Johnny Manziel is an awfully tough player to compare with active NFL players. He has a little Russell Wilson in him, in that he can escape pressure to make plays downfield or tuck and run. I compare him more to Wilson than, say, Ben Roethlisberger, because of size.
Manziel, like Wilson, isn’t a guy I want out getting hammered constantly. At 6’0" and 207 pounds, he’s actually taller than Wilson (who is 5’11”) but only a little heavier making Wilson’s frame a bit more filled out.
Wilson also has bigger hands than Manziel (10 1/4 versus 9 7/8) and is adept at setting up his offensive lineman into passing lanes so he can see around them, while Manziel is more likely to bail out of the pocket.
In that way he’s very similar to Robert Griffin III, who also shares the concerns about build and durability as well as whether he can adapt his game to the pro level.
I saw that Bucky Brooks of NFL Network compared Manziel to former Buffalo Bills and San Diego Charger quarterback Doug Flutie. That might be a better fit as Flutie—like Manziel—had a tendency to throw on the run, often off his back foot. Despite throwing on the run without planting their feet (or throwing off that back foot), both could show some solid arm strength and accuracy.
To be able to heave the ball and put it down the field when you are throwing off your back foot and with poor footwork definitely shows off some arm strength.
Again, it’s hard to nail down a proper comparison for Manziel as he isn’t your typical quarterback. And just plugging any one of the above guys in next to him isn’t the complete answer either.
There isn’t anyone quite like Johnny Football. Whether that is good or bad remains to be seen.