Even Manziel’s Pro Day Sets a New Bar

Posted on March 28th, by Rob Scichili in All. No Comments

Leave it to Johnny Manziel to conduct a pro day like no one has before. Yes, he came out to throw the football wearing pads and a helmet.

johnny-manziel-pro-day-b7a70a373388d85cStop the presses.

OK, when you really think about it, this really isn’t that big of a deal. But it still had a few people buzzing on Twitter and the like. But isn’t that the norm with Johnny Football?

When asked why he decided to wear the pads and helmet for Thursday’s pro day, Manziel simply replied, “Isn’t the game played with them on?”

Exactly. Don’t be surprised if this starts a trend for future QB pro days. And there’s no truth to the rumor that Manziel’s grandfather once suggested to Mrs. Baird that she might want to slice the bread before putting it on grocery shelves.

Speaking of slicing… and dicing, Mr. Football did plenty of that on Thursday morning.

Seventy-five NFL personnel from 30 of the 32 teams were on hand to watch, along with former President George H.W. Bush and current Texas Governor Rick Perry. Drake played from the indoor practice facility as Manziel zipped pass after pass to five different receivers running various routes. He threw 64 passes and only two hit the ground.

“He showed us he can make all the throws,” NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner said afterwards. “He had great touch and decent velocity. That deep ball was impeccable.”

Now, I doubt any pro day is going to make or break a quarterback’s stock in the NFL draft, considering they have hours of game film to tell the real tale if a player is worth his salt.

But it can’t hurt. Especially when Manziel was showing off deep balls like this one: vine.co/v/MOwJxiPedtI 

Everyone has an opinion on Manziel and those opinions seem to change with the wind. Most have him going in the top-seven picks of the draft while a couple of other talking heads say they wouldn’t take him earlier than the third round.

The fact is, whether you like him or hate him, all it takes is one team to fall in love with him to take him at the top of the draft. That might be the Texans, who hold the number one overall pick, or a team like Jacksonville, Cleveland or Minnesota. There’s even been rumors that the Rams might take a look at him with the second selection and possibly move Sam Bradford.

I stand behind my belief that Johnny Manziel will be the first selection in the draft. Houston’s either taking him or trading the pick to a team that will. If the Texans keep the top pick and select anyone other than Manziel, then their GM needs to be escorted directly to the door. If they prefer Blake Bortles or Teddy Bridgewater – fine. But not trading the pick in that situation would be doing the Texans franchise a huge disservice.

Cleveland is awful at playing poker, by the way. The Browns were one of the two NFL teams not in attendance at Manziel’s pro day and also chose not to interview him at the combine. Nice smokescreen. Right now they look like the guy who flopped a nuts straight and is playing meek until the river card. I fully expect them to be the team that throws the kitchen sink at Houston for that top pick when it is all said and done.

The Browns are one of the teams that believes what I believe – Manziel is going to be a star in the NFL. He has the tools, but more than that, he has the heart. And the want. Look no further than his decision to wear the pads and helmet at his pro day. Manziel wants there to be no doubt about his drive and wants to prove that he is not afraid of a challenge.

“I want everyone to know that my focus is football,” he said. “This is my life, this is what I love to do, and I’ve never been more dedicated and more committed in my entire life. I am so excited. I understand the challenge and I am ready for it.”

Rob Scichili

Rob Scichili (shick-lee) has worked in professional sports for over 24 years in PR and communications, including time with the Dallas Stars, Anaheim Ducks, MLB.com, Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks. A journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he is co-owner and editor at ScoreboardTx, principal at Shick Communications and VP at Franchise Sports & Entertainment while serving on the board of the Mike Modano Foundation.

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