Whether he is considered to be the next Frank Tarkenton, Brett Favre, Doug Flutie, or Russell Wilson, there is no doubting that Johnny Manziel is the most intriguing prospect in the 2014 NFL Draft Class. He has the love for the game of Favre, the play-making ability of Flutie and Tarkenton, and the motivation to prove critics wrong with a competitive chip on his shoulder like Wilson. He has the wow factor of a Vince Young and the sheer passion and determination of Tim Tebow. He posses the "Get in your face" attitude of Phillip Rivers, the scrambling of a Jake Plummer, and a delivery and ability to throw accurately from awkward angles that reminds scouts of Joe Montana. Hall of Fame coaches, collegiate and professional, view Manziel as special and it is time we as Jacksonville Jaguars fans start believing the same.
It had been a long time since I have had someone to believe in like Johnny Manziel. I, being a 21 year old Texas A&M Aggies football fanatic from South Texas, have always been scrutinized for being a Jaguars fan when the whole area is full of avid Texas Longhorn, Cowboy and Texans fans. I grew up loving the Jaguars from the glory days of Brunell, Taylor, and Smith when we came so close to reaching the Super Bowl. The greatest moment for me as a Jaguar fan has been the 4th down QB sneak by David Garrard to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh in our only playoff win in recent memory. I have watched every draft and every draft until last year was disappointed. Let's face the music boys. We have not had very many good drafts in recent memories but David Caldwell hopefully is on the right track to fixing that. I can't stand for my beloved team to be the laughing stock of the NFL any longer. Getting Joeckel to solidify the line was a great move as was Cyprien, Sanders, and Gratz. I see 4 solid contributors to this team for years to come but we can't stop there. We need our face of our franchise. We need to have an identity once and for all. We need to bring the magic back that once surrounded the young expansion Jaguars and that will not happen playing conservative.
Johnny Manziel may be a slight risk of a selection given Brotles sounds safer to some, but who are we really kidding? You don't win in this league by being scared to draft the guy with amazing upside. Does he have character issues? Maybe, but none that would hurt his team. How do I know that? Well, ask the Texas A&M faithful if his attitude has ever lost the Aggies any games. They will say that every lose fell on the shoulders of the defense but not one person will say it was because of character. In fact, it is his character of not wanting to be a loser that has willed A&M from being the little brother in the state of Texas to one of the nation's most intriguing and up and coming programs in the nation. He is too small you might say? He outweighs Bridgewater, Brees, and Wilson to name a couple QB's who people want to compare next to him. He's too short? Once again, he is taller than Brees, Wilson, and almost the same height as RGIII. Jake Locker is 6"3 234 lbs compared Russell Wilson 5"11 206 lbs. Blaine Gabbert is 6"4 235 lbs compared to Drew Brees 6"0 209 lbs. I'll let you decide if size really matters. What matters so much more than physical attributes is what is within. Scouts overlooked Wilson's leadership ability and Brady's passion and relied on them either being too small or too weak to make it in the NFL. What amazing passion and leadership have you ever seen from Bortles? Watch every play of him and he plays like any other QB nothing more special about him. Now how many amazing plays and passion have you seen from Manziel? Compared to Bortles, too many to count.
It's true that Bortles is bigger than Manziel. It's true that Bortles might even be able to take better hits than Manziel. But nothing else statistically or physically can Bortles claim he is better than Manziel at. for example:
- In 2 years as a starter, Manziel accumulated for 9,989 yards (7,820 passing and 2,100 rushing) and 93 touchdowns (63 passing and 30 rushing) with a 68.5% completion percentage in the SEC....Bortles in 2 years as a starter had less yards passing and rushing yards, less touchdowns passing and rushing and a lower completion percentage than Manziel playing in the American Athletic Conference.
- Johnny Manziel made his legacy vs the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Missouri, Florida, LSU, and Oklahoma.....Bortles achieved less against the likes of Penn State, South Carolina, Louisville, Baylor, Ohio State (struggled mightly) and Missouri. Against the good defenses, he was mediocre at best.
- In 3rd down and 8-10 yard situations, Manziel has a QB rating of 230.6 and 13.91 Yards per attempt proving he can come through when needed. Manziel also has a QB rating of 227.1 when the situation is 4th down and 3-7 yards to go while having a completion percentage of 66.7% for both situations.....Bortles has a less passer rating, yards per attempt, completion percentage, and conversion rate than Manziel in both of these situations which are very important for a QB and his clutch factor.
- Vs AP Ranked Opponents, Manziel had 12 total touchdowns and a 152 QB rating while playing much more top 10 teams than Bortles....Bortles had less touchdowns and a lower rating vs ranked opponents and never once faced Alabama twice, Auburn twice, LSU twice or Florida. No, he played defenses that are no where near the caliber of the SEC.
- Manziel was recruited by Chip Kelly at Oregon over Marcus Mariota, was recruited by Stanford coach David Shaw over Kevin Hogan, and was recruited by Art Briles of Baylor over Brice Petty.... Bortles was recruited as a Tight End by most schools but only one wanted him as QB, UCF whom did not even play Bortles till his sophomore season because he couldn't beat out the current starting WR for QB play.
- Johnny Manziel won more than 20 awards in his 2 years as QB for Texas A&M including the Heisman Trophy, the Davy O'Brien National Quarterback Award, the Manning Award, and the AP athlete of the year award while holding numerous freshman, SEC, and career records in passing and rushing in NCAA History.... Bortles has 2 awards total and no outstanding records.