Combine Update: Johnny Manziel is Short
By Dan Zinski
Dec 31, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) warms-up prior to facing the Duke Blue Devils in the 2013 Chick-fil-a Bowl at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Everybody already knew Johnny Manziel was relatively diminutive as quarterbacks go, but now we know exactly how relatively diminutive. The former Heisman winner and potential 2014 overall draft pick was measured at the combine Friday and came in at 5-11 3/4. Which is now his official height until he dies.
And that puts Manziel right in Russell Wilson territory. We saw how the height issue impacted Wilson’s performance last year. He didn’t go to the Super Bowl or anything.
Another attribute Manziel shares in common with Wilson is hand size, which for a quarterback might be a bigger issue than stature. Manziel’s hands measured at 9 7/8, which is considered a good size for a QB.
By comparison, our own Daunte Culpepper’s hands measured 9 1/2 inches, which was considered somewhat small. And they looked even smaller, some might say comically tiny, compared to his massive overall frame.
What does all of this really mean? It means Johnny Manziel is going to be compared to Russell Wilson every day from now until the draft. Size isn’t the only thing the two players have in common. Both are athletic, both can throw it down the field with velocity, and both are considered much better outside the pocket than inside the pocket.
Here’s where they diverge at least from a scouting point of view: most experts think Wilson, with time, can develop into a good pocket QB, but those same folks remain skeptical about Manziel.
Wilson is viewed as a geek who will work relentlessly on improving his game, and will basically will himself to become better. Manziel on the other hand is viewed as a party guy who will coast on talent as far as it takes him, and not grind it out like Wilson.
This assessment could be altogether unfair. We don’t know. As the experts never tire of telling us, you can measure height and hands and weight, you can make guys run and throw, but you can’t measure what’s between the ears and what beats inside the chest.
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