Johnny Manziel Will Make Up for Short Stature with Athletic Prowess

Dilan Ames@@DilanAmesNFLCorrespondent IFebruary 21, 2014

Dec 31, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) speaks to fans after the game against Duke Blue Devils in the 2013 Chick-fil-A Bowl at the Georgia Dome. The Aggies won 52-48. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Johnny Manziel has been one of the most talked about players at any level of football over the past couple of years. Despite some questionable actions in college, Manziel has always been a tremendous football player. Although his size leaves much to be desired, he plays much bigger than he is.

At the combine, his athleticism will shine through and solidify his status as a top-five, possible top-three, pick in May's draft.

Manziel opted not to throw at the event, meaning that the NFL coaches and scouts in attendance will focus on his results in the 40-yard dash, broad jump and vertical leap in order to complete their assessment on the prospective passer.

When the quarterback was measured Thursday in Indianapolis, he came in at a lower-than-promised height of 5'11" and 207 pounds. Those numbers will concern a couple of teams, but not as much as it would have before guys like Drew Brees and Russell Wilson came along.

Given the individual successes of those two and the fact that they've both won a Super Bowl in the past five years, one could argue that, in this day in age, height doesn't matter too much anymore.

Like Wilson, Manziel is a tremendous athlete who runs fast and is slippery in the pocket, two attributes that are becoming common among this new wave of smaller, more athletic passers.

We've seen Manziel demonstrate his breakaway speed several times during his college days, and it will be interesting to see how he can translate his field speed into straight line speed when he runs the 40-yard dash.

The teams that are, and could potentially be, in a position to draft Manziel likely already have their mind made up on him for the most part, but he could strengthen their evaluation of him even more by showing off his skills as an athlete in Indy. 

There has been much speculation as to who will pull the trigger on Manziel, although the Houston Texans, who hold the first overall pick, did leak that Manziel and Blake Bortles are their top choices.

It's looking like Bortles and Manziel are neck and neck in Houston's mind at this point, but Manziel can put himself ahead of the former Knight with a strong combine performance, thus garnering the Texans' first pick of the draft.

He doesn't nearly have the size of Bortles or the other top quarterback in the draft, Teddy Bridgewater, but his overall athleticism makes him an intriguing NFL prospect. Bridgewater nor Bortles can run like Manziel or move out of the pocket the same way he does, making him, in a certain way, better than them. 

The combine will be one of Manziel's final opportunities to prove himself as a superior prospect before the draft, and could be the deciding factor in where he will be drafted.