Johnny Manziel's Pro Projections Should Scare NFL Scouts

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2013

Aug 31, 2013; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) celebrates after throwing for a touchdown against the Rice Owls during the second half at Kyle Field. Texas A&M won 52-31. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

If you want the next Tim Tebow, then you should draft Johnny Manziel.

That's possibly the biggest takeaway from what For the Win's Paul Myerberg posted on Monday. He reported that Prediction Machine, which uses algorithms to project a rookie's stats, crunched the numbers, and Manziel would post something close to the following numbers:

Myerberg put those numbers in perspective later in the article, writing that Tebow put up similar numbers when he was projected as the starting QB for the New England Patriots for an entire season. It's not exactly the most flattering of comparisons, even for a rookie coming into the league.

Much like any sort of prospect breakdown, these numbers are just speculation. They're far from a definitive picture of how successful Manziel will be in the NFL.

In a vacuum, the projections would be a non-issue. When taken into account with everything else about Manziel, they make you question just what kind of grade he gets going into the NFL.

Let's be clear. Manziel has the potential to be a solid NFL QB, and these numbers by no means automatically damn him to some Tebow-like purgatory.

The Texas A&M quarterback has made nice strides in his sophomore season. He's not over-reliant on his running ability, and he is using his feet a little more efficiently to avoid taking too many hits.

Arm strength was one of the biggest knocks on him coming into the year. Through the Aggies' first three games, Manziel looks to have added a lot of zip to his passes.

With the NFL's continued fascination with the read-option offense, you could easily see Manziel fitting into a team like the Philadelphia Eagles.

However, these projected stats illustrate that Manziel is far from a sure thing. The interceptions are very high, even for a rookie, and his completion percentage was about seven percentage points behind where Russell Wilson (64.1) and Robert Griffin III (65.6) were last year.

Part of what has been Tebow's downfall is his inability to be an accurate passer. It's also the case with Michael Vick. As exciting as Vick is, he's more frustrating than anything, and he doesn't have the best postseason record.

Manziel's definitely behind Teddy Bridgewater in the 2014 QB draft class rankings, and you could possibly put him behind any combination of Tajh Boyd, AJ McCarron, Aaron Murray, Marcus Mariota and Brett Hundley.

The much-publicized off-field problems that Monday Morning Quarterback's Peter King reported are leading some NFL teams to label Manziel as "undraftable." That's a bit of a stretch, but it doesn't mean you can look past the quarterback's baggage.

Then there are the on-field problems that could stop him from being a franchise quarterback. Although his arm strength has improved, it's still not at an elite level for a draft prospect.

At 6'1", he also lacks the prototypical size for an NFL QB.

Perhaps the biggest on-field dilemma is whether or not Manziel would adapt to an NFL offense after playing under Kevin Sumlin for two years.

Most teams that draft Manziel will have to cater their entire offense to his style. It's a big ask for many teams, and there's no telling how long the read-option will be successful. You don't want to hitch your wagons to the style too late, only to have defenses finally figure it out.

As talented as Manziel is, there's the very real threat that he's going to be nothing more than a collegiate legend. Not that there's anything wrong with that.