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NFL Draft

Prospect Profile: Johnny Manziel



A lot of things has been said about the Aggies starting quarterback and at this point of the season he might very well be one of the toughest prospect to scout in this draft class.

Before he even steps in the field and take his first snap, the first thing everyone realizes is that Manziel is a member of the new breed of shorter quarterback who can enjoy success at the next level. Currently listed at 6 foot 1 and weighting in at 210 lbs according to Texas A&M website’s (so, in other words, he could be shorter than that). His comparison  with both Drew Brees and Russell Wilson, other QBs below the magical 6 foot 2 mark, are logical but not entirely.

First of all, Manziel is an elite dual threat quarterback. He is as deadly through the air as he is in ground, something that both Brees and Wilson never really were during their collegiate career. Being shorter than other QBs, his mobility has been Manziel’s key to succeed in college football. His quickness and elusiveness are a nightmare for opposing defenders as his ability to escape the pressure and/or the pocket are second to none. With those elite skills on his feet and a world-class creativity, Manziel is a tough player to sack and there were countless plays last year or this year, for example in the rematch against Alabama. In that game Manziel could have been sacked but instead found a way to make a play for positive yardage thanks to his skill-set.

But Manziel isn’t only an elite runner. He also happen to be a good passer but that’s when the flaws in Manziel’s game are exposed. Of course, there’s a lot to like as he showed a great accuracy last year and a natural talent to throw on the run. Also on the positive side : His decision making. As mentioned earlier, Manziel’s ability to make plays out of nothing are remarkable but he also did a great job to not turn the ball over in 2012. Even if he is in pace to throw more INTs than last year (8 at this point, 9 last year), he also is in pace to throw more passing TDs (22 at this point, 26 last year) than during his Heisman winning season. Finally, Manziel can throw the ball. He doesn’t have the biggest arm in college and did a very good job on a short/quick passing type of game.

Then, there’s the negative side : Even if he improved this year, his footwork in the pocket is still a work in progress. He still makes far too much off balance/difficult throws and could very well throw some costly interceptions in the next level. Also, while Manziel’s size shouldn’t be an issue, his throwing motion will be. He doesn’t enjoy a high release point like Brees or Wilson and this will be a factor in the next level. Will he be able to throw on interior routes ? Last but not least, Manziel still have to prove that he can adjust to the defense. Being creative, elusive and able to succeed even on broken plays is one thing but being able to anticipate a blitz could be a key for Johnny Football’s success in the NFL.

Granted, his offensive line featured three possible NFL starters (Ogbuehi, Matthews and Joeckel) and he benefited from both coach Sumlin’s offense but also from Mike Evans talent. But Manziel’s instinct and skills can’t be overlooked.

Collegiate Career

First ever Freshman and second Aggie to win the Heisman trophy.

First ever freshman to win the Manning and the Davey O’Brien Award.

2012 First Team All American.

2012 SEC Offensive Player of the year.

Led Texas A&M to a 11-2 season in 2012 (winning the Cotton Bowl).

Holds the FBS record for total offense for a freshman and the FBS record of the most rushing yards by a QB in a Bowl game.

Red Flags

On the analysis part, it was only about Manziel as a football player. Here, it will be the part that could scare most of the NFL team because as you may all know, Johnny Football hasn’t been an angel off the field. The main issue and concern is Manziel’s maturity. No need to enter the details of parties and other NCAA suspension (regardless of what you think about that ..) but you have to wonder if the Texas A&M product is ready handle the worldwide exposure that will go along with being an NFL   player. How will he handle a multi-million contract ? (depending on when he gets drafted, of course) Also, will he be able to accept the fact that he may not be the only star on the team ? NFL is no longer a USA-only league. They play games in London, in Canada and some teams will ask themselves if Manziel can represent them and play as well as he does in college with the high-pressure of being an NFL starter. This is a possible huge redflag because talent doesn’t make anything in this world … and memories of off-field antics a la Ryan Leaf are still there.


Round 1-2 (Top 60 Pick): Based on talent alone, Manziel could be a Top 5 pick. But he won’t. His off-field issues and his size will scare teams but there’s a very good chance that some-one in the first round (a desperate team..), especially in the second half, will take a gamble on such an High Risk High Reward kind of prospect. After all, the need in Quarterback is higher than ever but I would not be surprised to see him fall to round 3.

Possible Match in the NFL

Every team who needs a help under center will be interested in Manziel’s profile. The Eagles would be a very good match as well as the Cardinals, the Browns or even the Jaguars (they could go Clowney with the #1 and Manziel in the second round but that’s a VERY long shot). All those team need a playmaker and could pull the trigger regardless of his off-field issues.

1 Comment
  • footballmensa

    His off the field issues won’t scare any teams. He wasn’t getting busted for drugs. He wasn’t beating people up. He likes to party and sold some autographs.

NFL Draft

Report: Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch Visiting Cowboys

Kevin Brady



2018 NFL Combine: 3 LBs Who Impressed
Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

As the 2018 NFL Draft draws closer, teams are beginning to hold their official visits with prospects of their own choosing. The Cowboys have already met with a few different prospects thus far, and they've reportedly added a linebacker to that list this week.

