Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Johnny Manziel

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Yes, this includes "best player available."

Image courtesy Vikings.com

It’s draft week, and as we march gleefully toward the first round on Thursday evening, most of us have an opinion on what the Vikings should do with pick number 23. As I’ve been compiling mock draft roundups and reading a wide spectrum of theories and viewpoints, certain “conventional draft wisdoms” keep popping up. Some of them valid—Mike Zimmer likes lanky, fast defensive players, for example—some of them less so. And these less valid conventional wisdoms can often morph into draft myths, repeated year after year and anointed as NFL Draft gospel, despite their questionable legitimacy. Here are three of those myths, and the truth for each one:

Myth 1: Best player available.

The Truth: This is far and away the greatest NFL Draft myth: a good GM will select the best player available when his team picks in the first round, regardless of position or other considerations. It is repeated far and wide by anyone and everyone in NFL front offices, sprayed in the direction of reporters at draft-related press conferences, and leaned on as a crutch when team officials (understandably) try to avoid giving any real information on what the team might do on draft day. “Best player available,” they say with a shrug, because why would a competent personnel director do anything other than get the best possible talent for his team?

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

As with any rule in the NFL, including the one that tells us what is and isn’t a catch, there are plenty of exceptions to the rule that says “character matters” when a front office decides to add a player to their roster.

Vikings fans are plenty familiar with exceptions to this rule. In modern history you can point to guys like Cris Carter, Randy Moss, Jared Allen, and even current Viking Everson Griffen as examples of young men that were able to overcome their early personal struggles to make a significant impact at the NFL level.

Despite all of those exceptions, however, NFL teams expend many resources to try and figure out what exactly exists between the ears of hundreds prospective players. The idea is that a player that is successful off the field is more likely to be successful on it.

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The Super Bowl football game around Katy Perry (and Left Shark) is over, signaling the end to yet another fantastic season (on the field) of American tackle football. But luckily, this signals the giving way to my favorite season of all: HOT TAKE Season.

In honor of Episode 99 of the Purple FTW! Podcast, I threw together a list of 9.9 Hot Takes. Now these are definitely not #StoneColdHotTakes level of outlandishness (although my ‘Harbaugh to Ann Arbor’ call from September landed pretty well), but they definitely have some kick.

Costco Free Sample: “2) We’ve got OUR Brady & Belichick”…

Boom. Roasted.

Get the rest & the full episode after the jump.

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According to a recent post by Star Tribune, new Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer saw some “flags” in conjunction with Johnny Manziel.

The Texas A&M quarterback had his Pro Day on Thursday, and it was definitely one of a kind. More than one critic has described Manziel’s performance as more of a performance than an evaluation, and the event proved that the QB is more than readyat least in his own opinion—to transition into the pro lifestyle. Manziel’s Pro Day “routine” was complete with music and pre-arranged plays to showcase the QB’s talent.

Glitter aside, Manziel did perform well from a football standpoint. Jackson head coach Gus Bradley said, “it was good. It was a really competitive atmosphere. They had different drills set up for him, and that showcases what Johnny is all about. You knew it was going to be spirited, you knew it was going to be competitive-type throws that he had to make. And he really did a nice job.”

So what were the stats?

Manziel completed 61-of-64 passes.

He threw several deep passes of 40 yards and more to his targets… including a 55-yard deep post touchdown to fellow prospect Mike Evans.

Solid numbers or not, though, Zimmer didn’t seem impressed. In fact, he quickly called the performance a “sideshow.”  “This [workout] was a little different in how it was choreographed. People like that or they don’t like that, I don’t know,” Zimmer commented.

On Friday, Zimmer and the Vikings had a meeting with Manziel, their second of the offseason.

In a radio interview in Austin Monday morning, Zimmer said the following:

“I guess it maybe brings a few questions marks in. Is he going to conform to typically what the NFL is or what everyone else has done before him including what the great players in the game have done before him, or is he going to try to be the celebrity man guy that he was maybe a year-and-a-half ago?

[…] The position of quarterback in the NFL is such an important position and the reason these guys need to be a totally football-minded guy is the pressure of the position and being the face of an NFL team and doing everything right. That’s the thing you want to know about him: Will he be into work early every single day? Will be the last to leave? Will he be the guy that is working the hardest to get better?”

Whoever drafts Manziel will certainly draft the limelight right along with him.

Johnny Football may very well be off the table by the time the Vikings pick at No. 8. But if he’s not, will Zimmer want to take the leap?

 

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