manziel a turbo-charged version of Russell Wilson ready to light the league on fire?

Or is he Tim Tebow, without the “amen chorus” behind him?

We’re gonna find out.

The juicy thing about the NFL draft – and sports, in broader terms – is that we still haven’t cracked the code on what indicators exist as to how to identify players who will or will not succeed as professionals.

In short: “the bust” still exists. And we still can’t accurately predict it.

Despite all of the silly drills, and times, and measurements the NFL establishment dutifully measures and records at the marketing convention willfully mis-named as the “scouting combine” there remains an opaque window into an athlete’s DNA.

Will Manziel bear down as a pro, put in the work, understand his limitations, discover a new page of leadership skills and thrive?

Or is every bit the Johnny College Douchebag many people conclude he is?

We’re gonna find out.

And finding out will be potentially expensive and embarrassing for the team that drafts him. Will he be an undersized gem that wins games, sells tickets, and lights up defenses? Or a punch line like Jamarcus Russell?

My personal feeling on Manziel is that he’s gonna be good. Maybe, really good. Yes, a sort of Wilson+ player, who is frustratingly impossible to catch while running around in the backfield.

I don’t think he’ll be as much a downfield runner as Wilson or RG3. I think he’s basically the next incarnation of Fran Tarkenton.

I also think he’s a guy does love playing football. I mean, loves it. Sure, he loves the trappings, and the lifestyle, but the way he plays tells me: this is what he lives for!

Now don’t know jack shit about his “read progressions” or ability to stay calm in a “muddied pocket” or any of that stuff. Even the experts will disagree. Already, Ron Jawarski has stepped out and said he doesn’t think he’s even a 3rd round pick.

Of course, Jaws has now become one of ESPN’s most reliable “Say-Bot’s.” A guy who just “says things”, and then gets high fives from Bristol management for stirring the pot. Remember last August’s “Colin Kaepernick might go down as the greatest QB of all time” rant?

Yeah, okay.

If there was a reliable test (and don’t even start with the laughably over-hyped Wonderlic) that could tell if a guy would become Ryan Leaf or Peyton Manning, they would have invented it right now.

You can ASK all the questions you want to Matt Leinart about his commitment to the game at the combine, but you don’t KNOW if he’s just bullshitting you. (Note: When the beer bong pictures with young co-eds come out, you’ll have your answer).

Besides, money and fame changes people. Sometimes all it takes is one year of it. Some will argue vehemently that RG3’s monster rookie season, turned him into – in many ways – just that: a monster. I don’t quite personally subscribe to that theory (call me an RG3 apologist if you like) but I can see the possible dynamic at play.

But if I’m the Texans, and it’s between Manziel and Clowney (a guy with a roughly equal number of red flags) I roll the dice with Johnny Football and don’t look back.

What’s the worst that can happen?

He’s David Carr all over again?

Ooops. Never mind. Bad reference.

Look, it’s just ONE #1 pick you are giving up for him. Not 3 #’s and a #2 like the Redskins gave up for Griffin.

Assuming he doesn’t hold up a liquor store at gunpoint between now and the May draft, I think Manziel will look sharp in the Texans “Battle Reds.”

10 COMMENTS

  1. OK, so if there’s a change to the website, why is there a new name? It smells bad. I liked the old bookmarked site I had for years, czabe.com. With daily snickies and less corporate kowtowing by Czaban and crew, I felt like I was talking to a knowledgeable sports guy at the local watering hole and less like interacting with a national celebrity and his corporately produced persona. Goodbye, Czabe, I will miss it all but I won’t be generating web hits or listening in any more.

  2. @Mike…”smells bad” your comment reeks of something self serving, or something personal.

    It’s just such a strong “opinion” right out of the gate,

  3. A big hats off to changing the website (an unfortunate must or it goes stale) without making it a giant pain in the ass for the readers. In fact, making comments is easier!

    Predicting through the combine and Wonderlic tests reminds me of a true story about a time I was interviewed by the news. I was working in Tysons Corner when they broke ground on the 495 Hot Lanes when some dude from the local news caught me coming out for lunch and stuck a microphone in my face and asked if I was being using them when they opened. I gave him a very honest answer that said I doubted it because I have enough alternative routes that I wouldn’t willingly pay a toll. Fast forward through three years of construction and traffic jams and the opening of the Hot Lanes. It turned out, not only would I willingly pay the toll to get a decent commute home, but I was the biggest Hot Lane whore on the planet. So go ahead and interview a 20 year old kid with limited life experience who hasn’t played a down in the pros and take those answers to the bank.

  4. The problem with trying to forecast football talent is that football is the sport that most relies on teamwork. It is the least individual sport. So much of a player’s success depends on the team that he is on. Sometimes having a great offensive line, veteran receivers and a very good coaching staff can make it easier for a young quarterback to get better and gain the confidence that allows them to think they can really play in the NFL. If Tom Brady had been drafted by the 2000 Cleveland Browns instead of Spurgeon Wynn, do you think he would have turned out as good as he did? Maybe, but maybe not. If Chad Pennington had been drafted by the Patriots that year would he have turned in to a perennial All-Pro/Hall of Famer? I think the team you get drafted to makes a huge, huge difference in whether or not you are considered a bust.

    • I don’t agree. Someone will notice a player with talent. How many chances do these high draft picks usually get from other teams before being considered a bust? Don’t forget Favre was drafted by the Falcons… how did that work out?

  5. This website is a huge improvement. As for “Mike”, well haters are going to hate.

    Johnny Manziel will be the next Ryan Leaf…only smaller. Perhaps a touch of Art Schlichter, because I sense the vile stench of gambling around his cocky bravado. I see him out of the NFL in 3 years.

    Jaws is employed by the same regime that allows The Swami and the hair of amazing physical and chemical properties (Kiper) to continue their shock schlock. ESPN is nothing but a network of apple polishing homecoming float builders that continuously vie for the attention of Jerry “False Face” Jones. By the way, your old friend Suzi Kolber got to sit in his lap… I mean…interview the most revolting sports owner since Al Davis.

    Snicky alert: Katheryn Winnick, from Vikings on History Channel.

  6. My personal feeling on Manziel is that he’s gonna be good. Maybe, really good. Yes, a sort of Wilson+ player, who is frustratingly impossible to catch while running around in the backfield.

    I don’t think he’ll be as much a downfield runner as Wilson or RG3. I think he’s basically the next incarnation of Fran Tarkenton.

    I also think he’s a guy does love playing football. I mean, loves it. Sure, he loves the trappings, and the lifestyle, but the way he plays tells me: this is what he lives for!

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