The Pro Day for Texas A&M quarterback, Johnny Manziel was today. It was much anticipated mainly because Manziel is one of the more intriguing players in this year's draft. He is exciting on the field for all the right reasons and creates a lot of buzz off the field mainly for the wrong reasons.
Several of the Raiders staff were on hand including head coach Dennis Allen, offensive coordinator Greg Olson, and quarterback coach John DeFilippo.
Some reports from this Pro Day had head coaches media on hand referring to it as a "circus" which will scare away some NFL teams. It's possible the Raiders could be one of those teams. Dennis Allen told the Houston Chronicle that off the field concerns are the primary issue with Manziel.
"The biggest thing you have to look at with Johnny, it's really not as much what you see on the field, but all the other things surrounding him - the media attention, the ‘celebrity' of Johnny Manziel. Those are all things, as he continues to mature, that he'll be able to handle. And if he's able to handle those things and keep them under control, he's going to have a successful career."
Dennis Allen played safety for the Aggies. He was an A&M grad just like his father, Grady. He later went on to be an assistant coach for the school before eventually heading to coach in the NFL. His ties to the school run deep but he knows he must separate that from his need to make sure he picks the right quarterback for his team.
As for how Manziel's performance, it was well-received. First thing of note was the fact that Manziel did the whole workout in helmet and pads. That's unheard of, really. Prospects always do them in shorts and T-shirt. Manziel wanted to show scouts that what they're seeing in the Pro Day is exactly what they'll see from him in the Pros. Novel concept.
From all reports, Manziel was very impressive today. Here is some of what NFL Network's Mike Mayock had to say about his day:'
"Johnny Manziel showed up today on the deep ball especially, when he's on the move, that's his strike zone... I believe the deep touch, the accuracy on the deep ball just comes naturally to him. I also think all the spontaneous, chaos type plays come naturally to him.
"The most important takeaway for me is I think the kid loves competition. He lights up like a Christmas tree when all the GM's and head coaches [are here]. Do you want a guy that lights up or a guy that shrinks? And in the NFL I think he's that kind of guy."
Here is a tweet from the Houston Chronicle's Brian T Smith in which he points out Manziel began the day going 35 for 35 including several deep passes -- one of which is caught in a Vine video.
Here is part of the detailed account made by Texas A&M blog, Good Bull Hunting:
"The best thing showcased on the day was Manziel's arm strength and more importantly accuracy on deep passes of 40+ yards. A few of those passes came from rolling out of the pocket as well, something even a lot of NFL starters struggle to do. The rollout is one of Johnny's unique talents that a future NFL coach can utilize. Let's make this clear - deep ball accuracy separates your average NFL QB from your "elite" one, and it also separates Manziel from the other QBs in this draft class. A major knock on Blake Bortles is his deep ball accuracy, displayed during his Pro Day. Teddy Bridgewater may have the best short and intermediate accuracy of any QB in this draft, but he hasn't displayed the deep accuracy that Manziel showcased today.
"Johnny Manziel also displayed great footwork on the day, taking every snap from center and doing 3 step, 5 step, and 7 step drop-backs making it look natural for him. However, a few times during those 68 passes his footwork did get lazy and he did not step into his passes. He would stand upright and not lead with a step forward to generate more velocity on his throw. This is something Manziel had a tendency to do at Texas A&M. He has such good arm strength he could get away with it here, but probably won't in the NFL. This poor footwork and decreased velocity leads to inaccurate throws, even if they are just 7 or 10 yards past the line of scrimmage, coming in low or wide of the receiver. This accounted for several of what I termed "inaccurate passes" on the day.
"One thing I was disappointed in was Johnny not displaying his ability to step up into the pocket to avoid pressure. George Whitfield Jr. "pressured" Johnny several times on the day with a broom. Of all those pressures, Johnny only stepped up toward the line of scrimmage twice. All other times he would step to one side and out of the pocket. In a controlled workout, I thought they would script this more into the day to try to answer this criticism, but they didn't. Just a missed opportunity."
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All in all, it seemed a good day for this former Heisman Trophy winner. And he gave NFL yet another idea of exactly what they can expect from him.