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Johnny Manziel: Success of RG3, Russell Wilson bodes well for my NFL prospects

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.

Russell Wilson effect? Seahawks now favored Week 1 vs. Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals opened as a 2.5-point favorite against the Seahawks for their Week 1 game, but the line has switched by five points — the most of any other Week 1 line — and Seattle is now favored in the game. The Seahawks are favored by 2.5 points most sports books, and favored by 2 points at other places. The line change can be attributed to factors related to each team.

Arizona has gone 1-3 in four preseason games, and their first-team offense has been unimpressive. Kevin Kolb and John Skelton are competing for the starting quarterback job and neither player has fared well. Their offensive line also seems porous, which is not making the job of the quarterbacks any easier.

Seattle has gone 3-0 in the preseason and looked impressive scoring 101 points. Third-round draft pick Russell Wilson (pictured) has played brilliantly and was named the starting quarterback after going 35-of-52 (67.3%) for 464 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception. He’s also run for 150 yards and a touchdown and appears to be a dynamic playmaker.

Bettors are so high on Seattle and down on Arizona that they’ve flipped the line five points. Arizona (8-8) actually finished a game better than Seattle last season, but the sports books still thought Seattle was the better team entering this season. We know that based on the opening line that favored Arizona by 2.5 points; home field advantage is worth at least three points in NFL games.

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Jon Gruden, Mel Kiper Jr. have heated discussion over Russell Wilson (Video)

The ESPN NFL Draft set was never more animated than when the analysts began discussing quarterback prospect Russell Wilson.

Early in the third round, the only quarterback taken on the second day was Brock Osweiler. ESPN showed draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.’s quarterback board, and he said Wilson was more of a fourth-round prospect. Kiper’s big knock against Wilson is his size — he’s only 5’11”. That reasoning caused Jon Gruden to have a fit.

Gruden tore into Kiper for downgrading Wilson over a matter of an inch or two in height.

“You discriminate against guys who aren’t six feet!” Gruden told Kiper.

He then cited Ray Lewis, Wes Welker, Darren Sproles, and Maurice Jones-Drew as examples of undersized star players who Kiper would have downgraded.

The whole exchange was highly entertaining, and Gruden turned out to be correct in his prediction that Wilson would be taken that round; Seattle took him with the 12th pick in the third round, No. 75 overall.

Below is a look at Wilson turning down the volume on his TV after hearing all the ESPN bickering:

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