Sunday, March 02, 2014

Bold Prediction: In 3 Years, Johnny Manziel Will Probably Be A Biped

Heard on the radio today: an earnest call-in discussion over what Johnny Manziel is going to turn into over the next three years. Sadly, none of the callers went with my guesses, which went A)a pumpkin B)a giant crime-fighting robot from the planet Cybertron or C)The Yellow King, and instead they droned on about how they knew Manziel had "it" on one hand, and how he was going to flame out immediately on the other.


Which, of course, is exactly how the football-industrial complex likes it. It likes people getting into pointless arguments when there's no actual football, the better to keep you thinking about football instead of basketball, or hockey, or hey, isn't spring training starting up, or-
Instead, we get Ron Jaworski deliberately troll-baiting a viewing audience that had gotten a little quiescent with the "bombshell" that he viewed Manziel as a third round pick. Then again, we also get Jaworski's coworker Jon Gruden claiming he could teach Manziel everything he needed to know to be a top-flight NFL quarterback, which is great if you're A)Johnny Manziel's agent and B)inclined to believe Jon Gruden, which means ignoring a decent chunk of Jon Gruden's NFL track record.

Which, in the grand scheme of things, means nothing. We're still a ways out from the draft, for those who care about such things, and right now nobody knows nothing. There's a reason the Mel Kiper Jrs. of the world (and their distressed freeze-dried weasel haircuts) keep re-issuing mock drafts. It's not because anything's really changed since the end of the season. It's to keep people engaged with the churn. Let's face it, every mock draft gets blown the second someone makes a trade anyway, so what's the point, besides wish fulfillment and talk radio fodder?

As for Manziel, the question of "what will he become" is meaningless until it can be contextualized by the team that drafts him. If he gets hung out to dry behind a porous offensive line with no weapons, he's going to get pancaked as thoroughly as David Carr. And, like David Carr, he's likely to not find a lot of success. If he gets dropped onto a team with a dysfunctional ownership and coaching situation, then he's going to get whipsawed by staff and scheme changes like Alex Smith did, and get the word "bust" attached to him through very little fault of his own. Or, if he lands in a stable situation behind a decent o-line with a coach who adapts the scheme to him rather than demanding on the opposite, he just might turn into something.

But right now? Nobody knows, and anybody who claims they do is just gunning for some slightly higher ratings.
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