Johnny Manziel’s stint as a Cleveland Brown has been disastrous thus far, as it pertains to off the field drama. Manziel has been involved in controversy consistently. Leading up to the 2014 NFL draft, franchises were turned off by Manziel’s party life and he has failed to dispel those presumptions; in fact he has further damaged his reputation.
Manziel admitted himself into a rehab facility this offseason and will most likely be released in April. It looks as if the Browns organization has had enough of the Manziel drama; Adam Caplan reported that the Browns offered Philadelphia the 19th pick in this year’s draft for Sam Bradford.
Cleveland also signed quarterback Josh McCown which means they have explored a variety of options to address the quarterback position. Although Mike Petine - coach of the Browns - has not officially put Manziel on the trade block it is inconceivable to believe they are not interested in shopping the second-year talent.
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A RARE TALENT
Johnny Manziel was fantastic at Texas A&M, earning his nickname “Johnny Football.” Manziel was a very difficult prospect to project because he was extremely unconventional. He possessed rare playmaking ability, which propelled him to winning the Heisman trophy award his freshman season. The major knock on Manziel has always been his size. He stands at about 5 ft 11 in and weighs around 207 pounds. One would assume that his lack of size would have him more exposed to injury but Manziel had a knack of avoiding the big hit, similar to Russell Wilson.
In two seasons at Texas A&M, Johnny Football became fascinating to watch because of his dynamic playmaking ability. Manziel piled up 7,820 yards through the air, while throwing for 63 touchdowns to 22 interceptions. What made Manziel lethal was his prolific scrambling ability.
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Manziel rushed for 2,169 yards and 30 touchdowns averaging 6.3 yards per carry, better than most running backs. The most amazing statistic that fans glossed over was the fact that Manziel played in every game in college. He showed not only durability, but also toughness.
In 2014 the Browns drafted Manziel with the 22nd pick. Unfortunately, he was brought into an organization that did not fully believe in him. The Browns’ staff were not all sold on Manziel and in order to have success with a quarterback the whole franchise must buy in 100%. Manziel competed with Cleveland native Brian Hoyer for the starting position and lost.
In 2014 Manziel did not play often, but when he did it was hard to watch. He threw 35 passes completing 18, and had two interceptions and one fumble. He failed to throw a touchdown, although he did run for one against the Buffalo Bills. His total QBR on a scale from 0-100 was 5.1, absolutely dreadful.
MANZIEL TO DENVER
It may be best for Manziel to have a change in scenery. The best fit for Manziel, in terms of helping him develop, is the Denver Broncos. Yes, playing for Denver in 2015 would prevent him from starting, but perhaps starting is not in his best interest. Denver would provide Manziel with the opportunity to watch and learn from one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, Peyton Manning.
Manning is recognized as the hardest worker in the NFL. Manziel has also been appreciated for his work ethic, but learning from Manning could take him to another stratosphere. Peyton celebrated his 39th birthday this past Tuesday. While Peyton has done an extraordinary job of avoiding father time, he may have about two years left. If Manziel were willing to sacrifice a couple years of playing to sit and learn behind a legend, he would benefit greatly.
There was once a time in the NFL where young quarterbacks were expected to sit and learn for a couple years. Despite the success that several young quarterbacks have had as of late, learning behind a legend is invaluable; just ask Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers spent three years behind future Hall of Famer Brett Farve, and now is regarded as one of the elite quarterbacks.
That is not to say that Rodgers would not have been great regardless, but by watching Favre he was able to thrive immediately and played as a veteran from the get go. Rodgers' statistics in his first years are very comparable to Manziel’s. In his first two seasons Rodgers threw 31 passes, completing 48.5%, and had four turnovers to zero touchdowns.
Manziel’s biggest issue is his immaturity; Manning could serve as a mentor to Manziel on and off the field. His mere presence alone would mature Johnny Football substantially. With time to sit and learn from Peyton, Manziel could experience tremendous success in the NFL. Unlike several mobile quarterbacks, Manziel is accurate throwing the football, completing around 69% in college. It would be a win-win scenario for the Broncos and Manziel; the Broncos would have a quarterback to replace Manning in a couple years and Manziel could learn the game behind one of the greats.