If there is anything to worry about with Johnny Manziel following his Heisman Trophy-winning freshman season at Texas A&M, it could be his size. At only 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, Manziel is a lot smaller than many successful NFL quarterbacks like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan and Andrew Luck. However, Manziel says a new breed of quarterbacks gives him confidence in his future.
“It’s not all about size anymore,” he told CBS News. “You don’t have to be 6-foot-5 and be a great pocket passer. You can be like (Robert Griffin III) and Russell Wilson and have some mobility and have some success.”
It should also be noted that some guy named Drew Brees is only 6-foot-1, and we all see what he has been able to accomplish at the NFL level. Manziel may not have the strongest arm in the country, but he has completed over 68% of his passes with the Aggies this year and thrown 24 touchdown passes.
One legitimate concern with quarterbacks like RG3 and Wilson is that they are at a higher risk for injuries, which we have had a first-hand look at this season with Griffin’s concussion and sprained knee. Manziel said being smart and knowing when to avoid contact helps offset some of those risks.
“There’s a time when you need to know to get what you can get and try to be as smart as possible,” the 20-year-old explained. “You can’t protect yourself every single time. If you look at Michael Vick, he takes a lot of shots and there’s probably times where he should just know when you cut your losses, you get what you can get and you get down.”
That may be easier said than done, but Manziel will be in better shape than Vick if he starts molding his style of play now. Let’s also remember that he’s only a freshman. The Heisman winner has time to become an even better quarterback, but the rest of the country also has time to learn more about his tendencies and how to defend him. In a way, any talk about Manziel’s NFL career is still premature.