A lot of people aren’t yet sold on Johnny Manziel as a future NFL superstar. And then there’s Gil Brandt, who has already chugged down every last drop of Manziel Kool Aid.
I think it’s safe to call Brandt Manziel’s #1 booster. The veteran NFL observer is clearly deeply in love with Manziel’s talent and is touting him as the #1 prospect in this year’s draft field despite all the questions about his ability to adapt to the NFL game.
Brandt goes so far in his praise of Manziel that some might accuse him of hyperbole. Minnesota fans of a certain age might take it a step further and accuse him of blasphemy.
I do have a tremendous belief in [Manziel]. You are going to get 110% out of this guy every day of his life, every play of his life. If you don’t have a quarterback, and you want one, I believe this guy has a great chance to be good for a long time. This guy had an inferior team. And he beat Alabama, he beat Oklahoma. He’s down 29 to Duke in the last game of his college career, and he’s on the sidelines saying, ‘There is no way we are going to lose.’ This guy’s a better version of Fran Tarkenton.
Yes, Gil Brandt just went there. He called Johnny Manziel “a better version” of a guy who went to three Super Bowls, set every quarterback record in his day and breezed into the Hall of Fame after his retirement.
If Johnny Manziel truly is a better version of Fran Tarkenton, then the Texans would be fools not to draft him first overall. If he’s only equal to Tarkenton, they would be fools not to draft him first overall.
Certain older Viking fans may be forgiven if they’re skeptical of this assessment. Even if it comes from a guy who is old enough to remember Tarkenton in his prime.
The way things have gone quarterback-wise for Minnesota in recent years, most of us would be happy with two-thirds Tarkenton. Full-Tarkenton would be pure greed. Better version of Tarkenton? No one dares dream that big.
Far be it from me to question a guy as wise and knowledgeable as Gil Brandt, but I’m putting the brakes on before I get to Johnny Manziel being better than Tarkenton. The kid is intriguing for sure, but there are legitimate reasons to doubt him.
Despite the endorsements of Gil Brandt and others, a lot of people will continue to doubt Manziel. His draft value will be a hotly debated topic from now until well after the actual draft.
One thing I know for sure: Whatever team gets him will be in for a ride.