INDIANAPOLIS – Much like Tim Tebow, Cam Newton and other Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks before him, Johnny Manziel was the most sought-after prospect during his NFL Scouting Combine media session.
There wasn’t even a close second.
The Texas A&M quarterback was surrounded by reporters, cameras and the bright lights of the league’s showcase event. Cell phone cameras were pointed toward the young quarterback from every conceivable angle. He very well could be the No. 1 overall draft pick, which the Houston Texans hold.
Manziel, a Texas native, will reportedly meet with the AFC South team on Saturday.
On Friday, Manziel met with the media… just about everyone in the room.
“I’m looking forward to shoring up all the people that are saying that I’m just an improviser,” Manziel said adamantly as he stood up straight behind a microphone. “Feel like I worked extremely hard this year to all-around hone in on my game, so continuing to do that, working out in San Diego, continuing to do that and getting better as a pocket passer and as a quarterback in general.”
Manziel’s reputation as an on-the-fly quarterback isn’t the only perceived knock about his game. Many wonder if his size will be a deterrent to his NFL future.
Prior to the draft, Manziel vowed he would measure at 72 inches on the dot. He was wrong. Manziel is not six feet tall after all. At the morning measuring session for combine quarterbacks, Manziel was a quarter of an inch short, while weighing 207 pounds.
He did, however, posses the largest hand size of the draft’s top quarterbacks at 9 7/8 inches.
“I play with a lot of heart, play with a lot of passion,” Manziel said when asked about his measurements. “I feel like I play like I’m 10 feet tall. A measurement to me is just a number.”
Manziel has many other numbers playing in his favor, touchdowns being chief among them. Manziel produced 93 in college (63 passing and 30 rushing). He did so in just two seasons playing for the Aggies.
Still, production is not necessarily a topic Manziel is being asked about this week in Indianapolis. While coaches and general managers have said complimentary things about the Texas A&M quarterback, Manziel is still handling the topic of his “Johnny Football” persona.
“This is life now, this is a job for me, taking it very seriously and I’m really excited about the future,” Manziel said.
Perhaps the biggest news from the Manziel press conference is that he confirmed the report that he’s not throwing at the combine. Some wondered why. Manziel explained the decision.
“I’m participating in everything except the throwing,” Manziel said. “From what I’ve told every team if they want to work me out privately, any throw they want to see me make at my pro day, any interview, any question they want to ask me, any throw they want to see me make at any time, I’m more than willing to do that.
“Extremely hard decision for me not to throw here, I’m an extremely competitive person. It’s something that my agent really kind of advised me on, but at the same time telling these teams anything they want to see, anything they want to hear from me, more than willing.”