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Johnny Manziel Must Be in Debate for No. 1 Overall Pick in 2014 NFL Draft

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 21: Former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel speaks to the media during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 21, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIFebruary 25, 2014

If the Houston Texans decide to draft a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, then they better be taking a very long look at former Heisman winner Johnny Manziel.

The numbers in his two season as the starting quarterback for the Texas A&M Aggies were quite impressive, but Manziel looked more polished as a passer in his sophomore season. This past season, he completed 69.9 percent of his passes while averaging 9.59 yards per pass attempts along with 37 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Meanwhile, he still added 759 yards and nine scores on the ground.

Now, with his college career over, Manziel has been working constantly with quarterback guru George Whitfield in San Diego to continue to develop as a passer. At the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this past weekend, Manziel proved just how much of an athlete he can be at the next level.

At the combine, Manziel put up terrific numbers among the quarterbacks. He ranked fourth among quarterbacks with a strong 4.68-second 40-yard dash, second in the three-cone drill just 0.2 seconds behind Jordan Lynch and first in the 20-yard shuttle at 4.03 seconds.

Johnny Manziel Combine Results
DrillResultRank (Among QBs)
40-Yard Dash4.68 seconds4th
Vertical Jump31.5 inches5th
Broad Jump9'5''T-4th
Three-Cone Drill6.75 seconds2nd
20-Yard Shuttle4.03 seconds1st
NFL.com

With a strong outing at the combine, Manziel might have kept himself in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick before throwing at his individual pro day on March 27.

While the Texans may take Blake Bortles or Teddy Bridgewater, Manziel deserves to continue to be in the discussion for that top pick, although that could change after he throws.

But given the progress Manziel made as a passer from his freshman to his sophomore season, it really looks like he could be a solid passer in the NFL. He's shown to be a surprisingly accurate passer on the move, but he's also developed as a more consistent passer while in the pocket, even if his mechanics are very odd and he tends to throw pretty flat-footed.

Perhaps the most underrated aspect of Manziel as a passer is the fact that he does a great job already of progressing through his reads. He doesn't always just tuck and run at the slightest hint of pressure. Instead, Manziel will usually go through all of his reads, realize that none are worth the risk, and instead roll out to either extend the play or run downfield for extra yards.

While his small size may scare some scouts, that shouldn't mean that his mobility is more of a knock on him than it is a positive. Manziel's quickness and mobility could make him one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the game and could open up the playbook for an offensive coordinator that decides to let him loose instead of holding him back, which could be a big mistake.

The talk about who will go No. 1 will continue for the next couple of months, but for now, Manziel should deserve to at least be in the conversation.

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