The 2013 Cotton Bowl will feature two of the top quarterbacks in the nation in Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and Oklahoma's Landry Jones. Manziel has the poise and talent to grow into the type of quarterback who will have a long career in the NFL. Manziel will be a better quarterback than Jones in the NFL.
Jones is a fifth year senior who will be entering the NFL in 2013. Manziel is a redshirt freshman who will have to play at least one more season in college before he is eligible to enter the draft.
Even though he has only played one year in college, he has already proven that he is a better quarterback than Jones. This is a look at why Manziel will have a better NFL career than Landry Jones.
Johnny Manziel vs. Alabama
Johnny "Football" Manziel is obviously much more mobile than Landry Jones. Manziel led the SEC in rushing during the regular season with 1,181 rushing yards. Jones rushed for negative 103 yards during the regular season.
Russell Wilson, Michael Vick and Robert Griffin III have proven that there is a place for a scrambling quarterback in the NFL.
This is an aspect of the game that Jones simply cannot offer. When Manziel is on the field, even in the NFL, it is like having an extra running back on the field. His ability to make off schedule plays will help him have a successful career in the NFL.
Landry Jones vs. TCU
The most underrated aspect of any quarterback is poise. Some quarterbacks are willing to sit in the pocket until the last second in order to wait for the route to break open. Some quarterbacks panic and will never be elite passers.
Manziel has the courage to stand in the pocket and absorb the hit in order to get the pass off. He will wait until the absolute last second to release the ball.
Jones has always struggled when pressured. The book on Jones is if you can make him move off of his spot in the pocket, you can make him inaccurate and contain the OU offense. In the NFL, Jones is going to be forced to make plays outside of a clean pocket.
The fact that he struggles in that area does not bode well for his NFL future.
Landry Jones has been inconsistent during his career in Norman. At times he can look like the most accurate passer in all of college football. At others, he can be a turnover machine who is prone to make poor decisions on the field. OU fans have dubbed the turnovers of Jones "Bad Landry."
If you watch from afar, "Bad Landry" tends to show up whenever the Sooners venture away from the cozy confines of Owen Field. Jones has not played well on the road during his career.
Manziel, on the other hand, has a 6-0 career record on the road. He made himself into a household name and jump-started his Heisman run, by going into Tuscaloosa and beating the then No. 1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in their house.
NFL football teams want a leader they can count on to perform on the road. Manziel has proven to be superior to Jones in that aspect.
The early success of Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III as rookies in the NFL portends well for Manziel in the future. The fact that you can successfully run a spread offense with a mobile quarterback against NFL defenses means that Manziel will likely be selected a round or two higher than if he had entered the draft before 2012.
Landry Jones projects as more of a class drop-back quarterback at the next level.
In a lot of ways, he is the prototype of what NFL scouts look for. Jones is 6'4", 215 lbs, and he likes to sling it from the pocket.
What Manziel offers that Jones does not is the ability to improvise and make plays off schedule. When a play breaks down, Manziel will be a threat to hurt a defense with his legs. Jones is more apt to simply throw the ball out of bounds.
As the NFL moves more toward a passing league that is featuring the spread, it will become a better place for quarterbacks with Manziel's skills rather than Jones'.
Johnny Football vs. Alabama
In the NFL, a quarterback has to be able to will his team to a win. When the chips are down, his teammates are going to look at him and expect him to put the team on his shoulders and win the game.
Manziel has shown the kind of leadership necessary to win big games. His teammates know he can be counted on in the crunch.
There are still questions about Jones in this area. He puts up great numbers, but when his team needed him against Notre Dame and KSU, he turned the ball over.
Manziel has displayed the kind of swagger you want to see from a starting quarterback in the NFL. Jones has never shown that kind of leadership or confidence on the field.