The college football season is only three weeks old, and the 2014 NFL draft is still months away, but Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel's stock is already on the move. The initial stance of many teams isn't a positive one.
Peter King of Sports Illustrated reports teams were watching as Manziel, who will be eligible for the draft after the season, racked up 562 yards of total offense against the No. 1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. The Cleveland Browns even had their assistant general manager scout the high-profile game.
Despite his often extraordinary on-field performance, though, King states many teams view him as undraftable due to off-field concerns:
But Manziel, to many teams right now, would be undraftable because they're scared of his mood swings and off-field questions. But it only takes one team out of 32 to fall for him. And some team will, unless he self-destructs between today and draft day.
Of course, Manziel is coming off a summer where he found himself in the headlines for an NCAA investigation into the possible acceptance of money in exchange for autographs. He was suspended for the first half of the season opener vs. Rice, but Texas A&M and the NCAA found no direct evidence of payment.
While many players might try to play it cool after avoiding more extensive punishment, the entire ordeal has seemed to embolden the Aggies quarterback. He's playing with a level of swagger rarely seen at the collegiate level.
It's tough to say whether NFL scouts and teams view that level of confidence as a positive or a negative when it comes to his draft stock. But as King says, all it takes is one team to think he's worth the risk to make him a high draft pick.
It's impossible to ignore a player who already has one Heisman Trophy to his name and keeps playing at an elite level on a consistent basis. "Johnny Football" clearly doesn't mind the spotlight and certainly doesn't appear ready to change his style to appease others.
How his style will impact his final draft status remains unknown, but it's reportedly scaring off some teams already—at least for now. Maybe a couple more 500-yard outings will change their minds.
Regardless, Manziel remains one of the most intriguing stories in quite some time.
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