Johnny Manziel was a star on the field in college at Texas A&M, but he has a lot of image problems to overcome as he prepares for the NFL. Many view the former Heisman Trophy winner as someone with a personality like Matt Leinart — another guy who loved the spotlight, partying and mixing with celebrities. NFL teams want players who play football because they love football and have a burning desire to be great at football, not guys who play football because it came make them famous. This point is especially important when they’re looking for franchise quarterbacks.
Nolan Nawrocki, who evaluated pro football prospects for Pro Football Weekly, gave a scouting evaluation of what he termed were the 10 most controversial players in the draft. Manziel was the first player written about on the list. Here’s what Nawrocki said:
Suspect intangibles — not a leader by example or known to inspire by his words. Carries a sense of entitlement and prima-donna arrogance seeking out the bright lights of Hollywood. Is known to party too much and is drawn to all the trappings of the game. … Has defied the odds and proven to be a great college-system quarterback, but still must prove he is willing to work to be great, adjust his hard-partying, Hollywood lifestyle and be able to inspire his teammates by more than his playmaking ability.
Other players on the list include Jadeveon Clowney and Manziel’s Aggies teammate, Mike Evans, so we suggest you read the whole thing.
Based on what we’ve seen of Manziel, it would be hard to disagree with this assessment of him, but the question is whether these concerns will be issues in the NFL. I don’t think they will be. I think Manziel will succeed in the NFL and that his biggest problems will be injuries because of his size (similar to what’s going on with Robert Griffin III).
What’s also notable is that many people have been outraged with Nawrocki for what they felt were overly harsh/borderline racist character assessments of players. Nawrocki savaged Cam Newton’s character in 2011 and Geno Smith’s last year. Nawrocki was also particularly harsh on Tim Tebow’s ability. I just think the guy is an equal opportunity basher who has a tendency to point out the extreme negative.Google+