Despite his smallish stature and unique style on and off the field that has questionable applicability to the pros, former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel figures to be a top pick in the 2014 NFL draft.
A big reason is the passion Manziel plays with, his magnetic personality and his expected ability to flat-out sell tickets wherever he lands. Look no further than the Aggies' pro day to know that to be true.
Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush and current Texas Governor Rick Perry will be at College Station on Thursday to witness Manziel and other past Texas A&M standouts go through workouts. This news was reported by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Charean Williams:
Gov. Perry and Pres. Bush 44 are among those expected at Manziel's pro day. Biggest pro day ever at A&M.— Charean Williams (@NFLCharean) March 26, 2014
The NFL also showed that Manziel spent time with the President on Wednesday:
The Houston Texans hold the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and may take a quarterback in that spot—perhaps not Manziel. But if some of Texas' most famous politicians are already forming an orderly cue to witness this small step in Manziel's NFL journey, imagine the chaos that would ensue if he stayed in the Lone Star State.
Chase Goodbread of NFL.com weighed in on the situation:
The presence of a former president, of course, presumably means added security at Manziel's pro day and a secret service detail, as well. All to see a guy throw a football in shorts -- to uncovered wide receivers. Only in America.
Bush was the 41st Commander in Chief and lived up to that particular presidential label, since he served as Director of Central Intelligence before taking office and is a World War II veteran as well. Between his term in office and his reign atop the CIA, Bush was the 43rd vice president in the Ronald Reagan administration.
Perry is perhaps most known for his unsuccessful bid to gain the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. That campaign lost steam when Perry couldn't name three government agencies he would cut as part of his budget plan during one of the debates in November 2011.
Hopefully, Manziel won't be saying, "Oops" very often as he runs through drills and throws, and the attendance of such prominent political figures only adds to the ever-growing Johnny Football legend.
At least in college, it seemed Manziel thrived no matter how bright the spotlight shined on him. It also helps that he'll have a legitimate first-round prospect to toss to during the throwing session in massive receiver Mike Evans.
Who should be the first QB chosen in the 2014 NFL draft?
Manziel did not throw at the NFL Scouting Combine, and while pro days aren't the biggest part of evaluating a player by a long shot, this is a big opportunity for Manziel to help himself stand out among the top signal-callers in this 2014 class.
Texans head coach Bill O'Brien will meet privately with Manziel on Thursday, per NFL.com's Mike Huguenin, but O'Brien doesn't see a surefire No. 1 prospect at quarterback.
"I see strengths and weaknesses with every one of them," said O'Brien. "I don't see any who are light years ahead of the rest."
The upcoming draft is viewed as extremely deep across the board, save perhaps for quarterbacks. UCF's Blake Bortles and Louisville product Teddy Bridgewater—along with a dark horse in former Fresno State star Derek Carr—are in the running to be the first QB selected.
There's little question that Manziel has the biggest intangible "it" factor surrounding him. You don't see Bush and Perry attending any of the other aforementioned players' pro days.
The spectacle that will be the Texas A&M pro day suggests that everything is indeed bigger in Texas. Even if Manziel isn't from a physical standpoint, he's doing nothing to dispel that notion.