Johnny Football Manziel should Win the Heisman, Again

johnny footballI said it. Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel should win his second Heisman trophy, the first back-to-back winner since Ohio State running back Archie Griffin. He really deserves it.

Yes, the off-the-field stuff is disconcerting and worrisome, with him partying and going places more than focusing on his craft as a top quarterback in the college ranks. His “sleeping-in” excuse was lame at best when he left the Manning Passing Academy early.

But, you can’t argue against his numbers. He had all this hype and attention and he still rises to the occasion and beats who he needs to beat. But, his defense has struggled and has kept him from winning more games. Here’s how he did last year vs this year (per Business Insider):

johnny manziel charts

You see that? Less rushing yards, more passing yards and just phenomenal performances against the likes of Alabama and other SEC opponents.

He is quick, nimble, elusive and explosive. He can run and you know he can throw on the run. He has the confidence to win any game he plays in, though that could be a problem. Here are the drawbacks from my observations:

  • Throws too often on the run and was not set. His passes on the run take time to reach his targets because they have too much air under it. Sort of a rich man’s Tim Tebow or read-option QB. Note how read-option QB’s are struggling in the NFL.
  • Relied a lot on his big tight end Mike Evans. Why not? But, I worry about his ability to check down receivers at the next level. It works in college, but the NFL is whole different ballgame. Still, I think he will adjust.
  • Needs to bulk up his 6’1” frame of 210 pounds to take a licking from NFL defense.

Against Mississippi State at Texas A&M’s Kyle Field, possibly Manziel’s last home game, he threw 5 TD passes but threw…3 INT’s. Let’s break down the 1st INT.

Pre-snap, he saw the coverage, man to man, safety over the middle of the field and potentially covering any deep man headed to the end zone:

manziel vs msu 2013 presnap

He pump fakes to move the safety (which didn’t work), but this time he goes through his check downs. Everyone is covered on the left side and no DB jumping the out, slant or corner routes. It looks like he wanted the deep cornerback to jump on the pump fake after checking the receivers in the rectangular area.

manziel pump fake vs msu 2013

Then he panics as he feels the clock run out in his head and he had a defender in his face, heaving it to the front corner of the end zone, not setting his feet and throwing off his front foot:

manziel int throw vs msu 2013

Too far underthrown, hung in the air for a long time, and the MSU CB intercepted the ball:

manziel int vs msu 2013

ESPN scout Todd McShay had him pegged at the 4th round and Mel Kiper had him higher, but I think he could go in the 1st round in the 20’s. If he made it past the low 1st round or early 2nd round, that team who gets him there will have a coup on their hands.

I just hope the Jacksonville Jaguars don’t pick him up high because they will be picking high this year. He’s worth some development, coaching and definitely needs some time with his delivery and pocket passing.

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About Spencer Irvine

Fun loving, D.C. area sports fan, which means I'm frustrated and still can't get a grip on what a win truly means (or a championship for that matter).

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