Dec 31, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) reacts on the sideline against the Duke Blue Devils during the first quarter in the 2013 Chick-fil-a Bowl at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
It took awhile, but there’s finally an ex-Viking willing to express skepticism about Johnny Manziel’s future in the NFL.
Then there’s Warren Moon. Unlike those other former Vikings, he can’t just look past the negatives.
Sure, Moon admits that Manziel was a thrilling college playmaker. But can Johnny’s rugged, improvisational, sometimes reckless style really work in the NFL, where defensive players are bigger, faster and want to kill you even more?
Warren Moon isn’t sure that Manziel’s gifts, great as they are, will translate to the game played by men on Sundays.
“He’s one of the most exciting players to play college football, no question about it. He’s a risk taker, and he gets away with a lot of those things,” Moon told NFL.com. “I just think in the NFL, some of those things, he’s going to have to take out of his game. He just won’t be able to get away with some of those things that he did in college football, especially taking on people, being as physical as he likes to play the game. I don’t think you can do that in the NFL or you won’t be available for your football team.”
Moon thinks Manziel is “special” but he doesn’t believe the quarterback will be able to deliver the magical plays as consistently with everything NFL defenses throw at you.
There’s no doubt he has a point. The whole key when evaluating Manziel, for the Vikings or anyone else, is that question of whether he can rein in his instincts and become a more traditional pocket passer.
Some want to overlook that reality and focus on Manziel’s wow factor, but Warren Moon isn’t so easily dazzled. And neither is Rick Spielman.
Rick will only pull the trigger on Manziel if he believes Johnny can adapt his game to the NFL. Spielman won’t stake his future on a Wild Card.