What did we learn from Johnny Manziel's personal pro day at Texas A&M?
We didn't learn a single thing that we didn't already know.
Manziel, my No. 2 quarterback in this class, had about as much hype surrounding his pro day as anyone, but if any analyst or commentator tells you they "learned" something at his pro day, shut off the TV or close the browser window immediately.
Don't misunderstand: Manziel had a fantastic pro day. Percentage-wise, he hit 61 of 64 passes (95 percent) and had scouts, media and plenty of fans salivating.
Broadcast live on NFL Network and ESPN 3, this event had been hyped by Manziel for some time. Both he and wide receiver Mike Evans (another likely top-10 pick) have eschewed prior workouts to make this event appointment viewing, and they succeeded.
Manziel walked out to hip hop from his good friend Drake and proceeded to blare the music throughout his workout. Attendance at the pro day was as big as any quarterback pro day has ever seen, and it even included a former U.S. president, his wife and their dog.
The biggest news before the event was that Manziel had decided to throw in pads and a helmet—an unorthodox choice, but one that quickly endeared him to many.
Just asked Manziel why the pads and helmet at pro day: "Isn't the game played with them on?"— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) March 27, 2014
Quarterback guru George Whitfield—the best at what he does for prospects—orchestrated a fantastic workout, chasing Manziel around with brooms, showcasing what he does best and setting out to prove he can do what critics say he can't.
You can't prove anything at a pro day.
That's the real issue surrounding not only Manziel's pro day, but also the pro-day process in general. As I said following Teddy Bridgewater's disappointing pro day, everything a team needs to know about a quarterback, it'll get off tape. Correction: It has already gotten it off tape.
So, when someone like Mike Mayock says on the NFL Network broadcast that he's expecting to leave the Manziel pro day with a man-crush, or when ESPN's Ron Jaworski goes from saying that he wouldn't draft Manziel in the first three rounds to gushing over him, you need to take it with a grain of salt.
If you're moving a guy from day two to day one on your board based on a pro day, maybe you shouldn't have a board.— SI_DougFarrar (@SI_DougFarrar) March 27, 2014
Manziel being a first-round pick is a pretty popular opinion, and it's one lots of us have had for a long time. Jaws having a contrary opinion may seem foolish to the general public, but Jaws knows what he's talking about after years of playing the game and even more commentating on it. Don't write him off because his opinion is different.
If you do write him off, though, write him off because his opinion flip-flopped so drastically because of a pro day in which Manziel scripted and practiced the throws, the only defense he faced was a broom and he was able to throw at will thanks to no coverages to read or safeties to look off.
The most important pieces of the Manziel puzzle are things that you can't measure on a pro-day field.
Will his style of play translate to the next level? Will he be able to stand up in the pocket when the pass rush becomes more ferocious than the SEC (or a broom)? Will he be able to outrun all of those defenders when every single one is just as fast, not to mention bigger and stronger?
Manziel put on a great show during his throwing session—he's known to do that. How he succeeds at the next level will be more a question of substance than of style, and nothing Thursday changed that one bit.