I hate scouting Johnny Manziel.
It’s not that I hate him as a player, or especially him as a college player: I love watching Johnny Manziel play football. It’s exciting, unpredictable and a little magical.
But more than anyone else, evaluators can make the most of him with “coaches film” (or more appropriately “coaches’ film”).
It’s far too easy for even neutral scouts to read into the type of player that he is or the reason he makes so many exciting plays from outside of the pocket. Does he move to manipulate the defense? Does he move because he doesn’t anticipate receivers getting open? Does he move because he’s a one-read player? What about because he sees a gaping hole in the defense? What if it’s because, for all the explosive playmaking he embodies, he intuitively understands the importance of “success rate” and first downs?
To some extent, broadcast film (again, courteously provided by Draft Breakdown) can answer some or even most of those questions. But a number of them can’t really be discussed until evaluators get the full field of vision, so we fill it in with what we think we see—and what we think we see, we usually want to see.
I unfortunately was not able to get my hands on that “coaches film,” like I have for a few other prospects, so for the most context-dependent player in the draft, I’ll provide some contextless analysis. And because of that, it will be even longer than the previous report (nearly 5000 words).