Multiple reports are saying the Cowboys will meet with Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch this week, adding him to the list of 30 potential visits.

Marcus Mosher on Twitter

BoiseState LB Leighton Vander Esch will be a pre-draft visitor for the #Cowboys. Add him to your list of 30, per Tony Pauline.

Vander Esch is a bit of a controversial prospect in the draft world. As I've stated before, he tested like a freak athletically, and his combine profile alone would put him in the discussion on day one. The problems I have with Vander Esch have nothing to do with his athleticism, however, and everything to do with his actual football-playing ability.

On film, I see a player who struggles to get off blocks and will have trouble finding a home with the Cowboys. Still, I wouldn't mind the Cowboys drafting Vander Esch - that pick cannot come in the first round though.

Vander Esch is a long, rangy, and athletic linebacker who is at his best playing laterally and tracking down plays. As a blitzer, Vander Esch has some rather clear issues. He often runs directly into blocks and is unable to shed at the point of attack. I also don't think he is as instinctual a player as some of the other linebackers in this class, such as BYU's Fred Warner or Alabama's Rashaan Evans.

The way things are looking, however, Vander Esch is going to be a first round pick. And if not, he'll almost certainly be a top 50 pick. I wouldn't be very comfortable taking him at 19, and I'd have to think twice before even taking him at 50 for that matter.

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NFL Draft

2018 NFL Draft: Dallas Cowboys Meeting with Texas Safety DeShon Elliott

Sean Martin



2018 NFL Draft: Dallas Cowboys Meeting with Texas Safety DeShon Elliott
(Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire)

With more pressing needs on offense at guard and wide receiver, and defensively at DE or LB, the Cowboys' concerning lack of proven ability at safety has taken a backseat in this offseason's roster build. With the expectation that new Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard will elevate the play of the entire Cowboys' secondary, the team is doing their due diligence on safeties available in the 2018 NFL Draft - starting with Texas' DeShon Elliott.

Josh Norris on Twitter

It appears Texas S DeShon Elliott is visiting the #Cowboys today

With 63 tackles and six interceptions in his final season at Texas, Elliott took full advantage of being a starter in the Big 12 for the first time in his career, flying onto the NFL Draft scene.

Elliott is a well-balanced, average athlete with the upside to be targeted late in April's draft and make a difference.

If they had to play a game tomorrow, the Cowboys would be rolling with Jeff Heath, Xavier Woods, and Kavon Frazier at safety.

Finding an expanded role this season for Frazier should be a priority in Dallas, as should supplementing Heath and Woods with additional talent. DeShon Elliott would fit this group well, along with the Cowboys' scheme, given his range and disruptive ability.

Should Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown, and now Byron Jones help the Cowboys reach their full potential at CB, the Cowboys safeties will not be tested in single coverage up the field often. This is an area that Elliott was exploited in at Texas plenty of times, performing better as a true free safety or second-level player.

Continuing to add young talent at the right price is key to the Cowboys' ongoing rebuild on defense, now visiting with a local safety prospect that should be available to them in the later rounds. Texas' DeShon Elliott is officially a name to consider come draft week in Dallas.

Tell us what you think about "2018 NFL Draft: Dallas Cowboys Meeting with Texas Safety DeShon Elliott" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft: PSU WR DaeSean Hamilton Fits Cowboys’ “Type”

Kevin Brady



Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Last week, I detailed what the Cowboys tend to look for when drafting a wide receiver. In terms of a combine profile, Dallas clearly has a "type" of wide-out they like to target.

The Cowboys certainly need to upgrade their receiving corps, but with the plethora of other holes to fill, they may not be able to do so until the 3rd or 4th round. Luckily for the Cowboys, there is at least one receiver which both fits their profile and should be available early on day three.

That player is Penn State wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton.

Kevin Brady on Twitter

Working on something for @InsideTheStarDC... here's the height, weight, 40 time, and 3 cone for every WR DAL has taken since 2010.

First, let's re-examine what the Cowboys like to look for. As you can see from the above graphic, the Cowboys draft targets all seem to fit a similar profile. If we treat Dez Bryant as their "ideal" draft pick, the trends become even clearer. Dallas wants to find a wide-out who is about 6'1" 205 pounds, runs nearly a 4.5 40 yard dash, and about a 6.9 three come time.

DeaSean Hamilton, coincidentally, is 6'1" 203 pounds, ran a 4.47 40 yard dash at the Penn State pro day, and ran a 6.84 three cone at the combine. Penn State's all time receptions leader stole the show at the 2018 Senior Bowl, putting all of "Draft Twitter" on notice to his talent.

An efficient and smooth route runner, Hamilton looks natural coming in and out of breaks, creating separation with his precise routes. The Cowboys don't have many receivers on their roster who can win with their route running, and adding a player like Hamilton would greatly help third year quarterback Dak Prescott moving forward.

With the ability to play in the slot, as well as potentially being a Z receiver for the Cowboys and a replacement for Terrance Williams, Hamilton would be an excellent draft target in the third or fourth round. And, keeping in mind how nicely he fits their typical draft profile, I'd expect Dallas to target Hamilton during the 2018 NFL Draft.

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