I’m not real sure why the Tampa area is afraid of adopting a player with A-list status, but that’s what seems to be happening with the vile hatred poured towards Johnny Manziel when the Bucs are mentioned.
Johnny Manziel had his pro day on Thursday and performed the way you’d expect a player to perform against no defenders. He was accurate. He displayed a strong arm while completing 60-yard passes down the field. He showed off his confidence and leadership before and after the workout.
Immediately before his pro day began, Manziel gathered up the scouts, GMs, and head coaches to welcome them to his workout and thanked them for coming. This typically does not happen.
After the workout was completed, Manziel went through his own “media madness” all while displaying a confident demeanor in every interview he took part in.
I don’t want to waste time with Manziel’s pros and cons for you. If you’re reading this, most likely you know what Manziel can do on the field and the concerns that surround him.
We know that Manziel has the arm strength, the accuracy, and the mobility to be a playmaker and score touchdowns from any point on the field. What goes unnoticed is what should be noticed more than anything else.
Nothing is too big for Manziel. While some people are concerned with the “circus-like” atmosphere that will follow him, I view it as a positive. In front of 8 NFL head coaches, numerous GMs, hundreds of scouts and media, and a former President, Manziel was excellent at his pro day and seemed to rise to the occasion, much like he did while playing for Texas A&M. That aspect of a quarterback can’t be taught. Manziel thrives under pressure, while most others wilt under it.
That “circus” that follows Manziel has also had some people try to compare Manziel to Tim Tebow. I think the comparison is a stretch.
There is no denying that both quarterbacks, along with many others in the history of college football, can make big plays that result in touchdowns. However, Manziel, unlike Tebow, has proven he can actually throw a football with velocity and accuracy.
Tebow’s popularity and rabid fan base stems from his personality. Tebow fans still believe he should be a starter in the NFL and feel he should be given another shot in the NFL because he’s a “good guy” and gets that sympathy from the fans he has inspired.
The only people Manziel has inspired are his teammates. Manziel is not known for his own cult following like Tebow, he’s just a star. Manziel won the Heisman as a redshirt-freshman, has hung out with rappers and celebrities such as Drake and LeBron James. His arrogant and cocky persona could not be further from that of Tebow, but adds to his aura and celebrity status.
If the criticism of Manziel is his long-term health, his lack of height, or whether he’ll be patient enough to run an NFL offense and go through progressions, then I understand your hesitation.
If a person just doesn’t want Manziel because of his personality, I’d have to wonder if that person is just jealous of the Heisman Trophy winner. If given the opportunity at age 20 or 21 while in college, I would have done every single thing Manziel has done, if not more. I guarantee every person reading this would do the same as well.
Like I said earlier, nothing is too big for Manziel. He has experienced everything, and when the pressure is on, he performs at his best.
Another aspect of Manziel that I like is the partying that he has already done. Manziel comes from a rich family and has partied with some of the most well-known celebrities in the world. Life in the NFL will not be a surprise to him at all. He’s had the money. He’s had the parties. He’s had the fame. Manziel has lived an NFL life before ever playing a down in the NFL.
Do you not like him because of his “arrogance?” What great quarterback isn’t arrogant? Aaron Rodgers does the belt sign after ever touchdown. Cam Newton, Tom Brady, Phillip Rivers, Jay Cutler, Colin Kapernick, Ben Roethlisberger, Tony Romo, and even Peyton Manning are all arrogant. I’d actually call it confidence that might come across as arrogance. You better think you’re great if you’re going to play great in games because if you think you’re average, you will play that way.
I know everyone’s an NFL draft expert right now and everyone has a strong opinion of Manziel as a player. This might be shocking, but I’m willing to admit what most everyone else should admit as well. I have no idea what Manziel will be in the NFL, but I’d love to see him try and be great for my team.
As a Bucs fan long before I worked in radio, my feelings as a fan always outweigh my “unbiased” thoughts on sports. If Manziel were to be drafted by the Buccaneers, the Bucs are immediately back on the map in the NFL for the first time in over 10 years. I’d love to see what noted “QB guru” Jeff Tedford could do with Manziel, and I believe Manziel will pour his heart and soul into being great in the NFL.
The good news is that the Bucs were there to see Manziel’s pro day live.
Will he get injured? Maybe.
Could he end up a bust? Doesn’t every player have that potential?
Does he possess positive qualities that most quarterbacks are only born with? Yes!
I’m not sure why some fans are so scared of stardom, but I know that the teams that win the super bowl each year are loaded with star players. The Bucs are very limited in this category right now. Manziel is a star before he’s even played a snap in the NFL, so why not ignite the fan base and the organization by bringing that star to Tampa?
Remember all those Bucs games that bored you to sleep?
Remember what is was like the past few years when you would dread having to watch the Bucs on TV or in person?
Lovie Smith’s defense combined with Manziel’s playmaking and touchdown-making ability will make the Bucs relevant again, and make the Bucs must-see TV for the 1st time in a very long time.
Continue to be scared if you must, but as I said nearly three months ago, it is time for the Bucs to make a bold move with their franchise. Johnny Manziel would be that bold move if available to the Bucs in the draft.
Here’s what others had to say about Manziel’s pro day:
Follow Justin Pawlowski on twitter @Commishonline for updates on the NFL Draft and the Bucs.