Johnny Manziel is a prospect for the 2014 NFL draft that polarizes opinion quite like no other. But he won himself a new fan today.
After spending time with Manziel to film his QB Camp TV show, Coach Jon Gruden came away very impressed with Manziel's maturity and ability for becoming an NFL player.
"I really like Manziel. If I was coaching today, I would want a quarterback like Johnny Manziel," Gruden said. "It’s hard to find a player that can create offense on his own. He does things that Brett Favre did when I was in Green Bay.
He does things that Ben Roethlisberger does for the Steelers. He makes yards on his own. He has a strong desire and aptitude to learn and I think that will happen. He threw the ball extremely well today."
Gruden rates Manziel highly and had other pleasant things to say about the 21-year old, but also noted the bad games he has and his reluctance to take a slide, that caused him problems saying, "He has taken a lot of hits. He wasn’t Johnny Football down the stretch. He didn’t play well at LSU, nor did he play well at Missouri. He had a shoulder problem, a thumb problem. The hits must be minimized."
This is a worry that a lot of teams and pundits have about Manziel. They see a very distinct possibility that he becomes the next Robert Griffin III and gets a bad injury because he doesn't take the slide or run out of bounds.
Gruden said that if he was a head coach in the league still he would have absolutely no qualms about spending a first round pick on the precocious youngster and also noted that he would play Manziel in a style similar to what the San Francisco 49ers run to get the best out of his talents outside of the pocket.
Whilst this won't assuage every teams fears about taking Manziel with a Top 5 pick, Gruden and his opinion on QB's is incredibly well respected in the league and this will have done Manziel's chances absolutely no harm in his quest to become a starting NFL Quarterback.