NFL Draft

Johnny Manziel Is a Lock for Top-5 Pick in 2014 NFL Draft

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) warms up before the start of the Chick-fil-A Bowl NCAA college football game against Duke Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore/Associated Press
Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIJanuary 19, 2014

Say all you want about Johnny Manziel and his off-field antics, but when it comes down to it, he is going to be selected in the top five of the 2014 NFL draft in May.

It's crazy to think that no one really knew who Johnny Football was just two years ago. Now, he's become one of the most well-known athletes in the country, making exciting plays time and time again while winning the Heisman Trophy back in 2012.

In two seasons with the Texas A&M Aggies, Manziel completed 68.9 percent of his passes for 7,820 yards, 63 touchdowns and just 22 interceptions, adding another 2,169 yards and 30 scores on the ground. 

But numbers can only tell part of the story when it comes to Manziel's legacy in college football. His ability to escape the pocket and make things happen out of nowhere is what made him such an icon around the country.

Some may think that he's an over-hyped prospect, but given what he's done over the past two years, Manziel is almost certainly a lock to be a top-five pick in May. According to Jason La Canfora from CBS Sports, the Cleveland Browns, who currently have the No. 4 pick in the NFL draft, are actually willing to trade up to grab Manziel.

Of course, Manziel isn't perfect. Many scouts will be concerned with his size, as he's only 6'1'' and 210 pounds. Players like Russell Wilson and Drew Brees have been exceptions to the rule, but given how much Manziel likes to move inside and outside of the pocket, there are concerns that he would be unable to stay healthy at the next level given his smaller frame.

But we've started to see that dual-threat quarterbacks can succeed in the NFL. Colin Kaepernick took the world by storm last year using the read-option, and others have begun to use it as well.

What impressed NFL scouts this past season was the fact that Manziel developed further as a passer. He looked more comfortable making some tough throws, and his arm strength looked more solid. While he does tend to throw off his back foot too often, he's still able to make some strong throws on the run and make some big plays under pressure.

Scouts everywhere have begun to warm up to Manziel and what he brings to the table. Bleacher Report's own Matt Miller had this to say about Johnny Football after he declared for the draft:

The positives to Manziel's game are bigger than you might think. He's the most instinctive quarterback in this year's class and rates similar to Robert Griffin III in terms of his ability to process information on the fly and make adjustments as needed. Manziel also developed as a passer this year, showing much better ball placement on throws to all levels of the field. Add in his ability to make plays with his feet along with his high-level field vision and it's easy to see why NFL scouts love Manziel as much as they do.

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 23:  Quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies warms up before taking on the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

While there seemed to be a division at the beginning of the year as to when Manziel would be drafted, it seems like a general consensus that he will now be one of the first quarterbacks taken. ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. has Manziel going No. 1 overall, while Rob Rang and Dane Brugler from CBS Sports both have him going in the top five.

At the end of the day, four of the top-five teams in the draft really need a quarterback, and while Teddy Bridgewater is believed by many to be the best QB in this draft class, Manziel will likely be taken by one of the other three teams in the top five.

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